Lily Owens' mother died when she was four and she has been raised by a violent father and their hired help; mostly Rosaleen, a strong-willed black woman who is determined not to let the racists in their town stop her from doing what she has a right to. This attitude leads her to fight back against the town's 3 deepest racists, and she ends up badly beaten and in jail. Lily decides she's had enough, springs Rosaleen, and they set off to a town whose name is written on one of the few belongings Lily has of her mother's. They are taken in by three beekeeping sisters and Lily learns not just about beekeeping, but about what it means to have a family.
I devoured this book in a couple hours. Once I started I just couldn't put it down, the characters had such a hold on me. They seemed so real and fleshed-out, like people who actually might exist. The writing was graceful and unobtrusive, a smooth flow of words that conveyed information clearly without being wordy.
Tompkins County Public Library