4 out of 5 stars

It was supposed to be a positive move, but Helen’s new job in Oxford feels like a bit of a dead end. Uninterested in the office politics and finding the work tedious she is looking for something to inspire her once again. Having helped a friend look after a few hives, having a colony of bees of her own really appeals, however they are an expensive hobby, especially when starting from scratch. However, the generosity of her friends, who club together to buy a colony of bees for her, gives that spark of enthusiasm for the project. A hive is purchased, delivered and built ready for the for the influx of these winged wonders. And then late spring cam round, and it was time to go and collect her present.

However, will they like their new home? There are a few nervous moments as she checks each week to see if they are surviving and it turns out that they want to stay there, but take a while to fully expand into their new residence. Spending time watching the bees as they go about their business adds a different perspective to Helen’s life. It also prompts her to start finding more out about the history of bee-keeping. On one research trip to London, she meets with a friend of a friend and tentatively there is a blossoming of friendship.

Not only is this an exploration of the hive and the bee, but this is a tender and personal memoir of Helen’s life and a touching story of her falling in love; something that she wasn’t expecting when the thought of having a beehive of her own occurred to her. I thought that it was really sensitively written too as well as being well researched and positive story. Can highly recommend it.

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