Synopses & Reviews
Sue Monk Kidd’s first novel The Secret Life of Bees, a heartwarming coming of age tale set in 1960s South Carolina, a New York Times bestseller for more than 125 weeks, and a Good Morning America “Read This” Book Club pick
Fans of The Help
will love Sue Monk Kidd’s Southern coming of age tale. The Secret Life of Bees
was a New York Times
bestseller for more than 125 weeks, a Good Morning America “Read This” Book Club pick and was made into an award-winning film starring Dakota Fanning, Queen Latifah, Jennifer Hudson and Alicia Keys. Set in South Carolina in 1964, The Secret Life of Bees
will appeal to fans of Kathryn Stockett’s The Help
and Beth Hoffman’s Saving CeeCee Honeycutt
, and tells 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.
"Sue Monk Kidd is an extraordinary storyteller. Beautifully written." Ursula Hegi
"A wonderful novel about mothers and daughters and the transcendent power of love." Connie May Fowler
"Sue Monk Kidd's eccentric, inventive, and ultimately forgiving novel is reminscent of the work of Reynolds Price in its ability to create a truly original Southern voice." Anita Shreve
"Lily is a wonderfully petulant and self-absorbed adolescent, and Kidd deftly portrays her sense of injustice as it expands to accommodate broader social evils. At the same time the political aspects of Lily's growth never threaten to overwhelm the personal. The core of this story is Lily's search for a mother, and she finds one in a place she never expected.... She finds her Madonna in a woman named August Boatwright, the proprietor of a honey farm that's a harbor of quiet civility. August and her sisters, June and May, are no mere vehicles for Lily's salvation; they are individuals as fully imagined as the sweltering, kudzu-carpeted landscape that surrounds them."
—The New York Times Book Review
"Lily Melissa Owens... the brave girl at the heart of this novel... frees her babysitter, a black maid who has been abused by several white men and put in jail for it, and the two of them follow Lily's instincts to safety. The Secret Life of Bees is one of those novels that leaves a reader more confident: Heck, if this kid could do it, so can I."
—The Los Angeles Times Book Review
"Populated with rich, believable characters and propelled by a swiftly paced plot, this debut novel is a cut above most coming-of-age tales. Youll be glad you went along for the ride. Bottom line: Buzz-worthy."
"Sue Monk Kidd is an extraordinary storyteller. Beautifully written."
"A wonderful novel about mothers and daughters and the transcendent power of love."
—Connie May fowler
"With imagination as lush and colorful as the American South, a clutch of deliciously eccentric characters and vivid prose, Sue Monk Kidd creates a rich, maternal haven in a harsh world."
"A truly original Southern voice." —Anita Shreve
"The tale of one motherless daughter's discovery of what family really means—and of the strange and wonderful places we find love." —The Washington Post
"A moving first novel...Lily is an authentic and winning character and her story is compellingly told. The bees presage her journey toward self-acceptance, faith and freedom." —USA Today
"...Sue Monk Kidd is a direct literary descendant of Carson McCullers." —The Baltimore Sun
A stunning debut, The Secret Life of Bees follows a young girl who is taken in by three black, bee-keeping sisters. As she enters their mesmerizing secret world of bees and honey, she discovers a place where she can find the single thing her heart longs for most.
Lily Owens has shaped her life around one devastating, blurred, memory -- the afternoon her mother was killed, when Lily was four. Since then, her only real companion on the peach farm of her harsh, unyielding father has been a fierce-hearted black woman, Rosaleen, her "stand-in mother."
When Rosaleen insults three of the deepest racists in town, Lily knows it is time to spring them both free. She and Rosaleen take off for a town called Tiburon, South Carolina, a name she found on the back of a picture amid the few possessions left by her mother.
They are taken in by three black, bee-keeping sisters. Lily enters their mesmerizing secret world of bees and honey, and of the Black Madonna who presides over this household of strong, wise women -- a place where ultimately she can find the single thing her heart longs for most.
The Secret Life Of Bees
is the story of Lily Owens, a girl who has shaped her life around one devastating memory—the afternoon her mother was killed, when Lily was four. Besides her harsh and unyielding father, Lily’s only real companion is Rosaleen, a tender, but fierce-hearted black woman who cooks, cleans and acts as her “stand-in mother.”
Set in 1964 in South Carolina, a place and time of seething racial divides, violence explodes one summer afternoon, and Rosaleen is arrested and beaten. Lily is despserate, not only to save Rosaleen, but to flee from a life she can no longer endure. Calling upon her colorful wits and youthful daring, she breaks Rosaleen out of jail and the two escape, into what quickly becomes Lily’s quest for the truth about her mother’s life.
They are taken in by three black, bee-keeping sisters, May, June, and August, and Lily is consumed by their secret world of bees and honey, and of the Black Madonna who presides over this household of strong, wise women. Lily’s journey is one of painful secrets and shattering betrayals but that ultimately helps her find the thing her heart longs for most.
The Secret Life Of Bees allows us into a world apart—in a novel whose strong, irresistible voice catches us up and doesn’t let go. The Secret Life Of Bees is a mesmerizing novel about women with extraordinary gifts coping with loss and finding forgiveness and especially, learning to forgive themselves.
About the Author
Sue Monk Kidd
is the author of three novels, The Secret Life of Bees
, The Mermaid Chair
, and, most recently, The Invention of Wings
, which will be published by Viking in January 2014. The Secret Life of Bees
spent more than two and a half years on the New York Times
bestseller list, was adapted into an award-winning movie, and has been translated into thirty-six languages. The Mermaid Chair
, a #1 New York Times
bestseller, was adapted into a television movie. She is also the author of the memoirs The Dance of the Dissident Daughter
, When the Heart Waits
, and, with her daughter Ann Kidd Taylor, the New York Times
bestseller Traveling with Pomegranates
. Her early writings on spirituality are collected in the book Firstlight
. The recipient of numerous literary awards, Sue lives in southwest Florida with her husband, Sandy, and their black Lab, Lily.