FICTION

The Beekeeper's Ball

Mira: Harlequin. Jul. 2014. 352p. ISBN 9780778314486. $24.95; ebk. ISBN 9781460330074. F
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The second in the "Bella Vista Chronicles" (after The Apple Orchard, 2013) focuses on Isabel Johansen, who was raised by her grandparents after her parents died. After Isabel's one venture into the world ends in violence, she comes home to Archangel, in beautiful Sonoma County, CA. She wants to transform the family home into a destination cooking school, using local foods, including honey from her own hives. Then she mistakes Cormac O'Neill for a beekeeper, and ends up taking the allergic man to the local clinic after he's stung. Isabel doesn't know Mac is there to write her grandfather's biography. It's Magnus Johansen's powerful account of his role in the Danish Resistance that forces Isabel to face her own past. The woman who saw a cooking school as her only dream might finally dare to reach for love. Wiggs successfully combines a contemporary romance and a family saga with a dramatic story of resistance as she alternates Isabel's story with her grandfather's account of his loss of family and fight to save the Jews in his native Denmark. The beauty of Bella Vista stands in sharp contrast to the bleakness of the Danish landscape under the Nazis.
VERDICT This novel is highly recommended for those who appreciate women's fiction with a historical backstory.

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