I remember when Jaws V came out a million years ago. The family that the shark had been bothering throughout Jaws II – IV moved across country to California or Washington or someplace like that to get away from the shark and, yes, you guessed it, the shark followed. Smart fellow with a great sense of direction.
I thought of Jaws V while reading The Wedding Bees: A Novel of Honey, Love, and Manners, by Sarah-Kate Lynch. But often good novels require a suspense of belief in reality. Because, though I thought Jaws V was incredibly stupid, I really liked this book.
Sugar Wallace barely escaped marriage to a violent alcoholic by literally leaving him at the altar of their church in Charleston, SC. She ran to her grandfather’s house, grabbed the bees he had kept for years and left to her when he recently died, and took off, never to return. Well, at least never to return for a number of years.
Each year Sugar moved to a new location. She would place her queen bee (named Elizabeth the Sixth) on a map, and wherever Liz stopped is where Sugar and her bees moved next. This process took her to NYC.
In NYC, Sugar and her bees meet a rag-tag group of people who are all blessed by Sugar’s kindness and healing powers with her honey. She, in turn, meets the man of her dreams.
Lynch’s writing – at least of this particular novel – is almost fairytale-like. All it lacks is a “once upon a time.” But that works very well for this story. After all, Sugar’s life is really managed by Elizabeth the Sixth and her worker bees. They take care of Sugar.
The Wedding Bees is definitely a women’s book. No men need apply. It also is not a good read for anyone looking for a meaty book with a deep, meaningful message, and not a particularly good book for a book club. There isn’t a lot to discuss. The Wedding Bees is quick, sweet, and leaves the reader feeling like they want to be a better person. Maybe even a person who keeps bees. Certainly a person who eats honey.
While predictable, it kept my interest, and in the end, left me feeling good about people, and wishing I could spend time with Sugar and her friends. A great book if you are trying to recover from reading a series of heavy, dark books.
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