The Music of Bees By Eileen Garvin


Forty-four-year-old Alice Holtzman grew up thinking she would one day become a third-generation Oregon fruit grower, but then her parents sold the family orchard to a land developer, she took an office job, and found herself beekeeping on the side. Her hives pollinate nearby fruit trees and give her something to nurture after the sudden, devastating losses of her husband and parents. When she’s taking care of her bees, she doesn’t have time to remember that she’s the last-living member of her family.


Then, two young workers arrive to shake up Alice’s life. Jake is a recent high school graduate whose life plans were upended by an accident that left him using a wheelchair. The more time he spends in the apiary, the more he finds his true calling. Harry, a few years older and with a past he’s not proud of, is just looking for a job to pay down his considerable debts. Just as this trio is beginning to realize how much they need each other, their hives begin failing. A pesticide recently introduced into their area seems to be the culprit. When no one else stands up to save the bees, Alice, Jake, and Harry have to decide how much they are willing to sacrifice to protect them.


Reviewed by Lynn Heitkamp, Head of Butman-Fish Library