The Enlightenment of Bees

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 08 Aug 2019

Member Reviews

Mia West is excited to see, Ethan.This was their 6th anniversary. She felt in her 26-year-old bones that today was the day he’d propose. Dreams of today filled her mind as she worked at The Butter Emporium bakery as an intern.

Things were going slow in the beginning of this predictable story. Then Mia’s whole world turns on end. Her roommate helps her get into a humanitarian trip around the world she is going on that is funded by a reclusive billionaire. Mia has a face time interview, then fills out paperwork, tells a fib or three and she’s off with her friend to travel the world. Mia eventually is confronted with the realities of life, love and relationships as she tries hard to not let her feelings run her life. 

Rosie and Mia get more than they bargained for on this trip. This is a coming of age novel and one of self-discovery that starts out in Seattle and moves along from the slums of Mumbai to a Hungarian border camp filled with refugee’s during the refugee crisis. 

 Mia quickly realizes the thing she has been dreaming about doing is not what she thought it would be; frankly Mia’s dreams of helping people around the world gets scary. Her eyes are wide open to the realities in life she’d only read about, now Mia was in the middle of a life-threatening crisis. It gets overwhelming.

This book goes into places I was surprised about and so was Mia. This is a slow paced story as Mia has some revelations on who she is, what makes a relationship work, and where she wants to go in life. She discovers that there is value in being yourself, helping others and it pays to tell the truth. I think this would make a good YA summer read.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the Publisher.  I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”

Nora St. Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins! www.bookfun.org 
The Book Club Network blog www.psalm516.blogspot.com  
Book Fun Catalogue front page www.bookfun.org
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Mia West has her life planned out when the book opens. She is set on a career in baking, and after 6 years, she is convinced her boyfriend is about to propose. She loves living in the Pacific Northwest, where her parents run a lavender farm, and her Nana Alice, who taught Mia to love baking, lives close by, in a retirement home. On a picnic celebrating their 6th anniversary, her boyfriend prepared even with a ring, in the last second decides to end the relationship, and then, Mia's position in the bakery is cut. Mia's best friend, who is going on a Humanitarian Mission, mentions that one person backed out and there is one space open. Mia, who has always dreamed of doing her best to help the less fortunate, jumps at the opportunity to leave the cozy comfort of home to volunteer in India, Thailand and Mexico. Mia's trip is one full of discovery (especially, she discovers what life as a #refugee is like), and "enlightenment", and, along the way, her understanding of herself in the world changes.


Rachel Linden, author of the book, is an international Aid Worker, and has travelled to over 50 different countries. I appreciated the detailed descriptions of the places that Mia travelled to and the people that she met along the way. Linden grew up baking with her own Grandma (Sally), on whom Nana Alice from the book is based, and like Mia finds baking an activity that both, connects her to her past, and, allows her to connect with others. She took what she loves about life and put it all together in this wonderful book #theenlightenmentofbees. I loved it. Thank you #netgalley for giving me a digital copy for my personal review.
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I loved this book from the first chapter! The author writes "delicious foodie lingo", because Mia loves to bake, and this is definitely only one of the many things that captured my attention!

Mia is a delight. I felt for her sorrow as she is dumped by her boyfriend of six years. She's left adrift, floating along in her life without purpose. Then she is reminded of her earlier desire to travel...and away she goes! (Yes, travel is also a dream of mine, so I gladly went along for the ride!)

This traveling...Mia's best friend Rosie is going on a humanitarian trip, and so she asks Mia to go along.

I'm still trying to decide what I thought of this whole trip. It seemed just a bit fancy...or ritzy...or something...for people who are traveling on a trip of this nature. Maybe not entirely realistic?

Mia is trying to find her new purpose in life. How can she best use her interests to help others? I enjoyed seeing her growth throughout this book.

And what about those bees?! Yes, this is definitely a question I was asking at the beginning. I was a bit surprised as to how those were tied in. I think I'll leave it at that.

If you enjoy stories about food...about baking...or about travel, you might enjoy this book!

Disclaimer: I receive complimentary books from various sources, including, publishers, publicists, authors, and/or NetGalley. I am not required to write a positive review, and have not received any compensation. The opinions shared here are my own entirely.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255
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“In a romantic adventure across the globe, The Enlightenment of Bees beautifully explores what it means to find the sweet spot in life where our greatest passions meet the world’s greatest need.”

4 Bee-utiful stars 🐝🐝🐝🐝  
Encouraging and uplifting, The Enlightenment of Bees is a lighthearted summertime read about main character Mia finding the right direction for herself while helping others. And that’s what she sets out to do. In a snap, Mia, along with her friend, volunteer as aids with a global humanitarian group. It’s a great story with some romance, but also has hard hitting issues such as Hungarian refugee camps and Mumbai’s Indian slums.

The author uses current global issues vividly detailed through main character Mia’s experiences, her challenges and the changes they make within herself. Rachel Linden’s powerful message is pretty straightforward. Lead by your passions while making an impact in the world. As lovely a story, as the bees on its cover!



Many thanks to Thomas Nelson Publishing and Rachel Linden for this complimentary ARC via NetGalley. All opinions expressed are my own.
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I just visited Seattle and was excited to come across a fiction title set there! Unfortunately this wasn't for me. I'm not a huge romance fan, and couldn't get into this title. Did not finish.
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What a wonderful story!! Well written. I laughed, cried, cringed, and couldn’t stop reading. I connected with the book so much being a baker myself. I also love the setting. This book went straight to my must reread shelf! You don’t want to miss it. More details to come soon. 
I received a copy as part of the launch team. I was under no obligation to write a positive review. All thoughts are my own.
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I find myself in a slightly unusual position as I begin this review: I can tell you I was drawn into this story from the beginning, but I’m not sure I can tell you exactly why. This is my third book by Rachel Linden, and I’ve found that her prose is always an effortless read, but there was something about Mia’s story that grabbed me in a way Linden’s previous two books didn’t. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy her previous two books, because I did. But there was something about this story that I found more engaging. Something I can’t quite put my finger on. See my dilemma?

In many ways, this is a coming-of-age story, although Mia’s a little older than your average coming-of-age protagonist. She’s always wanted to find a way to make a difference in the world, but how do you do that when baking is the only real skill you have to offer? I found my attention wholly captured as Mia embarked on her humanitarian trip, partly because Linden recreates the sensory delights (or undelights, as the case may be!) of Mia’s travels in vivid detail, but also because the trip was so different than Mia expected. In fact, the answer to the question “How can I make a meaningful difference?” seemed to be more elusive than ever just when it should have been coming into focus.

Perhaps the key to this story’s engagement for me was simply that I was as clueless as Mia how her story would end. Or perhaps it was the fact that there is something uniquely satisfying about the way disappointment and adversity can tumble us to a place we would never have thought to look for otherwise. Whatever the reason, I found it difficult to put this story down until I’d reached the last page.

If you enjoy women’s fiction, especially with an international flavour, this is definitely worth picking up.
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My Review of The Enlightenment of Bees:
All right, this is an interesting idea for a story and the parts I read I enjoyed but I did not finish this book, I skipped to the end . . . Why? Because I didn’t like all of the talk about drinking, or the descriptions of Kai. I read the second half of the book and enjoyed it quite a bit. Mia’s story is intriguing and sweet.
I didn’t finish it but what I read was wonderful!
I didn’t necessarily agree with everything in this novel but it was nice which is why I’m giving three stars with a nineteen up recommending. Maybe I one day I’ll chime back to this book but not right now.

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.
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This book is amazing. It was heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time. It was wonderful to watch Mia’s growth and be along for the ride. This is incredibly well written and a book you don’t want to put down.
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Mia is young and has her whole life planned out with her boyfriend Ethan. After six years of dating she is ready to get started on their life, when he decides that he needs space and that they are going in different directions. Devasted she realizes that she has put all her hopes and dreams in the hands of someone else. 

When her friend Rosie tells her that there is an opening on a humanitarian trip that is sponsored by a reclusive billionaire, Mia decides to join her and embark on an adventure of a lifetime. From the slums of Mumbai to a Hungarian refugee camp Mia has experiences and meets people that will leave her changed forever. 

This story was Mia’s own version of eat, pray, love. As an avid traveler I really enjoyed this story. There are many characters that you meet throughout her adventure that play an impact on her trip and life. This reminded me of when I studied abroad in Hungary. I was not at a refugee camp but staying just south of Budapest in dorms with other students from all over the world was a huge eye opener for me. It was the first time I had ever left the country and it changed my life. Mia’s learns so much about herself and realizes that the experiences and people are what really matters, which is why I choose to spend my money on travel and continue to get my passport stamped.
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"Your place in this world is the space where your greatest passion meets the world's greatest pain." This quote reminds me of main character Mia's beloved Mother Theresa, who famously told the world "If you can't do great things, do small things with great love." I do love the notion of doing the most good right where you are. 

This was a delightful, easy to read story. And as a digital ARC, it was perfect for spending hours in airports and airplanes one weekend. When Mia's boyfriend of six years dumps her just when she expected him to propose, she feels lost and adrift. An international service program seems like the perfect opportunity for Mia to explore her own passions and decide what she really wants out of life.

The writing was strong and the descriptions of life in a Hungarian refugee camp were vivid and realistic. There's a little romance and a lot of adventure for Mia that is packed into these pages. And I adored Mia's elderly Nana Alice.

I did struggle with the Rosie and Lars relationship, which seemed very one dimensional and unrealistic. And really, the only bees were the ones in Mia's dreams spurring her into action. I thought they might play a larger story in Mia's life and decision making. 

That said, he was a sweet coming of age tear jerker that kept me interested and invested in Mia's story.
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I absolutely adored this book. A finding yourself journey after your plans fall apart. Mia takes a trip with her housemate and ends up meeting multiple people along the way that help her change and grow. She is given a chance to figure out the things she wants and what life is throwing at her. 

I absolutely loved the dynamics of the other characters introduced. It provided so much diversity to the plot. The different countries and backgrounds of each character really add depth to the novel. This book is a very clean and wholesome read. It is very relatable in the feelings, Journey, and change of life. This was a cute read and I highly recommend it.
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The Enlightenment of Bees by Richel Linden is a contemporary women's fiction, which looks at the meaning of life and universal struggles in the world.  First of all, this book is beautifully written, but it was too real life for me personally.  I read books to escape reality, I am disabled and live with constant pain.  I recommend this book for anyone who enjoys a more serious book than I do.  

I reviewed a digital arc provided by NetGalley and the publisher.  Thank you.
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Thank you to Thomas Nelson and Just Read Tours for a copy of The Enlightenment of Bees by Rachel Linden. Please see my bio for the book tour landing page as well as the purchase link if you are interested! Synopsis of the book will be included in the comments.

The Enlightenment of Bees is a cute read. Following Mia West, within the first few chapters of the book she is dumped by her long term boyfriend, let go from her job, and finds out her Nana has cancer. Set adrift in her own life, she gets the opportunity to finally act on her own dreams, to travel and help other people. Joining a humanitarian group at the last moment she is soon in Indian slums and then in a refugee camp in Hungary. Will she finally find what she is meant to do with her life?

I liked this book, especially the refugee camp scenes. There we get what felt like a real look into the crisis over in Europe and that isn’t what I expected from this book when I started. Mia started out as a little too optimistic for my tastes, she is a little too give up her dreams for others. But she really discovers who she is and what she wants by the end. I like how organically she lost her innocent look at life and grew into herself away from her boyfriend and what he wanted.

The Enlightenment of Bees was full of interesting characters and settings and I loved the descriptions of baking and recommend you get some cake before you start this one because you’ll definitely be craving it by the end!
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3.5 Stars
I have mixed feelings about this book. It starts out well. Mia’s life falls apart, forcing her to take a hard look at what she truly wants out of her life.
Then it takes an odd turn. The humanitarian group is flown to an island in Florida where they’re given what amounts to an all-expense paid vacation for this group of twenty-somethings. I can see the point of this section—to introduce readers to the rest of Mia’s team members but it was so unrealistic and disproportionate, it was a bit off-putting.
Once the group leaves Florida, the story picked back up as they fly to Mumbai then Hungary. While serving, more than one team member mentions they thought they’d be doing more. Linden drives home the truth that for so much of the world, the simple things—food, clothing, love—are what they need most.
Overall, the message that our God-given passions and talents can be used to change the world (even if it’s one person at a time) tips the scales for The Enlightenment of Bees. Despite the hiccup in the middle, Linden managed to make me ask myself how can I make a difference in other’s lives?

Disclosure statement:
I receive complimentary books from publishers, publicists, and/or authors, including NetGalley. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
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4.5 / 5⭐


“𝘐𝘧 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘸𝘢𝘯𝘵 𝘵𝘰 𝘩𝘦𝘭𝘱 𝘱𝘦𝘰𝘱𝘭𝘦 𝘸𝘦 𝘮𝘶𝘴𝘵 𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘦𝘳 𝘪𝘯𝘵𝘰 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘪𝘳 𝘭𝘪𝘷𝘦𝘴, 𝘣𝘦 𝘢 𝘱𝘢𝘳𝘵 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘪𝘳 𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘮𝘶𝘯𝘪𝘵𝘺.”

•Mia West has a comfortable life. She has a handsome boyfriend, Ethan. She’s apprenticing in a bakery, pretty great for someone who has loved baking since she was a kid. Mia adores her visits with sweet Nana Alice and her fiery roommate, Rosie, keeps her on her toes. But that’s all about to change…

•Ethan backs out of his own proposal - yep, with the ring out and everything. He says they’re going in different directions. Mia’s well planned out life begins to crumble around her. If she admits it though, deep down she’s been wondering if she’s doing enough; is she helping others in need. Having had recurring dreams with honeybees that seem to be guiding her to a place or a purpose, Mia decides to join Rosie on a humanitarian aid trip that is sponsored by a reclusive Pancake House tycoon. 

•She is put in an eclectic group of people that work as a team. They all come from different backgrounds and have different stories, but through this trip they find common ground. Mia even discovers that there may be someone out there that likes the direction she’s headed. Traveling to the slums of India and then on to help with the refugee crisis at the Hungarian border, Mia’s eyes are opened to the basic needs of humanity. Still, feeling like she is not doing enough, Mia learns that showing kindness and friendship is how you enter into people’s lives - and stay there. 

•Mia discovered, through her journey of enlightenment, that you have to do what you love. And then, find a way for your love to help others, a good reminder to us all. This book has so many beautiful sentiments and lessons. The writing is splendid; honestly, I didn’t want the book to end. And every once in a while, a character in a book comes along that I wish I knew in real life - Mia is one of those. 

•Thank you to @NetGalley and @ThomasNelson 

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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I wasn't sure what to expect when I started reading this book, but I loved the cover and the synopsis sounded interesting also.  It was a coming of age story that within it was a storyline about a global issue, in this case a refugee crisis.  There were also a couple of relationships that I thought were well done, Mia and her Nana Alice and Mia and her friend Rosie, who convinced her to go on this global mission.   The relationship with the boyfriend, now ex-boyfriend was well done also was very typical for that age of people.

I thought that Mia's character was crafted very well and the overall plot of the story was believable also.  It kept my interest and once I started it I actually finished it really quickly.  Overall, a good book with a good message.
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I loved this story.  Mia is lost and dumped on her six year anniversary.  She spends the next few months finding herself. The book is well written, a few sensitive subjects with humanitarian aid taking center stage, but handled beautifully.
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We all know what it’s like when life goes awry, and we long to find a new path and focus. Such is the case with Mia West in The Enlightenment of Bees.

Mia wants a purpose—to create at least a small difference in the lives of others—so she and her housemate travel the world on a humanitarian mission. In the process, Mia finds out who she really is and her true purpose and passion.

I am an avid traveler, so I was initially intrigued by the world traveling aspect of the blurb. This story is so much more than an exciting, roving adventure, though. It has inspired me to examine my own life, my own dreams, desires, and passions, and to recognize when uncertainty or fear holds me back.

This is the first book I’ve read by Rachel Linden. Although I’m not usually fond of present-tense narration, it doesn’t distract me and works well in this story. Ms. Linden is a good storyteller. Her descriptions are vivid, and the plot is interesting and stirring.

“Remember, Mia, your place in this world is the space where your greatest passion meets the world’s great pain,” she says firmly. “Go now and find that place.”

Author: Rachel Linden
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Pages: 336
First line: The day my world crumbles I am dreaming about pie crust.
Source: I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author and NetGalley. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.

#TheEnlightenmentOfBees
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The Enlightenment of Bees tells the story of Mia who has seen her planned life fall apart and is responding in a beautiful way. She is embarking on a global humanitarian trip. She wants to be of service in the world. Mia had a man she loved and wanted to marry, and a job she loved. Unfortunately just as she thought he would propose he ended the relationship. To make matters worse, she loses her job and her beloved grandmother is very ill. Most of us wallow in self-pity when that happens but this woman decided to do good in the world. And the author did a beautiful job here not making it too grand where the characters believed they were changing the world. They knew they could do some good but that their footprint would be small. I liked the message. Do good even if it is in a small way.

As would be expected Mia meets people from all walks of life and they affect her in big ways. She sees a world she didn't yet know. She grows and changes, and when she returns home she is ready to start life again, she just isn't sure what that will be.

The author put a lot of emphasis on the global refugee crisis and I enjoyed this aspect of it a great deal. It felt as though Ms. Linden did her research, kept an open mind, and appreciated people from all the cultures explored. I have been lucky to do some traveling in my life and have always found the beauty in each pace I have visited and am glad that this came through on the pages.

My biggest complaint for this one was the simplicity came off as a bit too effortless. While Mia seemed authentic and genuine most of the other characters felt a bit cartoonish. They had no depth and their personalities felt a bit forced, like the author had in mind the person's purpose in the book and made them meet that need even if it wasn't quite realistic. And the ending felt too perfect. Everyone was right where they should be with the problems answered. I much prefer a book that leaves me guessing a bit.

However, it is certainly inspiring and warm and left me feeling empowered to do more in the world.
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