I haven’t read a book by Santa Montefiore before, and if I’d seen the cover in a shop I doubt I would have picked it up: flowers, soft focus woman in a flowing dress. A bit twee for me. But I didn’t see the cover, I downloaded it from Net Galley. And it just goes to show how a cover can deter as well as attract, because I enjoyed the book. In a ‘I need an unchallenging read for a hot summer day when my brain isn’t fully-functioning’ kind of way.
I was 75% of the way through the book before I worked out why I was slightly dissatisfied, and I emphasize the ‘slightly’. Something was missing: context. The bees are drawn beautifully, the description of bees, the beekeeping, their role in Grace’s life. I could not say the same for the World War Two strand, in which war was a distant event: the women take over work at the Hall, and they have plenty of vegetables to eat. Likewise the Seventies, lightly drawn with sweeping pencil strokes. That’s why for me, the book is a lightweight read although it examines heavyweight topics and the characterization is strong. So I guess this will be labelled as Romance Genre.
Will I read another Montefiore novel? Maybe, it would be immensely comforting if I was ill or was facing an endless plane flight. If you hate romance, this is not for you. There’s lots of youthful longing, love won and lost, sad adultery and mature longing of long lost loves. I can see why her novels sell by the bucket-load. Santa Montefiore [above, with her dog Musket] is a prolific author. To find out more about her other novels, click here for her website.
I am not sure if there is a connection with this novel, but click here to read Sylvia Plath’s poem ‘The Beekeeper’s Daughter’, written in 1959.
‘The Beekeeper’s Daughter’ by Santa Montefiore [UK: Simon & Schuster] Buy now
And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
THE BEEKEEPER’S DAUGHTER by @SantaMontefiore #bookreview via @SandraDanby http://wp.me/p5gEM4-19W