The story tells the tale of Nina’s journey from being broken and lifeless to acceptance and wholeness.
The story is full of symbolism (which I enjoyed) and I loved the way the author uses onomatopoeia.
There are references to the Maltese folklore, which played a large part in Nina’s childhood and helps the reader to understand her character – and how confusing that can be when you are living in a different cultural city.
Once back in her homeland of Valetta in Malta, ghosts guide Nina and impart wisdom so that she is able to heal her emotions herself. One particular ghost, Tilly, who has to stay in Nina’s family home, also heals as she is helping Nina. Tilly’s character comes across really well and I thought she was adorable.
If you are staunchly religious you may be upset by Jesus’ portrayal ………………. Personally, I found him to be written about as a beer swilling, chocolate loving, watcher of reality TV icon rather endearing. He loses none of his compassion despite having his own office. I loved this ‘grounded’ view of Jesus. I also loved the idea that John Lennon hangs out in TGI Friday’s in competition with Jesus!
We don’t get to meet Nina’s husband Matt but we do get to read letters that she writes to him. In the letters she describes the dreams in where Matt plays a central role (but doesn’t post). In the beginning the dreams always feature an old woman who is speaking to her but she doesn’t understand the language – and the old women represent Matt. Just one example of the symbolism found in Like Bees to Honey.
All through the book, Nina is dealing with the guilt she feels about her son Christopher. There is a timely reunion with her father and sister which goes some way to helping her come to terms with what life has thrown at her.
Like Bees to Honey is unique in the way it is written. It blends humour with seriousness and Caroline Smailes writing style is original.
I downloaded the Kindle version and Caroline Smailes told me the Maltese characters hadn’t translated well for the Kindle – but I found it didn’t detract from the flow of reading.