The Beekeeper at Elderflower Grove by Jaimie Admans: a journey full of high emotions, hidden passions and surprise discoveries – book review –
A story by any other name would smell as sweet…
And there is a real buzz to this warm, funny and enchanting rom-com which has the ecological plight of bees at its beating heart and reminds us all that our own love affair with these endangered insects could be cut short if their habitats continue to be destroyed.
Full of the sounds, scents and sun-soaked vibes of summertime, The Beekeeper at Elderflower Grove is set amidst the bucolic charms of a rural Hampshire and gives an entertaining nod to the much-loved novels of Jane Austen, one of the county’s most famous writers.
Following the disastrous break-up of a relationship – and a joint candle-making business – and having moved into her mum’s spare room in the Hampshire village of Little Kettling, Kayleigh Harwood is desperate for a fresh start.
When she sees an opening for a new beekeeper at Elderflower Grove, a place she has known since childhood and which has a fire-damaged manor house at its heart, she jumps at the chance… despite not knowing a thing about bees. Kayleigh feels guilty that she lied at the interview about having beekeeping experience but she can learn… can’t she?
The abandoned old manor house, which has sixty beehives on its roof, holds a mystery of its own… the previous owner, beekeeper Josie Garringham, vanished seven years ago after the fire and locals have been inventing stories, particularly ghost stories, about the house and its overgrown gardens ever since.
Unable to resist the urge to look around, Kayleigh is shocked to find drop-dead-gorgeous gardener Carey Paxton secretly living inside. Carey, who believes he has a family connection to the old house, explains that the manor and surrounding land is at risk of being demolished to make way for a theme park which will endanger the bees, and he has been staying there to protect it despite his terror of bees.
Convinced the secret of the house holds the key to saving Elderflower Grove’s very special bees, Kayleigh is prepared to do everything she can to help. But is she ready to find her own happy-ever-after too?
Readers will revel in the sheer enchantment of this bee-autiful, bee-filled odyssey which features some fascinating real-life bee facts at the start of every chapter, and has the joys of nature and the tingle of romance threaded through every page.
Admans’ imaginative and magical conjuring of the mysterious manor house, the secrets that lie within its walls, and her fun and evocative references to the characters and places in Austen’s novels make this a journey full of high emotions, hidden passions and surprise discoveries.
Be sure to make a bee-line for this garden of delights!
(HQ, paperback, £8.99)