The Beekeeper’s Secret by Australian writer Josephine Moon is a delicious novel. It fell into my hands accidentally after I glanced across at a book display in a chain store. This book’s eye-catching cover caught my eye. I’m glad I bought and read it.
10 Reasons why I loved The Beekeeper’s Secret
‘How did the author do that?’ I wondered, as a writer, again and again, while I read this novel. There was much to learn from it.
Here are some of the things I loved about the book:
- The opening sentence of this novel hooked me. ”This Maria must be a very busy person because she crams so much into her Fridays. I want to know more about her.’ I thought. ‘Immediately. And she is an old woman. I like that.’
- The odour of roasting almonds, the taste of honey, the sound of bees, the crinkling of cellophane tied with pretty strings. These conspire to engage my senses from page one. Then there’s all the food in the book, cooked and shared and eaten.
- The landscape, too, plays an important role. The ocean, mountains, a seaside village (tourist town?) in Queensland present themselves.
- There’s the hint of intrigue on the second page, and the story that unfolds kept me guessing almost until the end.
- Josephine Moon introduces a large cast of characters. Every of them has his or her proper place in this amazing story. And not once did I lose sight of who was whom. I cared about the characters who peopled this book. Minor characters came to life.
- Some serious topics, like child sexual abuse, paedophile priests, foreign aid, family breakdown and marital relationships, ground the story. Josephine Moon manages evenhandedly the topics she introduces.
- A plot and subplot (or two or three) kept me wondering, ‘What next?’
- The plot twists in The Beekeeper’s Secret amazed me. I’ve been trying to write a novel. Forever, I think. I learned so much from this book about plot twists and keeping the pages turning. Yet every twist was plausible. Mostly they were exciting. And turn the pages I certainly did.
- Impressive research into the art of bee-keeping underpins the story. I learned a lot about a topic I didn’t know I was interested in. I loved the way the author uses the relationship of Maria with her bees to enrich the story.
- This last reason is very personal. My father had a book with the same name when I was a child in the 1940s. I read it, but I was very young and not an experienced reader. But The Beekeeper’s Secret recaptured some of the magic of that earlier experience.
Josephine Moon. The Beekeeper’s Secret. Sydney, Allen & Unwin, 2016.
This is a review for the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2016
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