The Beekeeper's Ball

Susan Wiggs. Mira, $24.95 (352p) ISBN 978-0-7783-1448-6
Wiggs's second in her Bella Vista Chronicles series (The Apple Orchard) juggles a modern love story with a heart-pounding chronicle of the Danish resistance in Nazi-occupied Copenhagen, creating a dazzling intergenerational tale of courage and hope. No-frills, 30-year-old Isabelle Johansen is busy organizing the opening of her cooking school, a new beekeeping business, and the wedding of her half-sister, Tess. She's doing all this from her grandparents' mission-style hacienda and farm in Sonoma, but gets thrown off balance by the handsome, globe-trotting journalist Cormac O'Neill. He's arrived to interview Isabelle's grandfather, Magnus, for a biography about his youth thwarting the Nazi occupation, protecting Jewish families, and his ultimate flight to America. The attraction between Isabelle and Cormac is immediate, but Isabelle's cautious heart won't open until she reconciles with the loss of parents she never knew – and confronts a violent lover who broke her trust and confidence. It will be Magnus's story of bravery, along with that of his late Jewish wife, Eva, and her best friend and resistance fighter Annelise–who bears a baby for the childless couple–that will help Isabelle finally face her own fears. Isabelle and Cormac's love story plays out sweetly. What makes this moving narrative so memorable is the fearlessness of families and friends who find strength in each other through the horrors of war and loss. The revelation of Isabelle's new family links with her dead mother and her father preview Wiggs's next installment. (July)
Reviewed on: 06/09/2014
Release date: 06/24/2014
Genre: Fiction
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