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Extended Audio Sample The Secret Life of Bees, by Sue Monk Kidd Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.00000696046802 out of 53.00000696046802 out of 53.00000696046802 out of 53.00000696046802 out of 53.00000696046802 out of 5 3.00 (574,674 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Sue Monk Kidd Narrator: Jenna Lamia Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Living on a peach farm in South Carolina with her harsh, unyielding father, Lily Owens has shaped her entire life around one devastating, blurred memory—the afternoon her mother was killed, when Lily was four. Since then, her only real companion has been the fierce-hearted, and sometimes just fierce, black woman Rosaleen, who acts as her “stand-in mother.”

When Rosaleen insults three of the deepest racists in town, Lily knows it’s time to spring them both free. They take off in the only direction Lily can think of, toward a town called Tiburon, South Carolina—a name she found on the back of a picture amid the few possessions left by her mother.

There they are taken in by an eccentric trio of black beekeeping sisters named May, June, and August. Lily thinks of them as the calendar sisters and enters their mesmerizing secret world of bees, honey, and the Black Madonna who presides over this household of strong, wise women. Maternal loss and betrayal, guilt and forgiveness entwine in a story that leads Lily to the single thing her heart longs for most.

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Quotes & Awards

  • Sue Monk Kidd is an extraordinary storyteller. Beautifully written."—Ursula Hegi

    "A wonderful novel about mothers and daughters and the transcendent power of love."—Connie May fowler

    "With imagination as lush and colorful as the American South, a clutch of deliciously eccentric characters and vivid prose, Sue Monk Kidd creates a rich, maternal haven in a harsh world." —Christina Schwarz

  • “Sue Monk Kidd’s eccentric, inventive, and ultimately forgiving novel is reminiscent of the work of Reynolds Price in its ability to create a truly original Southern voice.”

    Anita Shreve, #1 New York Times bestselling author

  • “This is the story of a young girl’s journey toward healing, and of finding, at its end, not only wholeness but the intrinsic sacredness of living in the world. I think it is simply wonderful.”

    Anne Rivers Siddons, New York Times bestselling author

  • “With imagination as lush and colorful as the American South, a clutch of deliciously eccentric characters, and vivid prose, Sue Monk Kidd creates a rich, maternal haven in a harsh world.”

    Christina Schwarz, #1 New York Times bestselling author

  • “What a splendid novel! It’s wonderfully thoughtful and sensitive and compulsively readable.”

    Susan Isaacs, New York Times bestselling author

  • “I am amazed that this moving, original, and accomplished book is a first novel. It is wonderfully written, powerful, poignant, and humorous, and takes a line which is—refreshingly—strongly female without being cliche-feminist. It is also deliciously eccentric, which lifts it out of the usual category of a rite-of-passage novel into the realms of real distinction. DO read it.”

    Joanna Trollope, #1 internationally bestselling author

  • The Secret Life of Bees is a novel of love and almost unbelievable courage, the quest of one young girl in search of her mother and so much more. Sue Monk Kidd takes on huge things, and by writing about what is mysterious, even difficult, in life, illuminates what is beautiful. She proves that a family can be found where you least expect it—maybe not under your own roof but in that magical place where you find love. The Secret Life of Bees is a gift, filled with hope.”

    Luanne Rice, New York Times bestselling author

  • “Sue Monk Kidd has written a wonderful novel about mothers and daughters and the transcendent power of love, all the while masterfully illuminating the feminine face of God.”

    Connie May Fowler, American novelist, essayist, memoirist, screenwriter, and poet

  • “Honey-sweet but never cloying, this debut by nonfiction author Kidd features a hive’s worth of appealing female characters, an offbeat plot, and a lovely style.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • The Secret Life of Bees is a carefully crafted novel with an inspired depiction of character. The legend of the Black Madonna and the brave, kind, peculiar women who perpetuate Lily’s story dominate the second half of the book, placing Kidd’s debut novel squarely in the honored tradition of the Southern Gothic.”

    Amazon.com, editorial review

  • “An uplifting story.”

    Booklist

  • “There is a wonderful sense of the strength of female friendship and love throughout the story.”

    School Library Journal

  • “[A] sweeping debut novel…The stunning metaphors and realistic characters are so poignant that they will bring tears to your eyes.”

    Library Journal

  • “A wonderfully written debut that rather scants its subject of loss and discovery—a young girl searching for the truth about her dead mother—in favor of a feminist fable celebrating the company of women and the ties between that mothers and daughters. The prose is lapidary, the characters diverse, and the story unusual.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “Writing with the intimate voice of the memoirist and with the Southerner’s abiding sense of place, Sue Monk Kidd has written a forgiving story for the motherless child in all of us.”

    Shelby Hearon, award-winning author

  • “Sue Monk Kidd is an extraordinary storyteller. In The Secret Life of Bees, she explores a young girl’s search for the truth about her mother; her courage to tear down racial barriers; and her joy as she claims her place within a community of women. Beautifully written.”

    Ursula Hegi, author of The Vision of Emma Blau

  • A New York Times Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Shon Rand | 2/12/2014

    " It's a little girly for me. But there is some fine writing in it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Conny Lang | 2/10/2014

    " loved it, loved it, loved it "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Emily Callaway | 2/8/2014

    " Another used bookstore find for $1 (someone there was an Oprah book club fan). I just found out almost all my cheapie finds were from her book club reads. It was cute and a pretty good book :) "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Robandbecky Thomas-sherrid | 1/25/2014

    " I truly loved this book. If you enjoy it, do yourself a favor and get the book Saving Cee Cee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman. You will surely enjoy this too! I will be reading this book with my 10 year old daughter, I think she will enjoy it and get a lot out of it. "

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