*Warning this article may contain spoilers**
Author Lindsay Eager’s debut novel, Hour of the Bees, mixes Latin culture with magic realism, creating a heart-felt reminder of taking pride in our roots. The story’s protagonist Carolina, or ‘Carol’ as she preferred to be called, is forced to spend the summer helping her parents move her ill grandfather off his dying ranch in New Mexico, and into a care home. Though initially disillusioned by the effects of her grandfather Sergio’s dementia, and the strange stories he tells, she soon becomes enchanted by his tale of a hidden town with a mystical healing tree and water bearing bees. This tale, which the rest of her family dismiss as madness, causes Carolina to rethink all she knew about her family roots. As the family’s time on the ranch starts coming to a close, Carolina becomes desperate to hang onto the ranch, and all that it once meant to her family.
While the pacing is consistently slow, this delightful book easily draws readers in with its well-rounded characters, and its magic elements that blur the line between fact and fiction. The relationship between the protagonist and her family is one that young readers can easily relate to; and the growing relationship between the protagonist and her grandfather is not only charming, but also bittersweet for those who have been impacted by dementia. By the novel’s close, readers of all ages will be left feeling delighted, and proud of their roots.
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