The Beekeeper's Ball: Bella Vista Chronicles Book 2
About the Book:
#1 New York Times bestselling author Susan Wiggs returns to sun-drenched Bella Vista, where the land's bounty yields a rich harvest…and family secrets that have long been buried.
Isabel Johansen, a celebrated chef who grew up in the sleepy Sonoma town of Archangel, is transforming her childhood home into a destination cooking school—a unique place for other dreamers to come and learn the culinary arts. Bella Vista's rambling mission-style hacienda, with its working apple orchards, bountiful gardens and beehives, is the idyllic venue for Isabel's project…and the perfect place for her to forget the past.
But Isabel's carefully ordered plans begin to go awry when swaggering, war-torn journalist Cormac O'Neill arrives to dig up old history. He's always been better at exposing the lives of others than showing his own closely guarded heart, but the pleasures of small-town life and the searing sensuality of Isabel's kitchen coax him into revealing a few truths of his own.
The dreamy sweetness of summer is the perfect time of year for a grand family wedding and the enchanting Beekeeper's Ball, bringing emotions to a head in a story where the past and present collide to create an unexpected new future.
From "one of the best observers of stories of the heart" (Salem Statesman-Journal), The Beekeeper's Ball is an exquisite and richly imagined novel of the secrets that keep us from finding our way, the ties binding us to family and home, and the indelible imprint love can make on the human heart.
I loved this one. Isabel is about to open a cooking school on the family estate. At the same time, her half sister, the heroine of The Apple Orchard is planning her wedding. Thrown into the mix to keep things interesting are Cormac O'Neill, who is there to write a biography of her grandfather, who was a Danish resistance fighter during WWII and Jamie, a pregnant young woman who hires on as the beekeeper and you have the makings of a story that is more than the standard romance. In The Apple Orchard, Isabel and Tess discover each other and they learn that their father (who neither woman knew) had been the birth son of Annelise and their grandfather, rather than the son of his mother. In this story they learn why. We hear Isabel's grandfather tell the story of the war years and their aftermath. We also learn that Isabel has been through battles of her own, and cheer as she sheds the shields she carries because of them.
If it is important to you, Isabel is in bed with a man before marriage but the scene is not explicit.
I complained about the unrealistic end to The Apple Tree. This one seemed much more realistic, but it did have one unlikely part, that is probably a cliffhanger for the next book. We also never hear for sure what happened to Jamie's baby, so that will probably be covered in the next book too. Still, I'm giving this one an A- and would like to thank the publisher for making a review copy available via NetGalley.