"HOUR OF THE BEES," by Lindsay Eagar, Candlewick Press, $16.99, 362 pages (f) (ages 10 and up)
A good book with beautiful writing can be hard to find. A book with multifaceted characters, a delightful plot and a story that stays in readers’ minds long after it’s over is a rarity. Finding a middle grade reader that has all those qualities and also captivates adults can be a near impossibility. But “Hour of the Bees” by Lindsay Eagar is all that and much more.
Carolina, or Carol, as she insists on being called, thinks her family staying months on a deserted ranch in New Mexico is the worst possible way to spend summer vacation. Serge, the grandpa she’s never met, is suffering from dementia, and Carol’s dad has decided to put him in a rest home. But first, the family needs to complete a long list of repairs on the ranch and talk Serge into leaving the only home he’s ever known.
After getting to know her grandpa, Carol realizes that texting about the latest drama with her friends isn’t nearly as interesting as listening to Serge weave stories about a magical tree. As the summer lengthens, she comes to develop a love for the parched land her father ran away from long ago, and she discovers that Serge is more than just a cranky old man suffering from memory loss. As the bond between the two deepens, Carol changes and matures in ways she never imagined.
“Hour of the Bees” is full of magic and poignancy as a coming-of-age novel. This book can delight middle grade readers on up through adults and is comparable to many timeless award-winning books. Enough cannot be said about the spell “Hour of the Bees” weaves around its readers.
“Hour of the Bees” has clean language, no violence and little romance. There is sadness associated with a beloved grandparent succumbing to the mind-altering effects of dementia, but this book is one parents can feel comfortable giving their children before devouring the pages themselves.
Eagar graduated from Utah Valley University and lives in Utah with her daughter. “Hour of the Bees” is her first published book and hopefully not her last.
If you go ...
What: Lindsay Eagar book signing
When: Tuesday, March 8, 6:30 p.m.
Where: The Gardens at Dry Creek, 877 N. 100 East, Lehi
Elizabeth Reid has bachelor's degrees in economics and history. She has worked in retail, medical billing, catering, education and business fields. Her favorite occupation is that of wife and mother. She blogs at agoodreid.blogspot.com.