Overview: Set in South Carolina in 1964, it is 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. (taken from Amazon)
Dawn's Recommendation: 4 of 5 Stars
What I liked: There were several things I loved about this book.
1. I read this in winter and the book made me warm. Set in sweltering S.C. heat, it helped me forget how cold I was.
2. The Beekeeping aspect was fascinating. I loved how Lily described the bees and their sounds in terms of rhythm and life. The hum of the bees brought me into the story and kept me there.
3. I thought the author did a good job painting the period of racism and brink of social change.
4. The story had tragic elements which made it very interesting.
5. The ending made me smile.
What I didn't like: The characters hold home church-like services and basically worship the Mother Mary/slave statue. At first I thought the book was going toward a Catholic-like faith, but it was instead Idolatry, as I can't remember any mention of faith in Jesus. The characters pray to the Mother Mary statue for power -- an idea that could lead some readers astray if their understanding and faith in Jesus is not solid.
1. It's boring. It tells the basic story, but you're not in Lily's head, so you're missing a lot and because of that, it feels like it's missing the soul of the book.
2. I didn't like some of the casting. Queen Latifah doesn't fit the book's character, tall, thin, gray-haired August Boatwright. Also, the actor that plays Rosaleen seemed way too young for the part, like she could be the same age as Lily.