SWEET AS HONEY – Jennifer Beckstrand
The Honeybee Sisters , Book 1
Present Day Wisconsin
The orphaned Christner girls live with their beloved Aunt Bitsy on their honeybee farm. The community has dubbed the three The Honeybee Sisters . They are, from eldest to youngest, Lily, Poppy, and Rose. They work hard at caring for the bees and the hives and processing the honey. The four may have distinct personalities, but they love one another dearly.
Aunt Bitsy is a real character who lived with the Englisch (English or non-Amish) for twenty years until coming to care for her nieces. She's is considered eccentric by the Amish community in which they live. Lily is a smart and kind girl with low self-esteem, largely because of needing braces on her teeth and glasses beginning in her grade school days. She thought she was stupid and ugly. Poppy (real name Priscilla) is much different. She's feisty and would pop in the nose any boy who teased her. Shy Rose is as sweet and tender as her name, though with nary a thorn.
Since eighth grade, the only boy Lily wasn't teased by is Paul Glick, to whom she's grateful enough that she considers him her best friend. Will they eventually marry? We'll see what happens when the boy who was her worst tormenter returns from two years in Pennsylvania.
Dan Kanagy never realized his teasing names hurt Lily. His favorite name for her was Amtrak because her braces looked like train tracks, he said.
With its portrayal of Amish life and the keeping of bees and all that goes with it, SWEET AS HONEY is fascinating. But it's the relationships, old and new, serious and amusing, that will keep you reading. Look for touches of suspense, as well, and you have a sure winner.
August will see the release of book two, A BEE IN HER BONNET, and watch in September for book three, LIKE A BEE TO HONEY, the continuing tale of The Honeybee Sisters . You'll be glad you did.