Honey Love: The Wedding Bees, by Sarah-Kate Lynch

Wanderer Sugar Wallace arrives in Manhattan with nothing but a beehive, a secret past, and a taste for good manners. She imbibes new life into her dispirited neighbors while trying to determine whether Theo Fitzgerald fits into her own life.

This book is delightful—full of garden rooftops, homemade jars of honey, curly hair wrapped in ribbons, and Southern hospitality. But it’s not a shallow romance—it’s also full of clever writing and deep characters.

The Wedding Bees falls into the category of what I call “every-day” plots—not because the subject matter is insignificant, but because it happens as part of daily life. No one is going off to war like Gone with the Wind or on an epic adventure like Lord of the Rings. It’s about the every-day—how one life affects others, and receives the mirrored effect in return.

Sarah-Kate Lynch’s writing style is perfect for this kind of book. She has a distinct, charming voice which reminds me of the main character herself—sweet and cheerful, but also containing depth and a lot of hard work.

At first glance, Sugar seems superficial. She wears dresses or skirts with ribbons in her hair, has a rolling Southern accent, and is always polite to everyone. She doesn’t get grouchy when someone is mean or rude, but subtly inserts her own gentility into others.

This doesn’t sound like someone who is running away from a dark past. Yet Sugar is a very real character, partially because she seems a little too artificial. She gives of herself to others to mask her own unhappiness and insecurity.

This is something I resonate with. In books or movies, the darkness is often overt—it leaks out through bad tempers, isolation, lack of hygiene, or outright villainy. Sugar, on the other hand, struggles with her past by hiding it under a sweet disposition and humble attitude.

The supporting characters are not as “sweet” as Sugar, but they’re real and vivid, and Sugar’s perception of them makes them easy to like.

This is a romance, but it’s not steamy. I’m not a fan of steamy romance novels—most are unrealistic or feel like pornography on a page. This book has none of that. It doesn’t advertise an idyllic picture of love, but gets dirty with practicality. How do you love someone when your heart is scarred? How do you love someone who is allergic to your bees, who are your best friends, livelihood, and hobby?

I love the use of bees. I actually checked out Beekeeping For Dummies after I finished the novel because I became so interested in the topic. One mistake authors sometimes make is to spend too much time talking about their pet hobbies. An author likes sailing, so sections of his novel become a miniature nautical encyclopedia. The Wedding Bees speaks enough about beekeeping to be interesting, but doesn’t bore the reader.

The conclusion? I loved this book. It was delightful, full of thought and depth and real people.

Five stars

 

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