Book Review by Jill Smith©Oct18
Title: The Beekeeper’s Secret
Author: Josephine Moon
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Maria Lindsey lives a solitary life. She spends her days cooking, and preparing market goods to raise money for orphaned children. Honeybee Haven hosts visits by tourists who help top up the coppers for the fund. Her family don’t know where she is or what’s she’s doing and that’s the way she likes it. A former nun, who is also a beekeeper, she helps those she can and lets the guilt that sits like a rock grounding her, stay in the back of her mind. Two letters arrive that upset her peaceful plans. Now she must face her guilt and allow the world to know her secret.
Tansy Butterfield is restless. After seven years of marriage, her agreement with her adored husband Dougal is one she’s having misgivings over. With his work wanting to relocate Dougal to Canada she must make a decision. It’s time to solve a family mystery, one her parents have been vague about for years. Where is her aunt? Why does the family that are normally close and welcoming, not speak about her? Tansy does some investigating and is surprised to find Honeybee Haven is nearby and that’s where her Aunt lives. She sends her aunt a letter to say she’ll call in to visit.
Investigating Officer George Harvey is a cold case Police officer. He had a hunch that the body he was arranging to exhume would throw up more questions than answers. George is at the end of his career and feeling very old. But this case was one he doesn’t want to let go. He’s Catholic and wants to discover if the death of a Priest years earlier was accidental or murder. He’s sent letters to potential witnesses to say he would go and speak to them.
This is a delightful book about family conflict, guilty secrets and appalling cover-up of sexual misconduct by Catholic Priests. The book reads like one best friend chatting to another. Its charm with the comparison between bees and peoples lives a tangible cohesive layer to the story. I loved this book and will go on to read more of Josephine’s work.