The Music of Bees
Debut novels can be hit or miss. This one is a winner.
The three major characters are the kind I like – not so much quirky as uniquely themselves. Some would call them misfits, but don’t we all know and love people who have hearts of gold but are broken in other spots?
There’s forty-something Alice, a new widow stagnating at work and suffering panic attacks when she wonders where her life is headed. There’s Jake, an eighteen-year-old paraplegic whose life has been in limbo since he lost the use of his legs in a stupid party accident the year before. And there’s Harry, the proverbial sucker who, at twenty-four, can’t seem to do anything right.
Total strangers, the three come together in an improbable way that I found to be utterly believable. And what they do for and with each other? That will warm your heart.
The Music of Bees is about people. But the plot is crafted around bees. Alice is a beekeeper, as is, apparently, the author of this book. So there’s a lot of info on what bees do and need and want, much of it paralleling the lives of our characters.
Though I found the opening of the book slow, once Alice, Jake and Harry join forces, the story races. The writer in me always tries to guess where the plot is headed, but I was fooled at most every twist. Moreover, I came to care so for the characters and their plight that each time I had to put the book down, I couldn’t wait to get back to it. I love it when books do that.
A confession, here. The audiobook is read by one of my favorite narrators, Thérèse Plummer, who also narrated A Week at the Shore, so I’m a little biased. It’s a fabulous listen. That said, I’m sure it’s every bit as good a read in print.