The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

About the book

Lily has grown up believing she accidentally killed her mother when she was four. She not only has her own memory of holding the gun, but her father’s account of the event. Now fourteen, she yearns for her mother, and for forgiveness. Living on a peach farm in South Carolina with her father, she has only one friend: Rosaleen, a black servant whose sharp exterior hides a tender heart. South Carolina in the sixties is a place where segregation is still considered a cause worth fighting for. When racial tension explodes one summer afternoon, and Rosaleen is arrested and beaten, Lily is compelled to act. Fugitives from justice and from Lily’s harsh and unyielding father, they follow a trail left by the woman who died ten years before. Finding sanctuary in the home of three beekeeping sisters, Lily starts a journey as much about her understanding of the world, as about the mystery surrounding her mother.

Reviewed by Cowdray

Everyone in the group enjoyed the book (the first for the whole group). Average out of 10 – 81/2 points. Most read very quickly, couldn’t put it down. broad appeal – loved the aspect through the eyes of a 14 year old.
Star rating ****

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10 thoughts on “The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd”

  1. Reviewed by St Mary’s Parish Book Club
    We all loved this book. Lily’s search for ‘the mother’ against the backdrop of the civil right movement and set in South Carolina – paradise. One member thought it was too sickly sweet, too dripping in honey, but nine of us welcomed such sweetness.
    Star rating ****


  2. Reviewed by Boaters Book Club
    All considered it a good read with good descriptions. Especially of interest were the three sisters, the friendships, the racial situation and their rituals. As a point of view on racism it was considered a very valuable book.
    Star rating ***


  3. Reviewed by Bridewell Beauties
    Everyone loved this book. The writing is vivid, the characters very well drawn and the setting and background seemed authentic. Easy to read despite dealing with serious issues such as racism and the civil rights movement.
    Star rating ***


  4. Reviewed by The Saints
    Easy read – page turner. Good picture of discrimination in southern states of America. At end wanted to continue to follow what happened next.
    Star rating ***


  5. Reviewed by Solent U3A
    A good read about life in South Carolina with racial tensions, and three sisters living on a honey farm and a young girl’s quest to learn about her mother.
    Star rating ****


  6. Reviewed by New Forest/Waterside U3A
    An unequivocal 4 star rating. In addition to being a pleasure to read, this novel provides a great source of cross references which can be deeply discussed. It is unsurprising that it is standard reading for eleven year old children in the USA.
    Star rating ****


  7. Review by Fareham Library 5:30 Reading Group:
    We loved this book. We liked all the characters, the story, the bee theme, the Civil Rights background. We aprticularly liked how all the women in the story supporteed one another. PS Watch the DVD!
    Rating: 5 Stars


  8. Review by Between the Leaves Reading Group
    Fairly light and easy going despite the subject matter. Uplifting, informative. We liked the way the workings of the hive related to the story.
    Star rating: *** + 1/2


  9. Review by Reading between the wines
    3 or 4 stars from everyone. Quite a unique take on the deep south segregation. The Boatwright family demonstrate the importance of family, unity and accepting yourself.
    Star rating: ****


  10. Review by Parish Pump
    Most of us enjoyed this book very much. It has a gentle, dreamy quality interspersed occasionally with more dramatic action. It is a fairly quick, easy read and very pleasant.
    Star rating: ***


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