The History of Bees by Maja Lunde
"Without bees, the flowers were just flowers, not blueberries, not bread and butter."
The History of Bees by Maja Lunde is one of those books that I read and then couldn't stop thinking about. Yes, the cover is absolutely gorgeous (that sparkle!!) but aside from that, the story itself was unforgettable.
Told in three different time periods, Lunde was able to achieve something extra ordinary in doing so. She wove together a story that made you care for each character, while also appreciating the grander scope of what the story was about: the importance of bees to our world today and our future. Something that I don't think most people realize or fully understand.
Our three main characters are as follows, William (inventor of the bee hives living in Victorian times), George (a modern day bee farmer struggling to keep his bees alive at the very beginning of the bee "disappearances"), and Tao (a bee pollinator living in a dystopian future where bees have disappeared). Each of these characters struggled with their relationship to bees and it in turn affected the relationships with those around them. My favorite character was Tao, a mother who will stop at nothing to find her child in a world that has all but disappeared along with the bees.
One of my favorite scenes that Lunde wrote was Tao dragging herself through the empty streets of a mostly empty city thinking of nothing but her child and knowing she will do anything to find him. I was so struck by that scene and the following ones as she found out what had happened to her boy, as well as the final scene which was unexpected and definitely powerful.
There is much that can be taken from this story, applied to our world today and the affect our relationship with bees will have on future generations. Reading the dystopian story alongside the other two really made the affect more powerful I think, of what a loss of these bees would mean to us as a society and to the world as a whole.
I am so grateful to Touchstone books for the advance copy I received to review and the final copy as well! Its a book I will keep alongside my other "favorites" and look forward to rereading again someday. (As well as recommending to all of my friends!)