- Title: The Beekeeper’s Ball
- Series: Bella Vista Chronicles, #2
- Author: Susan Wiggs
- Genre: Contemporary Romance; Women’s Fiction
- Published: June 24, 2014 – Harlequin MIRA
- Source: Publisher
Synopsis: Isabel Johansen, a celebrated chef who grew up in the sleepy Sonoma town of Archangel, is transforming her childhood home into a destination cooking school—a unique place for other dreamers to come and learn the culinary arts. Bella Vista’s rambling mission-style hacienda, with its working apple orchards, bountiful gardens and beehives, is the idyllic venue for Isabel’s project…and the perfect place for her to forget the past.
But Isabel’s carefully ordered plans begin to go awry when swaggering, war-torn journalist Cormac O’Neill arrives to dig up old history. He’s always been better at exposing the lives of others than showing his own closely guarded heart, but the pleasures of small-town life and the searing sensuality of Isabel’s kitchen coax him into revealing a few truths of his own.
The dreamy sweetness of summer is the perfect time of year for a grand family wedding and the enchanting Beekeeper’s Ball, bringing emotions to a head in a story where the past and present collide to create an unexpected new future. (publisher)
My take: Susan Wigg’s lush descriptions drew me right into The Beekeeper’s Ball. Seriously, I’d love to enroll in Isabel’s cooking school and take in all Bella Vista has to offer!
Mac, an accomplished author, has arrived to write Isabel’s grandfather’s story. He was part of the Danish Resistance during WWII and, along with a few other people in Isabel’s life, came to the US when the liberation began. Magnus (the grandfather) has quite a story to tell Mac. He wants to get that story out because the truth needs to be told. That theme winds through the novel. Mac encourages Isabel to tell her truth – to herself and her loved ones. That takes extraordinary courage and she’s not sure she has it in her.
Another storyline is one that involves Isabel’s father. He died in a tragic crash on the day she was born. Isabel never had reason to doubt this truth she’d been told by her grandparents. They raised her because her mother died after giving birth to Isabel. Mystery begins to swirl around this storyline and I expect it to continue in the next book of The Bella Vista Chronicles.
I enjoyed the message of the dual stories in the book: Magnus and his friends rising to help in the Danish Resistance before moving to a new homeland and Isabel and Mac rising to help the people in their lives. The past is the past. Embrace the future.
Note: Although I haven’t yet read the first book in the series (The Apple Orchard) I didn’t feel lost. Wiggs did a good job explaining references to events and people from that book.