Thursday, August 12, 2021

Book Review of The Beekeeper's Promise

 

The Beekeeper's Promise is a work of historical fiction that takes place in the World War II era.  It portrays two women of courage.  The first is Eliane, who lives in a small town in France during the the war and the second is Abi who visits that small town in 2017. The chapters in the book alternate between Eliane's story and Abi's story.

First Storyline

Eliane lives in rural France and we hear her story starting in the late 1930's near the beginning of World War II.  She lives on the Count Comte's Bellevue estate and she is employed as a kitchen assistant in the main chateau.  One of the duties she loves is taking care of the many beehives.  She does an excellent job and the Count arranges for some additional beehives to be moved from a nearby farm for Eliane to also mange.  When the beehives are moved Matthieu oversees the move and Eliane and Matthieu soon develop a close relationship.
The story then evolves as the chateau is taken over by the Nazi's and the Count moves out to a side cottage.   Eliane continues on with her duties with the bees and in the kitchen.  Without giving away more of the story I will say that Eliane and many of the others become involved in the war effort.  The French resistance is very much a part of this novel and the courage of those involved is evident.  I found it to be a very interesting and educating book.

Second Storyline

Abi, who lives near London, is recovering from an accident and severe depression.  Her friend talks her into attending a Yoga retreat in a small French town.  During the retreat Abi wanders off into the French countryside and gets herself lost.  A storm comes up and Abi is rescued by Sara who is driving by in the area.  Sara brings her to her home to wait out the storm.  It turns out that her home is the former estate of Count Comte.  Sara and her husband Thomas have turned the estate into a wedding venue.  It is the height of the wedding season and a key employee has taken ill.  Abi stays to help and during her stay Sara tells her the story of Eliane.  Through this story, which is told gradually over the weeks that Abi is working at the wedding venue, Abi realizes that she too can be strong and face the future.






My Recommendation

This was a book that I thoroughly enjoyed.  In fact I think I will recommend it for my book club to read.  I loved all of the characters and the author, Fiona Valpy, did an excellent job of making me feel that I was part of the story.  It was one of those books that carried the characters with me long after I had finished reading.



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7 comments:

  1. The fact that the characters stayed with you long after you finished the book is quite a compliment to the author's storytelling ability. Thanks for this fascinating book recommendation, Mary Beth.

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  2. I do love a wonderful historical fiction book with characters that are so real to me that I continue to think about them long after I have finished the book. Sounds like a great book Mary Beth. Thanks for the recommendation!

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  3. Mary Beth, like Sylvestermouse I am a big fan of historical fiction. Based on your review, this book sounds like a beautifully conceived, planned and written example of that genre and a novel I would enjoy. I love the idea of Abi being uplifted from both her depression and physical pain and inspired to re-empower herself and find her own courage and strength to push through adversity by a woman working at the same estate and seemingly powerless some 80 years earlier.

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  4. Okay this is going on my to read list right now. I have a son in law who is a beekeeper and I love anything that will let you into the lives of others while they care for something other than themselves. This sounds like a book I could lose myself in! I appreciate your review Mary Beth!

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  5. I would enjoy this book. I love that the characters stayed with you after you finished the book, character development in a story is important to me. I also like the story line and think it would be an absorbing read. Thank you for the recommendation!

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  6. Excellent review, sounds like another book my mom would enjoy. I really appreciate the book-reviews here on ReviewThisReviews - they help a great deal when trying to find a book to buy.

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  7. There is nothing that I like better than a good historical fiction. This book really sounds interesting and I'm going to order it. Thanks Mary Beth for the recommendation.

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