Cover Image: The Beekeeper's Promise

The Beekeeper's Promise

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Member Reviews

A beautiful story with wonderful descriptions of the French countryside. I enjoyed the dual narrative and was left thoroughly satisfied. I would recommend this book.
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A lovely dual time line novel featuring Abi in the present and Eliane during WWII.  Fans of this genre know that the WWII story is often more compelling and that's the case here as well.  Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.  It's a good read.
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Thoroughly enjoyed this book. great descriptions and enjoyable plot and characters! I've not read this author before but will do so again in the future!
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Another amazing story by Fiona valpy. Every nook I read by her has me engrossed and this one was breathtaking. Can’t wait to read more of her stories
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Interesting story about the French Resistance. Book would have been better if the story line stayed with those characters in that time frame. Abi's life, in 2017-18, didn't appeal to me. It was annoying to jump from Eliane's life to Abi's which didn't need to be a part of this writing.
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I received a free digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

The Beekeepers Promise is a split narrative and starts off focusing on a woman called Abi who is on a yoga retreat in France in 2017. Abi has gone on the retreat with a friend from London as an attempt to heal herself from an 'accident' which has claimed the life of her husband.

As the narrative develops Abi finds herself on a local hillside in a storm and is rescued by a woman called Sara, who takes her back to her local chateau. In conversation with Sara and her husband she discovers they run a wedding venue and are short staffed. As her friend has abandoned her for a man, Abi decides to take on the job of general dogsbody at the chateau for the summer, in exchange for board and lodgings.

Sara shares with Abi the history of the chateau and the history of the family who lived there during the German occupation in World War II. The narrative then is taken over by Elaine and shares her family story as they come to terms with just what occupation means for her, her family and their community.

Yes, in places this book is a little twee, with 'just so' descriptions, the over popular dual narrative and at times frustrating over description, but on balance this is a lovely, and at times harrowing account of some of the horrors that more remote communities faced in wartime.

I won't give the spoilers away, but a great read, with lots of well developed characters and strong plot turns points.
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A novel with two female protagonists, this book also has two timelines.

Abi Howes (present day): An Englishwoman who has survived an abusive marriage and a serious automobile accident in which her husband was mortally wounded. Now Abi travels from London to France to partake in a yoga retreat with her friend, Pru. She feels that the peace and serenity of the French countryside will help her to recover both mentally and physically from the accident. When she strays from the retreat while walking, she meets a local woman, Sara Cortini, who gives her shelter from a summer storm – and eventually a summer’s employment at the Château Bellevue – which is used during the summer months as a wedding venue.

Over the course of the summer, Sara tells Abi the story of the woman who worked at the Château during WWII. Her name was Eliane Martin.

Eliane Martin – 1938-1944: A young woman, Eliane Martin tends the beehives and kitchen gardens of the Château Bellevue. Content and happy with her lot in life, everything changes for Eliane, the Château, and the country when the German army occupies France. They requisition Château Bellevue for purposes of billeting their soldiers. Eliane, and the rest of the meager Château staff are expected to wait on the soldiers. In addition, travel and commerce was greatly hampered by the German occupation. Not to mention, many of the French countrymen were being deported to the labour camps if they were Jewish.

The Château Bellevue was situated on the border between the occupied zone and the free zone of France. Located on a hilltop, it was the ideal spot to transmit and monitor radio messages to aid the French Resistance fighters – but with German soldiers billeted there, sending such messages was life threatening…

“They were living with the enemy; it was time to do what she could to resist.”

As the war wages on, year after year, Eliane, her family and friends find it more and more of a struggle to survive. Eliane, at the behest of her employer, the elderly Comte de Bellevue, plays her own part in the resistance movement.


Told in dual timelines, this book was a joy to read. The historical segments of the novel were my favourite and educated me on the role of the French Resistance during the German occupation of France in World War II. Well written and well researched, the novel was a fine combination of historical fiction and women’s fiction. Although there was a love story element, this was in no way the focus of the book.

The setting of the French countryside was described eloquently, both during times of peace and times of war. The characters were ones that captured your heart.

The story illuminates the resilience of the human spirit during times of great adversity. It shows how, when people band together, they possess a fearsome strength.

This is the first time I’ve read Fiona Valpy’s work, but I expect that her name is one I’ll look for in the future. Highly recommended to all who are fans of the genre with the caveat that you just might suffer a book hangover after reading…

I received a complimentary digital copy of “The Beekeeper’s Promise” from Lake Union Publishing/AmazonUK via NetGalley for purposes of this review.
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What an absolute joy this book was 

Such a lovely story full of heartache and triumphs 

I will definitely be looking out for more of Fiona’s books 

I can’t recommend it enough for a pure bit of escapism
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I live the story of women’s from different generations and the relationship they have., the stories they tell and the strength in both women. I especially liked the WWII stories told from a woman’s perspective- it made it seem real and personal.The writing was beautiful and descriptive and the story touching.
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I wanted to like this book. I even read one reviewer who said it was even better than Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale, so surely I would love it..... But in the end it wasn’t for me. Honestly, it bored me. And that takes a lot. And I didn’t understand why Abi’s story was even included. It never felt relevant enough for me. I think it would serve the book better to only be Eliane’s tale. Maybe that would have Impacted me more. Alas, it is obviously for some readers, just not this one.
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A compelling story about wartime France and the difficulties faced by ordinary people.
This is combined with a modern-day tale of a vulnerable girl who’d lost her sense of self and a couple who host weddings in a local chateau.

The stories are intertwined well, with the references to the wartime story handled seamlessly so they add depth and context to the modern tale. I loved the insights into the resistance and loved the characters.

This is a lovely book, really enjoyable - it gave me a book hangover afterwards! 

4.5* Not quite a 5* but certainly more than a 4* - highly recommended!
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wonderful read that will have you gripped from the beginning. A must read for those who have the slightest interest in the war.
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This book is a gorgeous tale entwining the lives of Abi and Elaine through a house in France. A beautiful tale of love, friendship, looking forward and healing. 
It's beautiful and I can't wait for another!
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The beautiful story of a young woman who takes a job in an old chateau in France in order to escape the difficult realities of her live. It is told adjacent to the story of another young woman in WWII and how she copes after the man she loves must fight in the war. Well rounded and beautifully written characters, and it really transports you into France. Simply divine, especially for fans of historical fiction and Susanna Kearsley!
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#TheBeekeeper'sPromise #NetGalley

Beautiful summer novel. A delightful time travel to rural France. A mix of emotions and colorful descriptions.
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A surprisingly well done and enjoyable story that tells the story of two young women. Abi and Eliane are interesting characters and were enjoyable to read. I definitely think this was quite a well done story overall.
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From the first page of this book I was hooked.  Although there are a zillion books about World War II today, I thought this was rose above the crowd.   There where wonderful characters, who felt like they could be my friends, interesting and engaging situations and setting that I would love to visit.  I’m glad I had a chandler to read this adapvanced readers galley.  If you haven’t read it yet, I’m jealous of you.  I know what’s ahead of you as you read this book. You will love it.
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First off I’d like to thank Netgalley, the author and of course the publisher, for allowing me to read this book in exchange for my honest review. 

This is the first book of Fiona Valpy in which I have read, and I’m so very grateful I was allowed to read it. One of the top 10 books of 2018 thus far. I enjoyed the way the author would do the past and then the present without getting the reader lost or couldn’t remember which character they were read. I felt she connected the characters and made them like they were telling me their story face to face, to introduce me into their lives. I found myself being drawn into their lives as well. The writing was smooth, to where it kept me intrigue as to not what to put it down. You could feel the emotions of the characters from abuse to love, suspense, history, as this is set in WWII, and then you could feel the healing process in which they needed.

In 1938, one of the main character’s Eilane is a beekeeper at Château Bellevue, in rural France. She meets, falls in love, and marries Mathieu Dubosq. When the German’s occupy France, their lives takes a turn for the worse, something neither one of them thought would ever happen. Eilane makes a decision to join the resistance, along with fellow French men and women, family, friends. Here Eilane learns how strong she actually is during these dark times for her country. She knows the danger, and what could happen to her if she gets caught.
Abi is a broken woman, she believes she isn’t good enough to have someone lover her. When she is offered a job at the Chateau Bellevue, which is now known as  the Estate of Count Comte, she takes the job in hopes of healing herself, both mental and physically. Abi learns some of the history of the old  Chateau Bellevue, and one part of history in which she finds intriguing is Eilane’s.
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The Beekeeper’s Daughter takes us through two young women’s lives. Abi Howes is looking for the and space to get over a bad breakup, while Elaine Martin joins the Resisitance after her love is taking off to war.

The telling of this story is done in two separate timelines and it worked so well, laying out what was going one around these two very different, in very different times, the present and the past. World Was II was a frightening time for those fighting and those left behind.

These two young women might have come from two different eras of time, but they both so strong, independent and likable and easy to relate to. I think my favorite though was Elaine what a brave young woman. I am also fascinated by the era of time, so Elaine was so intriguing to me. While I enjoyed Abi and her love for the past.

Valpy did such a wonderful job with the imagery of the past, and the present, so getting swept in it all was quite easy and before I knew I was at the last page, wanting more. The Beekeeper’s Daughter was a beautifu, and such strength and devotion, making this one awe inspiring read. Fans of historical fiction will enjoy this.
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4 delightful stars to The Beekeeper's Promise. What a charming story that effortlessly  fuses WW2 , bees and domestic violence - such an unlikely combination of themes. Somehow the author manages to make it work and draws parallels between the three subjects by infusing themes of perseverance and resiliency. 

The plot alternates between two time periods and two perspectives. Eliane is a young French woman living in rural France in the 1940's when the Germans occupy her town. Abi is an English woman attending a yoga retreat in modern day France when she meets Sara - the current owner of a Chateau with a colourful history. As Abi immerses herself into life with Sara at the Chateau, the two timelines converge and both Abi and Eliane learn about the strengths they each possess. 

I enjoyed the backdrop of the war story. The author brought this historical piece to life and included many fascinating details about what the French civilians had to endure. The national pride, the anger towards the Germans and their own government as well as the imminent dangers that existed day to day of being sent to a work camp, tortured or killed. The focus on the resistance was also interesting in that it touched upon even the smallest parts that folks played to set the cogs in motion. 

Abi's story was also intriguing and unexpected in many ways. The author used effective yet limited descriptions to convey her plight which worked well. However my favourite bits were about the honey bees. Although the bees were not a main focus of the story, they were a constant and the reader was brought into the parallels between Eliane's bees and her own experiences. 

The story lost a star for me because I felt the romance aspect could have been better developed. And although I thought both the writing and character development were solid, I felt like Eliane's character lacked flaws. For me, this made the character less relatable and harder to build a strong emotional attachment. 

Overall this story was beautiful, charming and fascinating. It's a plot driven narrative that touches on dark subject matters in a lighter way. I enjoyed and recommend to others. Thank you to Lake Union Publishing and Netgalley for an ARC. The Beekeeper's Promise is available for purchase.
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