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“In the late summer, hives full of ripening honey emitted a particular scent, like the whiff of sweetness Augusta used to catch passing by the candy-apple kiosk at the fall fair.”
Gail Anderson-Dargatz’s beautiful new novel is saturated with bee lore, rich domestic detail, wondrous imagery culled from rural kitchens and gardens, and shining insights into family and friendship. And at its heart are the life, death, and resurrection of an extraordinary marriage.
A Recipe for Bees introduces a remarkable and engaging heroine whose quest for love and independence spans a lifetime. Augusta Olsen has attitude, a wicked funny bone, a generous and wayward heart, and the gift of second sight.
When her mother dies, Augusta is bereft and without direction until she marries her first suitor, Karl, the shy son of…[more]
When fifteen-year-old Beth Week’s family is attacked by a grizzly, her father becomes increasingly violent, making him a danger to his neighbors, his family, and especially Beth. Meanwhile, several young children from the nearby Indian reservation have gone missing, and Beth fears that something is pursuing her in the bush. But friendship with an Indian girl connects her to a mythology that enriches her landscape; and an unexpected protector shores up her world.
Set on an isolated Canadian farm in the midst of World War II, The Cure for Death by Lightning evokes a life at once harshly demanding and rich in sensory pleasures: the deafening chatter of starlings, the sight of thousands of painted turtles crossing a road, the smell of baking that fills the Weeks’s kitchen. The novel is sprinkled throughout with recipes and remedies from the scrapbook Beth’s mother keeps, a boon to Beth as she learns to face down her demons—and one of many elements that give The Cure for Death by Lightning its enchanting vitality.