Monday, September 18, 2023

The Music of Bees by Eileen Garvin

A heartwarming debut novel for readers of Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, following three lonely strangers in a rural Oregon town, each working through grief and life's curveballs, who are brought together by happenstance on a local honeybee farm where they find surprising friendship, healing--and maybe even a second chance--just when they least expect it.

Forty-four-year-old Alice Holtzman is stuck in a dead-end job, bereft of family, and now reeling from the unexpected death of her husband. Alice has begun having panic attacks whenever she thinks about how her life hasn't turned out the way she dreamed. Even the beloved honeybees she raises in her spare time aren't helping her feel better these days.

In the grip of a panic attack, she nearly collides with Jake--a troubled, paraplegic teenager with the tallest mohawk in Hood River County--while carrying 120,000 honeybees in the back of her pickup truck. Charmed by Jake's sincere interest in her bees and seeking to rescue him from his toxic home life, Alice surprises herself by inviting Jake to her farm.

And then there's Harry, a twenty-four-year-old with debilitating social anxiety who is desperate for work. When he applies to Alice's ad for part-time farm help, he's shocked to find himself hired. As an unexpected friendship blossoms among Alice, Jake, and Harry, a nefarious pesticide company moves to town, threatening the local honeybee population and illuminating deep-seated corruption in the community. The unlikely trio must unite for the sake of the bees--and in the process, they just might forge a new future for themselves.

Beautifully moving, warm, and uplifting, The Music of Bees is about the power of friendship, compassion in the face of loss, and finding the courage to start over (at any age) when things don't turn out the way you expect.

Hardcover, 322 pages
Published April 27, 2021
by Dutton
4.5/5 stars

This was my 2021 SweetReadsBox book and one that comes with rave reviews.

Told from 3 different POVs it has unique characters from different walks of life.  As the title references, bees do play a pivotal role, there was a nice balance of education and entertainment.

This book grabbed me as one by one the cast is introduced.  Enter first Alice, a 44 year old widow, still grieving and not sure or having any desire to move forward.  Then enters Jake in his wheelchair, without much family support in his day to day life he finds solace with the bees.  Finally in comes Harry, seeking a fresh start while struggling without support and the where with all to know where to begin.

The Music of Bees is a tender, beautifully written story that touches at the heart strings.  It smoothly shows the impact of friendship, showcasing its transforming power.  While grief has no boundaries with courage and support one can find the strength to move forward.  This unlikely trio ban together.  Definitely a book I recommend and an author I will be reading more of.

This book was part of my 2023 Reading Off My Shelf Challenge.

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