Cover Image: The Beekeeper's Promise

The Beekeeper's Promise

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

What a wonderful story!!! Set in both WWII and the 21st century, I loved it. I have never read this author before, but I will most definitely read her again! Many thanks to NetGalley for providing this book in exchange for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

“In the midst of winter, I found that there was within me an invincible summer.”

Thank you NetGalley, Fiona Valpy, and Amazon Publishing UK/Lake Union Publishing for allowing me to read this book in exchange for an honest review!

The Beekeeper’s Promise is about two different women from two different lifetimes whose paths cross because they each spent time at Château Bellevue in France at some point in their lives. Abi, whose story is told from the present which is 2017, finds herself in France on a yoga retreat to escape a dark past in hopes of turning over a new leaf. Eliane’s story is told from the past, beginning in 1938. While Abi is in France, she ends up staying at the Château Bellevue and learns of Eliane’s story who stayed in the same room as her all those years ago. You see.. Eliane was the beekeeper at Château Bellevue in 1938 spending her days tending to the bees, collecting honey and spending time with her love, Mathieu, until WW2 and German occupation erupted chaos into her life and those around her. Eliane quickly learns that she cannot just sit back and do nothing, so she joins the Resistance to fight for France’s freedom. But Eliane will learn that liberty does not come without loss.

The Beekeeper’s Promise will stick(y) to your memory, make your heart buzz and leave you with sweet, golden memories.. check it out!

Was this review helpful?

Two eras, two stories, one great read! I am not normally someone who would read this type of book, but, had heard about it and thought would give it a go. I was not disappointed, great story lines, easy to follow, and a heart wrenching story. Highly recommend reading this little gem.

Was this review helpful?

What a spellbinding story of occupied France during the Second World War. A story of love, hardship and survival. The story set in the war was intermingled with chapters telling the story of Abi which was set in the present time. Abi also had to overcome huge life events like Elaine and her story was just as endearing. As a result of reading this book I have already purchased another by Fiona Valpy and I look forward to reading it.

Was this review helpful?

This was the first novel I’ve read by this author and it won’t be my last. I completely lost track of time while reading it, that’s how engrossing it is. Fiona Valpy’s wrting style is so perfectly descriptive, I truly felt as if I were in the rural French countryside.

There are parallel stories told here, with each of the main characters alternating chapters. Present day Abi struggles with rebuilding her life after several traumatic and tragic events, while Eliane has to deal with the onset of WWII. While these women are very different, they are also very much alike. It was interesting to see these characters evolve throughout the course of the book.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the book copy.

Was this review helpful?

Love, Abuse, Danger, Suspense, History, German occupation, fear, and healing.... Those are the words that I would use to just lightly describe The Beekeeper's Promise by author Fiona Valpy.

At first, I thought this book would be hard to follow because it switched frequently between the past and present with different characters and different stories. It was not hard to keep up and the book usually moved fast. There were some slow parts that were used to show that Abi, our modern character was taking time to heal while working and helping others. As Abi reflects on her abusive marriage...Eliane's story in the past is told chapter by chapter. The historical significance of the story and portrayal of the fear and dire circumstances were accurate and well presented.

What I loved: The history and the setting were by far the best parts of these stories. Most of the characters were well developed especially Abi and Eliane. The descriptions of the bees still fascinate me as they are in depth and well researched...inspired by a love of nature that is evident throughout the book. It felt as if the author wrapped a spell of scents and herbs around the reader as we soak in the words and themes of the stories of these two lovely ladies.

What could have been better: The bonds of romantic love between Eliane and one of her suitors. I felt that there was just a light affection and did not see a great love to contrast with the abusive and destructive relationship between Abi and Zach.

Thanks to Amazon Publishing UK and Lake Union Publishing through NetGallery for an advance copy of this book to review. My opinions, as always, are my own!

Was this review helpful?

As an avid fan of historical novels, especially set during WW2, I wondered before I started reading how The Beekeeper's Promise would compare to other books set in this time frame. It simply blew me away! I loved the two intertwined storylines - one taking place during World War 2 and one in 2017. At first I was more interested in Abi's story, but I quickly became caught up in Eliane's tale. It was like I was there, living in France at that time, The Beekeeper's Promise would make an excellent literature component for a high school world history class. There is so much in it that could spark classroom discussions. I also think it would be a good book discussion selection. Well done, Ms. Valpy!

Was this review helpful?

A perfect read for a sunny bank holiday weekend. I couldn't put this book down and was sad to turn the final page.

Was this review helpful?

This book is set in a France and follows two timelines. The characters are very well written and I loved their stories . I loved the author’s writing style and felt Abi and Elaine come to life. Both women lived in the French chateau years apart, they both had struggles and needed to find themselves Thank you to the publisher and to NetGalley for allowing me to read this book. I would like to read more by this author.

Was this review helpful?

A really interesting read and a well written novel. The author intertwines the tales of two women who have suffered but have found the strength to get through and recover. In the modern day, Abi is recovering from the death of her abusive husband. She finds healing and recovery in France as she learns the story of brave Eliane and her family and their suffering in WW2. Eliane's story gradually unfolds against the modern backdrop and inspires Abi to find her own strength.

The author writes sensitively about the occupation of France and how difficult lives became under the Germans, really bringing out how this happened to ordinary people and how it affected them.

Definitely recommended! Thanks to TBC and the author for a review copy.

Was this review helpful?

A heart-wrenching story to warm your heart. Told in the alternate voices of Eliane who lived through the horrors of WWII in occupied France, and Abi who escaped from an abusive marriage to come to France seventy-seven years later for a Yoga weekend and found so much more.

I read this EARC courtesy of NetGalley and Lake Union pub date 05/16/18

Was this review helpful?

Beautifully written, captivating book that moves between World War Two France, struggling against Nazi occupation, and the modern day life of a woman struggling with various problems. The beauty of the book is the way the two time periods are woven together and linked deeply together. The novel gives a valuable insight into an interesting, and difficult, time period, whilst also addressing some key issues that are prevalent in the modern day. The descriptions of setting and character are vivid and honestly made me want to jump into the French countryside where it is set!
I highly recommend this book - truly enjoyable and mesmerizing.

Was this review helpful?

A lovely story which the author was compelled to write after readers asked her about the past history of the fictional castle! I love it when this happens and when the author explores something that has already captured the readers imagination.

The two timelines here are nicely done and once again the setting,the way Fiona writes and evokes the setting via all the senses is lovely to read. Eliane of the past story influences Abi and her story in the present. A lovely touch with the castle as a major player in both parts of the timeline.

It’s like putting a black and white photo over a present day building and imagining the whispers of the past. The story of the bees, and everything to do with them and the honey was a lovely touch - the buzz of history come to life!

Was this review helpful?

Abi hopes being in France will heal her. She's there for a short stay, but when she gets the offer to work at Château Bellevue, she immediately accepts. She loves the beautiful place filled with history and has enough free time on her hands to spend a few months there. Abi has been through a lot and it's time for her to get back on her feet. Will being at the château make a difference? While she's staying there, Abi learns about what happened at the castle during WWII. She's fascinated by the story and hearing about the bravery of others might make Abi fierce enough to chase her own dreams as well.

It's 1938 and life is wonderful at Château Bellevue. Eliane loves her bees. She's a skilled beekeeper and gardener and working at the thriving Château Bellevue makes her happy. She's in love with wine maker Mathieu and knows he wants to marry her. Eliane's future is looking promising, but then the war breaks out and Eliane and her loved ones are in danger. The Germans have occupied the area and have chosen the castle as their new residence. Eliane joins the Resistance, but this comes at a price. Will she and Mathieu, now being separated from each other by the Germans, ever find their way back to each other again?

The Beekeeper's Promise is a beautiful moving story. I was immediately intrigued by the two brave main characters who have Château Bellevue in common. Fiona Valpy alternates between Abi and Eliane and I equally loved their stories. Abi is in France to get over a terrible trauma. The castle is a loving place and being there slowly makes her feel better. She's fascinated by Eliane's story, which is truly amazing. Eliane is brave, strong and smart. She keeps risking her own life for others and I admired her strength and courage. She's a remarkable woman with a kind heart. I couldn't turn the pages of The Beekeeper's Promise quickly enough to find out if she'd survive the war. Eliane's story inspires Abi and I absolutely loved that. She needs kindness and support and I kept hoping she'd embrace her future after the nightmare she's been in. I really like it when I feel so invested in the main characters of a story.

Fiona Valpy has a great captivating writing style. Her marvelous descriptions of the French countryside are making it come to life in a fantastic way. I could easily picture the castle and its surroundings and loved how she made me see every single detail. The Beekeeper's Promise is an impressive emotional story. Fiona Valpy knows how to portray deep feelings of fear, longing, unconditional love, selflessness and regret. She's paid careful attention to every aspect of her story and that shows. The result is a terrific book that I highly recommend.

Was this review helpful?

The Beekeeper’s Promise tells two alternating stories about persistence: one about Eliane from WWII and one about Abi from the present, with each story taking place at the Château Bellevue in France. Abi learns about the difficulties and challenges Eliane faced during the Nazi occupation of France and her role in the French Resistance. In turn, we read about Abi’s terrible marriage and how it has adversely affected everything in her life since the time she got married. As she finds out more and more about Eliane’s courage in the face of danger, Abi finds the strength she needs to turn her own life around.

While at times too predictable, The Beekeeper’s Promise is well-told and is very descriptive in its depiction of the French countryside, both in the past and the present. Occasionally, The Beekeeper’s Promise gets bogged down in too many details, but for the most part, the pacing of the two stories moves forward smoothly. I enjoyed finding out the connection between Eliane’s and Abi’s sagas. All-in-all, a mesmerizing tale.

Was this review helpful?

When Abi decides to take a job for the summer at a Chateau in France she is unprepared for the way that she falls in love with it and also the history attached to it, especially the story of Eliane the beekeeper who lived in the Mill House during the war. Eliane was a young girl when WWII broke out and she had just fallen in love with Matthieu, she lived at the Mill House with her family but worked up at the Chateau and had taken on the old kitchen garden and also became the beekeeper. Once the Nazis arrived life became very different and Matthieu had to go away and their trust became could she care for someone who appeared to be working for the Nazis against their own people! As the Nazis take over the Chateau Eliane finds herself becoming involved with the resistance but at what cost!

I loved this book - it was a great mix of modern and history with plenty of action and descriptions of the life there at the time - definitely one I couldn't put down until I finished it

Was this review helpful?

This is my first book by this author and I have to say it's one of the best books I have read this year so far. Set in France it follows 2 storylines, one from the modern day and one during the out break of WW2 - all based in the same location. I don't want to give the plot away as you should all read it for yourselves but the characters are so well drawn and the situations the main characters find themselves are brought to life so vividly. Although a very dark period in history this wasn't a gloomy book - more about the resilience of people and that good will prevail. Whilst reading this I was comparing it to The Nightingale which was one of my favourite books from last year. It did bring tears to my eyes in places and I was sad when the book ended - definately have a book hangover now.

Was this review helpful?

Thank you to Amazon Publishing UK and Lake Union Publishing for the free review copy of this novel. All opinions are my own. 

This was a fantastic novel with strong, courageous women as the main characters. Abi is struggling to find herself after an accident in 2017, and Elaine must make it through the invasion of France in the Second World War.

With Elaine's story, I felt extremely connected. Her character was developed wonderfully, and I liked how the storyline went through the entire war, yet felt natural. The time jumps were never distracting from the plot. Elaine showed what it meant to do what was right, even when those around her didn't deserve it.

Abi's story was tough and beautiful. There were parts that I wished were elaborated on a bit more. I wanted to see more of the progression of her relationship with Zac to make her story arc a little more impacting, BUT her story was wonderful, and I think that there is enough there for the plot to move beautifully.

Was this review helpful?

4 character-driven stars to The Beekeeper’s Promise!

This book came highly recommended by my friend, Marialyce! Thanks for another wonderful read!

Told in two timelines, The Beekeeper’s Promise includes the story of Abi, who has a broken heart and is looking for a fresh start. She takes a job at the Chateau Bellevue.

Also included is the story of Eliane, who in 1938 takes care of the beehives at the same chateau. She falls in love with Mathieu, but with the war looming she joins the Resistance.

These are bold, resilient women from different generations with two memorable stories to tell. The writing is smooth and absorbing, as the characters rebuild their lives after overcoming struggle and strife. The Beekeeper’s Promise is a mesmerizing, all-consuming, and tantalizing story!

Thank you to Fiona Valpy, Lake Union Publishing, and Netgalley for the ARC. The Beekeeper’s Promise is available now!

Was this review helpful?

This is a thoroughly enjoyable and moving tale. It's set in France during WWII and the present day, telling two interconnecting stories of two different women, each with their own mountain to climb. Dual timeframe is my favourite genre and this one certainly didn't disappoint.

Beautifully written and vividly told, there's a great sense of time and place. It's all so easy to visualise. The characters are well defined and realistic. I don't really have a favourite but if I had to choose it would be Eliane for her resilience during the German occupation of France. Both the women, however, overcome adversity and find strength they never knew they had. I also found the descriptions of the lives of the bees in their hives fascinating and this really added to my enjoyment of the book.

A captivating and gripping page turner which I can highly recommend. "Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about dancing in the rain."

Was this review helpful?