The Beekeeper's Daughter by Santa Montefiore

The love she carried in her heart was as shiny as new and would remain so for as long as her memory clung onto its radiance.

Title - The Beekeeper's Daughter
Author - Santa Montefiore
Publisher - Simon and Schuster UK Fiction
Publication Date - July 17th 2014 
(First published April 1st 2014)
Format - Kindle Edition 

The blurb

England, 1932: Grace Hamblin is growing up in a rural idyll. The beekeeper's daughter, she knows her place and her future - that is until her father dies and leaves her alone. Alone, that is, except for one man who she just can't shake from her thoughts...

Massachusetts, 1973: Grace's daughter Trixie Valentine is in love with an unsuitable boy. He's wild and romantic, and in a band that might be going somewhere. But when tragedy strikes and he has to go home to England, he promises to come back to Trixie one day, if only she will wait for him. 

Both mother and daughter are searching for love and happiness, unaware of the secrets that bind them. To find what they are longing for they must confront the secrets of the past, and unravel the lies told long ago...

  Becca's thoughts

On a scale of one to five billion, how romantic was this novel? Five billion, without a doubt. Oh my goodness, book lovers, I finished The Beekeeper's Daughter by Santa Montefiore in the stupidly early hours of this morning, and I do not regret it one single bit, because it was absolutely incredible, and I freaking adored it. 

Firstly, a huge thank you to the author Santa Montefiore and her fabulous publishers Simon and Schuster UK. I requested this wonderful title on Net Galley, and I screamed when I received the email that told me I had been accepted. I was so bloody excited, and trust me when I say that this novel was worth that amount of excitement, and so much more, too.

In the Beekeeper's Daughter, Santa Montefiore introduces the reader to the present day, where Grace is a mother to her unruly teenage daughter Trixie, and married to Freddie, who she has known since she was a young girl. Straight away, there was an obvious hint of wistfulness about Grace and I was just dying to know what it was that Grace was remembering so much. As if reading my mind, the incredible author takes us back in time to Grace's teenage years, where she lives with her father Arthur in the Beekeeper's cottage back in England. I loved this transition and it was achieved effortlessly. The author's beautiful vivid descriptions of the cottage that Grace called home and the surrounding areas were just divine. I felt like I was right there with Grace, tending to the bees and running my fingers along the flower heads. From there on, Santa Montefiore unveils the breathtaking story of Grace, Freddie and Rufus, and the tangled web that takes hold of them all. I knew from the beginning that I was going to fall head over heels in love with this story, and boy was I right. It took hold of me and shook me up, and I loved each and every second that I spent with my head in this novel. 

Santa Montefiore told Grace's story in such a beautiful way, I couldn't help but sit there and stare at my Kindle in awe. It was incredible. Not only does the author bounce between the past and the present, but she also switches between narrative too, resulting in a tantalizing read and a peek from all corners. I must also add that the novel is split into three main parts, too! This constant switching only made Santa's storytelling efforts seem so much more incredible, and I LOVED seeing the differences between Grace's life in England with her father in the Beekeeper's cottage, and then her life in the present day with her daughter Trixie, her husband Freddie and the wistful longing that I was constantly picking up on. 

In The Beekeeper's Daughter, there were a number of major characters that Santa introduced to me. Even though the author switched the narrative between certain characters, I felt like Grace was the main character within this story. When Grace was first introduced to me, it was in the present day, and she entered the Crab Cove Golf Club with her good friend Big, and strolled past a bunch of gossiping, wealthy women. My first impressions of Grace were all made due to this sentence. 

"Grace Valentine looked as out of place in the clubhouse as a shire horse in a field of thoroughbreds."

Compared to the group of women that were gossiping about Grace's daughter just moments before Grace entered, she really stands out against the backdrop of their pink cashmere sweaters and perfectly styled hair-dos. Grace didn't fiddle around and try to make herself appear to be perfect. She had her hair loosely pinned up at the back of her neck, and was dressed in cotton trousers and a loose fitting shirt. I felt like Grace didn't give a damn about what the other women thought of her, or about what they thought of her daughter either. Grace was too wise to take any notice of them, I felt, kinda' like she was above that sort of tittle tattle. After Grace and her husband Freddie got up and left England, they moved to a small island called Tekanasset, where gossip was ripe. Grace's hands were rough from constant gardening and tending to bees, and she was just such a breath of fresh air comparing to the first encounter of the island gossips. Grace seemed to me rather like a wise woman; she had lived such a long life, as the story progressed, it also became apparent that she had lived through some harsh things too. I really admired her, and although the island gossips thought badly of her daughter, Grace didn't seem too bothered. It was as if she wanted her daughter to live and enjoy her youth, and it was so lovely because where Trixie was concerned, Grace was soft and just wanted her daughter to have a full and exciting life.

When it came to Trixie, Grace's daughter, I felt like she also held her mother in the highest respects too. Trixie had no idea of her mother's incredible past, and I found this brilliant because it made me want to sit down with my own mother and really dig deeper into her life before I came into the picture. I found Trixie to be a bit of a tearaway. If she had been told by either of her parents that she was grounded, she would climb out of the window and still go out anyway. When the novel really begins to take off, you find out that Trixie is in love with a young man called Jasper who has came over from England with his band. Trixie is absolutely besotted with him, but when tragedy strikes back home, Jasper has to pack up and return to the stately home that he came from. But before he leaves, Jasper makes a promise to Trixie, and he tells her to wait for him, because he'll come back for her. Trixie is heart-broken when he leaves, but little does she know that Jasper is intrinsically woven into her mother's past, and it's almost as if the cycle is happening once more, and Trixie is following the same path that her mother once trod. As the novel progresses, Trixie waits for Jasper to return, until finally, as her tears cascade down her face, she comes to the realisation that Jasper isn't going to return to her.

As well as Grace and Trixie, there is also Freddie, who Grace has known for almost all of her life. Grace and Freddie were friends as children back in England, and before Grace's father passed away, he told Grace that Freddie was the kind of man that he would like his daughter to marry. Before that point, Grace had never looked upon Freddie in that way, but when Freddie returns to the plot at one point, Grace blinks and suddenly Freddie is a man and no longer a boy. The chemistry between them was most definitely off the chart, and what made it seem even more beautiful was the fact that they had been such dear friends before their relationship got to that point. Freddie and Grace embark on a relationship together, but there has always been one person that Grace has never been able to rid from her mind. One man that she thought would become her's one day, but it never happened. From afar, Grace watches this man, and can't help but let the longing course through her veins. Grace loves Freddie, she truly does, but nothing can stop the longing that she feels whenever she catches a glimpse of Rufus, who resides in the big stately home with his stunning wife. 

There are so many incredible things that happen in this novel, it's hard for me to pinpoint them all in this review. What I can say though, is that this novel is one hell of a journey, and once I had finished, I felt like I could finally stop holding my breath. It was a rush of passion, grief, sadness, hope and most importantly, love. With so many wonderful characters and Grace and her daughter's lives intertwining, I couldn't help but wonder what it would have been like to actually live this amazing story out for myself. There was definitely a ton of heartache that had my tears threatening to escape, but then equally there were moments of passion that had me catching my breath. 

Readers, I would recommend this to you if you love it when authors cause the past and the present to collide, if you love hard-hitting powerful romances that make you bite your lip in frustration, if you love history and beautiful settings and scenery, if you love watching the worlds of separated societies come together because two people just can't help themselves...

I absolutely adored this novel. I truly did. I do hope you decide to give it a read and then you can see for yourselves just how damn beautiful this story really is. 

Becca's Books is rating The Beekeeper's Daughter by Santa Montefiore with FIVE cupcakes. Powerful, moving and absolutely beautiful, you won't want to return to reality. 



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