Book Review: The Beekeeper's Daughter

The Beekeeper's Daughter
By: Santa Montefiore
Published By: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: April 14th, 2015
Page Count: 400
Source: ARC Kindly Provided By Publisher
Audience/Genre: Adult Historical Fiction
 Buy it at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Indiebound.

A beautiful written historical romance, told from multi-generational female perspectives, The Beekeeper's Daughter is exactly the kind of book you want when you need to ENJOY reading again. I devoured this book in a day and enjoyed every minute of it. It truly reminded me of the amazing ability books have to transport the reader to a far off land, in both time and place. Highly recommend!

Told in alternating perspectives, across multiple time periods, this book deals with duty and desire, mothers and daughters, passion and stability, and trying to evaluate your very real present without the idealized filter of your past. In 1973, Trixie is a young, rebellious, free spirit and Grace is her protective mother who sees herself and long-gone possibilities in her daughter. In 1933, Grace is a girl of 14 beginning to see the world in a new way, waking to those missed possibilities.

Multiple connections are made, both romantically and non-romantically, over the course of the 50+ years the novel covers, and Montefiore does a great job developing the characters into multi-dimensional people I genuinely cared for. The romances are sweeping and epic, the connections require a small level of suspension of disbelief, but most romances do. ;) And the well-researched beekeeping aspect is interwoven seamlessly and never seems gimmicky.

This book does suffer from the ailment of a misleading, or maybe misplaced is a better word, first chapter. That chapter, which sets the stage for the gossip-laden, coastal small town Grace lives in really didn't grab me at all, but once Grace and Trixie's stories became the centerpiece, I WAS ABSOLUTELY HOOKED. And I am not usually one to describe books by using other books, but this reminded me so much of The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields (a favorite of mine) in tone and feel, that I bought a copy of that book to re-read. (Plus, The Stone Diaries won the 1995 Pulitzer for Fiction, so I don't think the comparison is a bad thing. ;) ) I highly reccomend this book to romance and historical fiction readers!

Summary via Goodreads

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. Alone, that is, except for one man who she just can't shake from her thoughts…

Massachusetts, 1973: Grace's daughter Trixie Valentine is in love with an unsuitable boy. He's wild and romantic, and in a band that might be going somewhere. But when tragedy strikes and he has to go home to England, he promises to come back to Trixie one day, if only she will wait for him.
Both mother and daughter are searching for love and happiness, unaware of the secrets that bind them. To find what they are longing for they must confront the secrets of the past, and unravel the lies told long ago…