The NY Literary Magazine

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general fiction

“The Secret Life of Bees” Book Review

While blood is thicker than water, beeswax and honey keep people together.

Sue Monk Kidd’s auspicious debut novel revolves around young and petulant Lily Owens as she navigates life on her abusive father’s peach farm with the blurred memory of her mother’s accidental death. Set in South Carolina in a time of overt racial tension, her black housekeeper and nearest hope to motherly-love, Rosaleen, scandalizes the town by registering to vote. Lily springs Rosaleen from the hospital she’s kept at and the two go on a quest to uncover her mother’s past, which eventually leads them to three motherly sisters, The Boatwright’s, who own a honey farm. Lily and Rosaleen are introduced to their memorable world of bees, honey, female divinity, and womanhood.

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