Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Beekeeper's Ball by Susan Wiggs

Author: Susan Wiggs
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
Date of publication: June 2014

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 Beekeeper's Ball is the sequel to The Apple Orchard (read my review here).  I thought this book was a great addition "Bella Vista Chronicles" and thoroughly enjoyed the book. Once again, the author has given us a wonderful story about love, friendship and home. 

 The main part of the story is the developing romance between Isabel and Cormac.("Mac"). It was fun to watch them fall in love. I loved Mac and his willingness to pull Isabel out of her comfort zone. Isabel carries a lot of baggage with her. Her back story is heart breaking. I was so glad she got her justice toward the end.  While  Mac pulls her out of her comfort zone, she shows him what family and home is all about.

As in the first book, the story go between the present and WWII.  Isabel's grandfather Magnus is being interviewed by Mac because Magnus wants his story to be written.   We learn how he met his wife and best friends.  I thought their stories were interesting and they added  a lot to the overall book. The other thing I loved about the book was the recipes and information about bees that the author put at the beginning of each chapter.  Normally, I skip over things like that in a book, but I found them really interesting.

You definitely could read this one as a stand alone.  But why not read both, if you haven't already?

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