Thursday, March 5, 2015

The Beekeeper's Son - The Amish of Bee County 1 - by Kelly Irvin

About the book:

A strange, mystical place allows Deborah and Phineas to see themselves and others with new eyes.
When Deborah Lantz arrives in Bee County, Texas, she expects to find a great oasis of citrus groves and olive trees. Instead, she finds a tiny Amish district struggling to make ends meet on a barren, drought-stricken land.
Deborah longs to go home to the lush, green countryside of Tennessee, but she wants her mother, a widow with six children, to be happy again. Even if that means accepting Stephen as her future stepfather. She can’t believe God created such an ugly place filled with strange animals, twisted, stunted trees, and not a drop of rain for months.
Then she meets the beekeeper’s son. Phineas King’s face is disfigured by scars from an accident that killed his mother and destroyed his trust in God. Through their encounters both begin to realize the beauty in all of God’s creation. Deborah walks through the strange land of figs, Mexican squash, and wild cucumbers to see Phineas, who finds solace in his work keeping the bee hives and harvesting honey for his father. Both are rarely alone, but always lonely. Deborah begins to see Bee County through Phineas’s eyes and Phineas learns to see himself through hers.

My review:

This was a very enjoyable well-written story!  There were actually two romances or triangles in the story, one with Deborah's mother and her indecision about Stephen while she feels drawn to another man and Deborah's hope that she can go back home to the man she's been seeing, but she's also intrigued by Phineas.  There were a lot of cute moments in both.  We get the mother's perspective, along with Deborah's and Phineas's and I love knowing what each is thinking.  My heart broke for Phineas and the guilt and shame he lived with because of the accident that took his mother's life, but also his hurt for how others saw him and sometimes treated him.  He figures he's safer just staying away.  I felt for Deborah, too, having to move to this dry and ugly place when her home was so beautiful.  I admired that she tried to look on the bright side and make the best of things.  I found her relationship with Phineas somewhat amusing because he got on her nerves so easily.  I was frustrated with Stephen and how he treated her mother and her siblings.  I have a hard time understanding being submissive to someone who doesn't have the right to treat people that way and isn't putting their well-being first.

The scenery was described so well I felt like I was there in the humidity and dirt, which was kind of a nice change of pace from the reality of snow!  The poor community in Texas was also very different from the other Amish stories I've read.  The other communities seem wealthy and pampered by comparison.  The people here even go to Mexico for doctors and dentists because it's so much cheaper and they're desperately trying to keep costs down!  Their community is also much smaller than others.  I really liked the focus on inward beauty and also how beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  I also liked the reminder that God has a plan.  I highly recommend this book if you Amish or romance stories.

I received this book free from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review.

About the Author

Kelly Irvin is the author of the Bliss Creek Amish series and the New Hope Amish series. She has also penned two romantic suspense novels, A Deadly Wilderness and No Child of Mine. The Kansas native is a graduate of the University of Kansas School of Journalism. She has been writing nonfiction professionally for thirty years, including ten years as a newspaper reporter, mostly in Texas-Mexico border towns. She has worked in public relations for the City of San Antonio for twenty years. Kelly has been married to photographer Tim Irvin for twenty-five years. They have two young adult children, two cats, and a tank full of fish. In her spare time, she likes to write short stories and read books by her favorite authors.

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