Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Beekeeper's Ball-Susan Wiggs

The Beekeeper's Ball

Susan Wiggs

Mira, Jun 24 2014, $24.95

ISBN 9780778314486

Thirtyish orphan Isabel Johansen returned home to Bella Vista, California to open up a cooking school at the family estate in Sonoma using honey from local beehives including her own as a key ingredient. As she helps plan for her recently met half-sister Tess’ wedding (see The Apple Orchard) Isabel also hopes by coming to her hometown she can move past her history especially with an abusive former lover who has made her wary of men.

Cormac O’Neill comes to Bella Vista to write a biography of Isabel’s apple orchard owning grandfather Magnus Johansen. The author too hopes his work in this town will help him move past his recent history. As Cormac and his subject’s family become aware of courageous Magnus risking his life to protect Jews including his wife from the Nazis in Denmark, the biographer and the cooking teacher fall in love; but her recent relationship leaves her doubting a relationship.

The romance is a solid contemporary, but the WII Danish resistance owns the storyline and also serves as the impetus for the heroine to take a chance on love. Readers will appreciate the powerful historical dramatic subplot of brave people defying the Nazis in 1940s Copenhagen (mindful of Schindler’s List by Thomas Keneally and the Steven Spielberg film, and Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl).

Harriet Klausner

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