The spring she is eleven years old, Melissa Singer’s mother walks out of the house and never returns. That summer, her father, a migratory beekeeper, takes her along with him as he delivers his hives. The trip and the people she meets change her life. Over the years that follow, Melissa tries to unlock the mystery of her mother’s disappearance and struggles to come to terms with her loss.
Melanie Dugan is a long-time library assistant and book club enthusiast. She is the author of Dead Beautiful, (“the writing is gorgeous,” A Soul Unsung) Sometime Daughter (“Stunning debut,” Kingston Whig-Standard) and Revising Romance (“heartwarming, amusing and … downright sexy,” Midwest Book Review). Her short stories have been shortlisted for several awards, including the CBC Literary Award. She lives in Kingston, Ontario.
Merilyn Simonds, author of Breakfast at the Exit Cafe, A New Leaf: Growing with My Garden, and The Convict Lover, writes, “In Bee Summers, Melanie Dugan sensitively recreates the imposed innocence of childhood, tracking the precocious, resilient Lissy through abandonment and rejection into clear-eyed maturity. This is a coming-of-age novel that buzzes with intelligence and a deep understanding of human nature.”
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Did I enjoy this book: Yes, no, kind of. I’m not sure. I’m deeply conflicted about writing a review on this book. First, I’ll say it was a well-written, thoughtful story. The characters were lovable and sympathetic. The scene and story idea were wonderfully original. There were so many good components in this novel. Unfortunately for me, it missed one crucial element – passion. It was like the time I made a tuna casserole and forgot to add the tuna. ***Spoiler Alert*** Early in the story, a young girl’s mother goes missing. We learn later that the father knew his wife left him and filed for divorce. They both thought it best to simply tell the girl nothing. Initially, everyone acted like Mom was coming back. Melissa, our young protagonist, has to figure it out on her own. This plot is carried out too casually. There were a few scenes where Melissa fights back tears and wonders about her mom, but that was about it. One exception came toward the end of the story when Melissa, as an adult, discovered the letters her mother mailed to her father years before. I won’t discuss precisely what happens, but it did break my heart and made me angry. Sadly, it was too little, too late. Would I recommend it: Some readers may enjoy a really low-key story — maybe something to read before bed. It’d be okay for that. Otherwise I’d suggest checking it out of the library and reading the last two chapters. As reviewed by Belinda at Every Free Chance Books. Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.