Synopses & Reviews
"The bees came the summer of 1964, the summer I turned fourteen and my life went spinning off into a whole new orbit, and I mean whole new orbit.
Looking back on it now, I want to say the bees were sent to me. I want to say they showed up like the angel Gabriel appearing to the Virgin Mary, setting events in motion I could never have guessed." So begins the story of Lily Melissa Owens, a plucky girl, rich in humor despite heart wrenching circumstances. Living on a peach farm in South Carolina with her harsh, unyielding father, her entire life has been shaped around one devastating, though blurred, memory- the afternoon her mother was killed. Four at the time, she remembers innocently picking up the gun. And, she has her father's eyewitness account of the gun firing. People remind her it was an accident, yet she's inhabited by a torturous guilt. Lily's only real companion is Rosaleen, a tender, but fierce-hearted black woman who cooks, cleans and acts as her "stand-in mother."
South Carolina in 1964 is a place and time of seething racial divides. When violence explodes one summer afternoon, and Rosaleen is arrested and beaten, Lily is desperate, not only to save Rosaleen, but to flee a life she can no longer endure. Calling upon her colorful wits and uncommon daring, she breaks Rosaleen out of jail and the two of them take off, runaway-fugitives conjoined in an escape that quickly turns into Lily's quest for the truth about her mother's life.
Following a trail left ten years earlier, Lily and Rosaleen end up in the home of three bee-keeping sisters. No ordinary women, the sisters revere a Black Madonna and tend a unique brand of female spirituality that reaches back to the time of slavery. As Lily's life becomes deeply entwined with theirs, she is irrevocably altered. In a mesmerizing world of bees and honey, amid the strength and power of wise women, Lily journeys through painful secrets and shattering betrayals, finding her way to the single thing her heart longs for most.
Learn more about Sue Monk Kidd at SueMonkKidd.com.
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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 racits 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.
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.
Unabridged CDs, 8 CDs, 10 hours
Read by Jenna Lamia
Now a major motion picture starring Queen Latifa, Dakota Fanning, Jennifer Hudson, Alicia Keys, and Sophie Okonedo.
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.