The History of Bees by Maja Lunde (5 out of 5) 

I got this from Wendy at Simon & Schuster a few months ago with a note attached saying they were very excited about this title. I read a number of books last week and this was the best one. Hands down! I have no idea when Wendy sent it…too many books…but I thank her for bringing me on board with it, because it is a great book. I often, I have to confess, finish a book and then I hop on Goodreads and Litsy and see what others thought. Litsy, my new favorite reader app, has hands up…meaning a hit. Goodreads was uniformly on the side of 3.5-4 stars. I’m confused by those who gave up and say it didn’t move fast enough. Hello, people! The pace is what it is, along all three narratives, because it is the type of story…through three different generations…that needs to take its time and tell the individual stories, because they end up being linked. The type of book that is one of those that stays with you. And it will. It is thought provoking and powerful in all of the best ways. 

England in the 1800’s brings us William, a man so in the grips of crippling depression, that he takes to bed for months. His son Edmund leaves him a book about beehives. Reinvigorated with new purpose, William, along with his doting daughter Charlotte, attempts to construct a new beehive and bring his family to acclaim. Flash forward to Ohio in 2007, where we meet George, a hard-working farmer who is trying to continue with the family business of beekeeping. He didn’t plan for the times to get to his son, Tom, who heads off for college and wants to pursue a writing career instead of taking over and helping with the family business and the farm. Our last story is the future, taking place in China in 2098. Tao is a hand pollinator, working long hours with many others at a time when bees have disappeared. China gives their hard working a “Day of Rest” and Tao and her husband disagree over how to spend it with Wei-Wen, their young son. Kuan, her husband, proposes they spend the day in town, but Tao is eager to stay close to home. She wins, they spend the day together, and Tao and Kuan drift off to sleep in a relaxed state. They wake to find their son has disappeared. Kuan finds him deep in the forest, unable to speak, and in the throes of a medical crisis. “The Committee”, the authorities in charge in China, take Wei-Wen away and leave both parents with no answers as to his condition and what happened to put him in that state. Of all three stories, this one was heartrending. I could not put Tao’s little family or their circumstances out of my mind. I could not put George or his heartland struggle out of my mind. I could not put the struggles of William trying to overcome his depression to make a prototype beehive in an attempt to bring his family honor, out of my mind. All three characters are caught up with and in the business of bees. There’s also the science aspect here that is addressed. The fact that there are no bees left in 2098 and there has to be hand pollination, is something that very well could happen. Bees aren’t having an easy time of it in today’s world, people. Google and read up. Do yourself a favor and pick up this book. Read it, love it, think about it, and recommend it. It’s out in hard cover now, courtesy of Touchstone, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. 

~ by generationgbooks on August 23, 2017.

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