The Beekeeper's Ball by Susan Wiggs
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Isabel Johansen is about to open a cooking school on her family's sprawling hacienda in Sonoma Valley, California, when author Cormac (Mac) O'Neill roars into her life. Her sister and grandfather decided to hire Mac to write a book about her grandfather's life, particularly his role in the Danish Resistance as a teenager during WWII. Writing a biography means getting to know the family, and in spite of--or perhaps in reaction to--their calamitous introduction which resulted in an emergency trip to the doctor, rooted-in-place Isabel fascinates Mac, the perennial wanderer. Isabel is also drawn to Mac, but her disastrous past relationship and the secret she's kept since then have destroyed her trust in herself and her judgment, immobilizing her heart. Authors poke at secrets, however, and this one breaks free when Isabel's ex comes to town and threatens her fledgling business.
I love how Susan Wiggs slowly unfolds the story by alternating between present-day and the 1940s. Book two in the series fills in some of the details shared in book one and leaves plenty of room for book three, which I am eagerly awaiting. There are really two stories at play here: Isabel's personal growth and budding romance, and Magnus's survival as an orphaned teen determined to thwart the Nazis every way he can. Both absorbed my complete attention. This series should definitely be read in order, beginning with
The Apple Orchard
For readers' advisors: character doorway is primary, story secondary. A little bit of swearing, allusions to sex but no descriptions.
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