Sunday, February 14, 2021

The Music of Bees - Eileen Garvin

Although Eileen Garvin published her memoir How to Be a Sister (intriguing title, that) in 2010, the soon-to-be-published The Music of Bees marks her debut as a novelist. Part of what makes this new novel so much fun to read is the rather painless education about bees and beekeepers that the reader acquires along the way. Garvin, who is herself an Oregon beekeeper in addition to being a writer, skillfully makes it all seem simple right up until the point the  reader comes to realize just how complicated beekeeping actually is, and how terribly important bees and their keepers are to the environment and the food chain. 


The Music of Bees is a story about three loners, two of whom have become loners pretty much by choice, and another who had the lifestyle forced upon him after an accident put him in a wheelchair for the rest of his life. Alice Holtzman is a 44-year-old county employee who enjoys keeping bees so much that over the next year she wants to double the number of hives she has. She is in the process of doing just that, transporting some 120,000 bees home in the back of her truck, when she almost literally runs into Jake, the 18-year old in the wheelchair. Jake is rather foolishly tooling down the side of the highway in his chair at dusk when Alice runs him off the road. When the smoke clears, Jake is so intrigued by Alice and how she is able to entice almost all the bees back into their proper containers, that a new friendship is born. Harry is a 24-year-old running from his past who moves west to live in a dilapidated trailer with his reclusive uncle. After spotting Alice’s help-wanted ad, he responds, and the unlikely trio soon find themselves not only working together, but living together.


All three have things in their recent past they regret, and all three of them have withdrawn into themselves in the mistaken belief that they will heal their wounds that way. What they end up learning is that they are much stronger together than they are separately. More importantly, though, the bond they form is such a strong one that each of them begins to come back to life - and when the well-being of their bees and new way of life are threatened, they are willing to fight back as one, no matter what it takes or what the personal repercussions may be for any one of them.


Bottom Line: The Music of Bees is a beautiful story about empathy, friendship, and personal restoration. At its heart it is a basic story of good versus evil, and how sometimes the least powerful among us can beat the odds just long enough to win the battle - oh, and all of that beekeeping knowledge that seeps in along the way is a special bonus readers are sure to enjoy. 


Eileen Garvin



Review Copy provided by Publisher

8 comments:

  1. I think I'd really like this. I learn things well when they're folded into a story, and beekeeping is something I'd love to know more about.

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    1. I've always been a little curious about beekeepers and what all their "hobby" entails, but now that I know something concrete about it, I see that it's much more than a hobby even for the smaller collections of bee colonies. It was fascinating...and the plot is good, too. Garvin tells a pretty good story.

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  2. This sounds so good! I am adding it to my list and look forward to reading about these three characters. :)

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    1. I hope you enjoy it, Jen. Even though the storyline has a certain predictability about it, Garvin still made me want to turn the pages because I started to care about the characters. I'll look forward to seeing what you think of it.

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  3. I've heard great things about this book. The fact that you enjoyed it makes me want to read it even more!

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    1. Susan, I'll be looking for your thoughts on it. I hope you catch up with it at some point. I think it's to be published in mid-April.

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  4. I'm in for reading this one! :D I had a friend who kept bees for awhile; she gave away the honey every year at Christmas time and it was the best.

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    1. I always wonder how people get into the whole beekeeping thing...I've seen little groups of hives from time to time, but I've never known a beekeeper personally. I hope you enjoy this one at some point.

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