I was not familiar with this author prior to reading The Beekeeper’s Daughter but I will certainly try another of her publications after this story. What attracted me to this book was the description on Goodreads and the inside flap of the book:
“England, 1932: Grace Hamblin is growing up in a rural idyll. The beekeeper’s daughter, she knows her place and her future – that is until her father dies and leaves her alone. ”
The setting of rural Devon had me interested and I had hoped it wouldn’t be a flat-out romance. I don’t mind some love interest woven into stories but I’m not a big fan of the romance genre. However, stories set in the British Isles and Ireland attract my interest. This is a multigenerational story which flips between 1932 England in 1932, Massachusetts in 1973 and ending with Massachusetts in 1990.
The book starts in Massachusetts – it’s 1973 and Grace’s daughter Trixie (Beatrix) is tired of the small community life. She takes up with an aspiring English rock musician, Jasper Duncliffe, and plans to tour with his group across the USA. Straight off I have to say, I wasn’t invested in Trixie’s character at all. However, her mother Grace is an interesting character and I became fully absorbed with her backstory. That’s what kept me reading at first. Too much more about Trixie and I would have called it a loss, picked up another book.
Anyway, a family emergency arises for Jasper and he has an obligation to return to England but promises to send for Trixie. It becomes clear to Grace and Freddie which family Jasper is from, they both know their daughter will be forgotten. How do they know this family, you ask? Well it will be explained in Grace’s backstory.
When we start reading about Grace she is married to Freddie Valentine, living in Massachusetts, employed as a landscape designer and keeps bees. When her backstory starts she is only 14 years old and Freddie is her best friend. So you have certain spoilers right off such as knowing who she will marry and knowing her beloved father dies while she is still living in England.
The scenery and dialogue are very detailed and you have a feeling of viewing the countryside rather than reading about it. Great descriptive prose. If the research about beekeeping is correct then you will learn so very much about bees and how they are handled, winterized, how to collect honey and more. I personally enjoyed reading those passages. It flowed smoothly, it wasn’t a tutorial at all.
This book isn’t a romance but there is romance and family upheaval in the plot. There are betrayals, mysteries, sorrow and love.
The bees had a supporting role in this story so I choose to make a dish with honeyed chicken tenderloins.
This is a light meal which may be prepared in under a half hour. A cold Rose went well with this meal.