Review: Hour of the Bees
Lindsay Eagar - Hour of the BeesExpected publication: March 8, 2016 by Candlewick Press
Genres: Magical Realism, Middle Grade
Find on: Amazon, Goodreads, Book Depository
Things are only impossible if you stop to think about them. . .
While her friends are spending their summers having pool parties and sleepovers, twelve-year-old Carolina — Carol — is spending hers in the middle of the New Mexico desert, helping her parents move the grandfather she’s never met into a home for people with dementia. At first, Carol avoids prickly Grandpa Serge. But as the summer wears on and the heat bears down, Carol finds herself drawn to him, fascinated by the crazy stories he tells her about a healing tree, a green-glass lake, and the bees that will bring back the rain and end a hundred years of drought. As the thin line between magic and reality starts to blur, Carol must decide for herself what is possible — and what it means to be true to her roots. Readers who dream that there’s something more out there will be enchanted by this captivating novel of family, renewal, and discovering the wonder of the world.
~* I received a review copy from Candlewick Press in exchange for an honest review.
~I'm still touched. What a stunning, gorgeous, magical story. I haven't felt this nostalgic since reading Esperanza Rising in elementary school.
The story takes place in Albuquerque on an aging farm. Though she expected a more virtuous summer, Carolina - occasionally, Carol - is soon headed to the New Mexico with her family to look after her ailing grandfather, Serge. The family periodically struggles with selling Serge's land and whether to place him in a retirement home or not. Serge's dementia is taking over his whole self. Infrequently, he confuses Carolina with his dead wife, Rosa, and anytime his son, Raul - Carolina's father - inquires about selling their property, he explodes.
But Carolina is especially drawn to him. To the stories he shares. He tells her about the bees and the drought. How his eternal love, Rosa, longed to escape the town. Stories that are often started with: "Once upon a time, there was a tree." Though Carolina is originally fearful of bees, she eventually conforms to them.
And though they never make a physical appearance, I seriously liked Carolina's friends, too. They seemed supportive.
The relationship Carolina and Serge shared was mystical. I was enraptured by it. I was taken by every story he shared. And to see a grandparent so adoring to their grandparent was a lovely sight. The conflicts on the farm were liquid and real. And though I couldn't comprehend, at first, why Carolina's parents were so hostile, it'd been for good reason and everything was soon sorted-out.
A rightfully-deserved recommend. Please add this to your TBR if you haven't already.