It was extremely hot out today! We had a high of 106 degrees (we are usually in the high 90s). I think I will focus on indoor chores (like reading) for the rest of the summer! This is just too hot!
Sweet as Honey by Jennifer Beckstrand is the first book in The Honeybee Sisters series. The Honeybee Sisters (Lily, Rose, and Poppy) live in Bienenstock, Wisconsin with their Aunt Bitsy (Elizabeth Kiem). Their parents died in an auto accident. Aunt Bitsy returned to the Amish faith (after living Englisch for 20 years) to raise the children. Aunt Bitsy is a wee bit eccentric (which I loved), but she is also loving and God fearing (she talks to God out loud). The four of them raise bees and make money from their honey (and other bee related products). They sell the honey to Paul Glick’s father who runs the local general store. Paul made friends with Lily when they were in school and have been together ever since. Lily and Paul are expected to marry. Then Dan Kanagy returns to town after living in Pennsylvania for the last two years (where he tried to forget about Lily). Dan has had a crush on Lily since they went to school, but he has an awkward way of showing his affection. He believes the special names he calls Lily are endearing, but Lily finds them offensive (but she never told Dan this little tidbit). Dan slowly works his charms on the family and Lily. Dan sees how Paul treats Lily (she already has self-confidence issues) and wants to help her. Paul continually puts down Lily (mental abuse instead of physical), but Paul states he is trying to teach her how to be a proper Amish woman (that is how he explains his insults). Then Dan discovers that Paul is cheating the Christner’s on their honey. He wants to help, but Lily really needs to be the one to stand up to Paul. Lily is responsible for the selling of the honey and the books for the business. Will Lily be able to step up to the task? The Christner family is also dealing with sabotage on the farm. Someone is sneaking onto the farm at night (painting warning messages on the barn door, taking down clothesline so clothes are in the mud). Why is someone doing this to them? Can they find out who is responsible?
Sweet as Honey is different from other Amish fiction novels, and I have to admit that I had a hard time reading it. The mental abuse Paul inflicted on Lily really hit home with me (I suffered from it for many years). Sweet as Honey is nicely written and has a good pace (which makes for a quick and easy read). I thought Lily was too naïve (can anyone really be that oblivious in this modern age). I give Sweet as Honey 4 out of 5 stars (I liked it). Paul’s character is an exaggerated version of a villain (he was overdone like a caricature). I think the author did it to show the difference between Paul and Dan (because was written as a happy-go-lucky, caring individual). Sweet as Honey addresses an important issue and Jennifer Beckstrand did a good job at showing how someone should handle an abuser. Will I read the next book in the series? Yes. I will read the next book in The Honeybee Sisters series.
The next book in The Honeybee Sisters is A Bee in Her Bonnet which will be out on July 26. Like a Bee to Honey is the third book and will be out on August 30. I received a complimentary copy of Sweet as Honey from NetGalley (and Kensington Books) in exchange for an honest evaluation of the novel.
I am off to relax and enjoy my dinner. Have a good night, and I will be back tomorrow. Take care and Happy Reading!
The Avid Reader