Title: THE HOUR OF THE BEES
Author: Lindsay Eagar
Category & Genre: Middle-grade Magical Realism
Publish date: March 8, 2016
Blurb: Carol has to spend her summer on her grandfather’s ranch—when strange things start happening.
Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥ out of 5
Carolina didn’t know quite what she was getting into when she went with her parents, sister, and brother down to her Grandpa Serge’s sheep ranch. Carol’s skipping out on a whole summer full of having fun with her friends just to help her parents clean out the house, and move the obstinate Serge into a home. Worse, her dad—who spent the last twelve years estranged from his own father—is putting the place up for sale against Grandpa Serge’s will.
At first, Carol wants nothing to do with Serge, or his dementia-fueled stories about Carol’s grandmother. And Serge keeps insisting that Carol find and respect her roots, when she would rather forget about the whole thing. But soon Carol can’t help seeing parallels in the world around her with what had, at first, seemed like the nonsensical ramblings of an old man.
Why are bees following her everywhere, when they’re supposed to be all gone?
There were so many things to love about Eagar’s debut novel. You can feel the southwest in it; in the scraggly sheep, and the pounding heat, and the flavor of Eagar’s haunting, ephemeral prose. There’s something magical, and yet familiar, about the little ranch in HOUR OF THE BEES.
Carol’s journey toward understanding her grandfather is beautifully punctuated by Serge’s whimsical, moving, and magical stories. And as Carol battles with her strong-willed sister, she’s also trying to piece together what rift came between Serge and her father. As the stories get stranger, Carol finds her loyalty shifting more towards Serge and the ranch he built himself, rather than her father, who wants to piece out and sell off the farm.
Soon, Carol finds that the wall between reality and story is thinner than she thought.
This vivid debut novel taps into what it means to be family, to love where we come from, and appreciate the world we’ve been given—and the natural gifts therein. It’s about preserving, and the immense power we hold in changing our destiny. I couldn’t put it down until I was done!