Sue Monk Kidd's first novel The Secret Life of Bees , a heartwarming coming of age tale set in 1960s South Carolina, a New York Times bestseller for more than 125 weeks, and a Good Morning America "Read This" Book Club pick
Fans of The Help will love Sue Monk Kidd's Southern coming of age tale. The Secret Life of Bees was a New York Times bestseller for more than 125 weeks, a Good Morning America "Read This" Book Club pick and was made into an award-winning film starring Dakota Fanning, Queen Latifah, Jennifer Hudson and Alicia Keys. Set in South Carolina in 1964, The Secret Life of Bees will appeal to fans of Kathryn Stockett's The Help and Beth Hoffman's Saving CeeCee Honeycutt , and tells the story of Lily Owens, whose life has been shaped around the blurred memory of the afternoon her mother was killed.
When Lily's fierce-hearted black "stand-in mother," Rosaleen, insults three of the town's most vicious racists, Lily decides they should both escape to Tiburon, South Carolina--a town that holds the secret to her mother's past. There they are taken in by an eccentric trio of black beekeeping sisters who introduce Lily to a mesmerizing world of bees, honey, and the Black Madonna who presides over their household. This is a remarkable story about divine female power and the transforming power of love--a story that women will share and pass on to their daughters for years to come.
"Kidd's warm debut is set in the sixties, just after the civil rights bill has been passed. Fourteen-year-old Lily Owens is haunted by the accidental death of her mother 10 years earlier, which left her in the care of her brutal, angry father but also Rosaleen, a strong, proud black woman. After Rosaleen is thrown into jail for standing up to a trio of racists, Lily helps her escape from the hospital where she is being kept, and the two flee to Tiburon, a town Lily believes her mother had a connection to. A clue among her mother's possessions leads Lily to the Boatwright sisters, three black women who keep bees. They give Lily and Rosaleen the haven they need, but Lily remains haunted by her mother's death and her own involvement in it. Although she fears her father is looking for her, Lily manages to find solace among the strong women who surround her and, eventually, the truth about her mother that she has been seeking. An uplifting story. --Kristine Huntley"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review:
"Honey-sweet but never cloying, this debut by nonfiction author Kidd (The Dance of the Dissident Daughter) features a hive's worth of appealing female characters, an offbeat plot and a lovely style. It's 1964, the year of the Civil Rights Act, in Sylvan, S.C. Fourteen-year-old Lily is on the lam with motherly servant Rosaleen, fleeing both Lily's abusive father T. Ray and the police who battered Rosaleen for defending her new right to vote. Lily is also fleeing memories, particularly her jumbled recollection of how, as a frightened four-year-old, she accidentally shot and killed her mother during a fight with T. Ray. Among her mother's possessions, Lily finds a picture of a black Virgin Mary with "Tiburon, S.C." on the back so, blindly, she and Rosaleen head there. It turns out that the town is headquarters of Black Madonna Honey, produced by three middle-aged black sisters, August, June and May Boatwright. The "Calendar sisters" take in the fugitives, putting Lily to work in the honey house, where for the first time in years she's happy. But August, clearly the queen bee of the Boatwrights, keeps asking Lily searching questions. Faced with so ideally maternal a figure as August, most girls would babble uncontrollably. But Lily is a budding writer, desperate to connect yet fiercely protective of her secret interior life. Kidd's success at capturing the moody adolescent girl's voice makes her ambivalence comprehensible and charming. And it's deeply satisfying when August teaches Lily to "find the mother in (herself)" a soothing lesson that should charm female readers of all ages. (Jan. 28) Forecast: Blurbs from an impressive lineup of women writers Anita Shreve, Susan Isaacs, Ursula Hegi pitch this book straight at its intended readership. It's hard to say whether confusion with the similarly titled Bee Season will hurt or help sales, but a 10-city author tour should help distinguish Kidd. Film rights have been optioned and foreign rights sold in England and France. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved