The Enlightenment of Bees

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 08 Aug 2019

Member Reviews

Inspiring, light and loveable. This book about humanitarian work and life will make you want to read it all in one sitting. The descriptions were vivid and wonderful. I would recommend this to someone needing a book to pick you up and help you see how helping others will ultimately help everyone! Great summer read.
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[Review coming in the September Woman Alive book club]

When wondering what to read next, I was grabbed by the title, The Enlightenment of Bees. But would it capture my attention like Sue Monk Kidd’s The Secret Life of Bees? This one is not in that league, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. 

It’s the journey of Mia, who finds herself not, as she anticipated, engaged to her long-time boyfriend, but with him ending their relationship all together. With her life plans changed, she joins her best friend on a sponsored trip first to India and then to Hungary to help with Syrian refuges. This trip becomes a journey of discovery, not least about herself.  

The author is an international aid worker who has lived in 50 countries, so she’s able to bring to life not only the experience of living in another country with authenticity but raises key questions mission partners and aid workers face. For example, the author’s protagonist, Mia, wanted to be “Saint Mia,” who would see “the world and change it for good.” But, as Mia reflected in thinking about her travels, “what changed was my own heart.” She was humbled by how little impact she actually had in contrast to what she imagined before the trip. Yet as she sought to find meaning in the experience, she held onto some advice given to her: “Your place in the world is the space where your greatest passion meets the world’s great pain.” For her, that answer involved baking. Mixing flour, sugar and butter in creative and innovative ways gave her an outlet in which to serve others and shower her love on them. 

I enjoyed this novel but wished it would have had some more explicitly Christian content, seeing as it was published by a Christian publisher. The closest the author came was in her theme of Mia being visited by bees in dreams and in real life. Some Christians, however, might object to the idea of these insects being messengers of God.
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I enjoyed this new release from Rachel Linden.  It was quite a journey for young Mia West trying to find her purpose in life.  Life doesn't always work out how we have it envisioned in our minds, but if we are willing to see things differently, we can get where we are supposed to be.  This book shows that following your dreams can be a wonderful thing and doesn't always lead you where you thought you were going but where you were intended to be...great read!
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This is about Mia searching to find herself, after  splitting up with her boyfriend  of 6 years.
She travels to Mumbai and Hungary doing charity work and helping at a refugee camp.
Felt the subject of refugees wasn't covered in enough depth, hence 3 star rating.
Thanks to Netgalley for an Arc.
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“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.”

I really loved this book. There are some parts that are a bit difficult to believe, like the whole Lars scenario, but overall the plot is meaningful and really made me think. I especially appreciated the parts that deal with voluntourism--which is what most humanitarian or mission trips turn out to be. They aren't lasting changes that will make a difference in the peoples' lives, they are a drop in, feed them pancakes and play soccer, and leave. The "tourist" feels good for having done something, but it's not real. I have long felt like these types of trips need to change, relationships with people in other countries need to change. Getting off my soapbox for now but this book brought out a lot of issues with this...
This book is a great combination of topics that resonated with me as a reader. I hope that readers interested in a book with a deeper message about things we don't often think about will pick this one up.
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The Enlightenment of Bees is the story of a girl whose perfect life and all expectations are flipped upside down and she goes on a journey to find herself and her new place in the world. While this storyline has been done a million times, the uniqueness in this book is what Mia does next. She joins a humanitarian trip around the world to do good for those less fortunate. It is a beautiful and insightful look at human relations, poverty, love and loss, and chasing your dreams. 

You can tell that the author has some personal experience dealing with these humanitarian crises and locals. The settings are wonderfully done and you feel like you're there with the characters. This was probably my favorite part of the story. Although I wish they could have travelled to more locations, I loved where they ended up but hated how it ended so quickly!

Linden uses this book to look into the current refugee crisis in Europe with those trying to escape terror and unrest in the Middle East. This was the first fiction book I have read that really tackled this concept and I flew through the pages trying to devour it all. It was truly eye opening and it gave me a new perspective on these current issues. 

My main problem with this book and the reason I can't give it 5 stars (because I really loved the concept and the story) is I couldn't like the main character. She was such a typical 20 something girl who doesn't realize how beautiful she is and everyone seems to just love. It also had my biggest pet peeve that books can have - the whole "I'm not like other girls." Gah. We get it, you're quirky and don't like trends therefore you're so much better than all the other girls out there. I am so over this technique for writing female leads!!! I almost dnf early on when Mia was being introduced but I am glad I didn't. The rest of the story makes up for her and there is so much more to this than just a love/finding yourself story
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The Enlightenment of Bees is a heart warming story on how Mia deals with life after her boyfriend of 6 years decides he no longer wants to be with her. 

The author takes us on an international adventure, with Mia deciding to throw herself into humanitarian aid work right after the breakup, which has been a lifelong dream of hers. The descriptions of each country are so vivid and appealing that you really do feel like you are there!

While on her international adventures, it is up to Mia to decide what she wants to do with her life. The characters in the story are all likeable and I found myself rooting for them all to get their happy ever after.

Thanks to Netgally and Thomas Nelson Fiction for my complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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Great read. The author wrote a story that was interesting and moved at a pace that kept me engaged. The characters were easy to invest in.
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I was lucky enough to be selected as a part of the launch team for this book and I really enjoyed it! The writing is very descriptive as far as the sights and sounds (and also the smells and tastes in this one, LOL.) I thought that the characterizations were great. I especially liked the character of Nana Alice. I wish my grandmother had been around into my adult life! I thought that the book had kind of a Wizard of Oz feel to it, you know at the end when Dorothy says, “if I ever go looking for my heart again I will look in my own front yard?” Because Mia’s heart was definitely at home, she just had to go all over the world to find it! I’d recommend this book if you’re a fan of Sarah Addison Allen, the settings are different but the themes are similar. I look forward to reading other books by Rachel Linden in the future!
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This story is Legally Blonde meets Eat Pray Love. The book was very well written and enjoyable, which got it 4 stars, but wasn’t quite my type of book. While I related to Mia because I love baking and have zero clue what I’m doing with my life, I’m not the biggest fan of coming-of-age finding-myself novels. And I loved Kai, but don’t think every time a girl finds herself she also needs to find a man in the process. That being said, if those are your jam you will love this one!
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I received a copy of this book from #netgalley  I thought it was Christian fiction, but there was very little reference to God.  So I would put it at the clean woman's fiction category and am reviewing at such (meaning that I am trying to not let the lack of spiritual aspects downgrade the book).  I liked the premise of trying to make a difference in the world, but I felt like some of the story rambled and jumped about.  I thought it could have been more.  This is an almost romance as well, and I did feel like that added to the story.   I would probably give this story a 3.5 - I rounded up on behalf of the author.
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The Enlightenment of Bees is a heartwarming story about a young woman’s quest to find out who she is, and how she can use her skills and passion to make a difference in the world. In a matter of days, Mia loses both her boyfriend and her job, leaving her lost and confused. She embarks on a humanitarian mission that takes her to the slums of India and to a refugee camp in Hungary. The author did a wonderful job of placing me in those places, feeling the despair, the poverty, the distress. Mia was a fascinating character, and watching her grow throughout her journey touched my heart.
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An entertaining read that includes a little bit of everything--romance, adventure, self-introspection. Mia attempts to find her true self and volunteers overseas to help refugees. While witnessing violence, sadness and hardship she learns it is not her calling after all. Mia eventually realizes that what she really loves doing is all that matters.
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Thanks to #Netgalley, #ThomasNelsonPublishing, and author Rachel Linden for the opportunity to review this book.

When I first read the information on this book, I thought this isn't what I've been reading, so let's give it ago. First this book was a fast read for me. Can't wait to share this with my local book club. 
The book is about a young lady who is wanting to make a difference in the world, just not sure how. When her relationship takes a turn, the opportunity to make a difference falls in her lap. Of course, that's not a smooth ride. As Mia learns how bad things really are in the world, and how she isn't sure how she can make a difference. But this also makes her grow as a person. And finds her way to make a difference. 
Very inspiring book.
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Thank you Thomas Nelson--FICTION and Netgalley for the review copy!

I really enjoyed the beginning of THE ENLIGHTENMENT OF BEES but as the story progressed I started to lose interest.
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This was such a good book about a girl named Mia and what she decided to do with her life.It was a very descriptive book, I felt like I was right next to Mia the whole time! I could almost hear bees buzzing around!
Definitely add to your list! Thanks to Netgalley and the author for the early copy
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I don't want to call this a light or easy read because the story does attempt to tackle some big issues and human rights crises, but it didn't have a hard-hitting tone to it, and moved pretty quickly. It felt a little moralistic, but I think the ultimate theme and message of using your own passions to make an impact on the world was worth the read.
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I received this book as an advanced reader copy via Kindle from NetGalley (thanks, #netgalley!). All opinions are my own. 


If you’ve never been to Seattle, this book will make you want to go. If you’ve never been to a lavender farm, this book will make you NEED to go. Being a Washingtonian myself, I really enjoyed the sweet, glittering portrayal of my state — and the author’s tasteful use of imagery  carried throughout the rest of the book. I could feel myself in each location she wrote about — sunny, spring-like Seattle; the warm, idyllic Keys; the chaos and color of India; the depression and hope of the refugee camp... it was all well-done. The initially clean and classy storyline makes the sudden shift into the Indian slums and Hungarian refugee camp even more abrupt and (realistically) shocking. 

Frankly, I found the ending (and the protagonist’s answer to her main problem) very refreshing. Nothing huge/sweeping/“world-changing” (spoiler, maybe?) BUT sweet and real and useful in its own way. And that’s what the reality is for most of us — we can’t all do big Mother Theresa-esque world shifts. But we can each change our corner for the better. How wonderful is that! I love this quote that appears several times:
“A wise friend once told me that the place you are to occupy in the universe is the space where your greatest passion meets the world’s great pain.”

I HAD to knock off a star for one cringe-worthy reason: stereotypes ABOUND. The sexy Hawaiian surfer/farmer saving her from the shark (come. on.). The rich, lonely benefactor (okay, did anyone else find Lars and the whole Stella/Bryan thing a LITTLE creepy??). While in Mumbai, the flannel-clad millennial woodworking hipster asks if the small ethnic restaurant serves “nitro cold brew,” because he’s not “feeling” the authentic chai. Even the corporate, sleek ex-fiancé, clad in his baby-pink polo. I don’t like stereotypes in books, but... well... stereotypes are stereotypes for a reason (typical human behavior). So I understand the “relatable-ness” of each character’s identity... I just found there were a few too many cliches for my taste. 

BUT!! Though I’ve never read anything by Rachel Linden before, this certainly won’t be the last. I read somewhere that she specializes in “stories about hope and courage with a hint of romance and a touch of whimsy,” and I think that’s just a lovely sum-up of this novel. It’s a light and “easy” read - and a total joy.
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Please note: "I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
The main character Mia, loves baking, her boyfriend, and her Nana Alice. She is sweet, without being cloying. At the start of the book Mia has had her heart broken, and feels a bit sorry for herself, as she drifts though her life, try to figure out her purpose. When adventure calls- she jumps at the chance to attend a round the world humanitarian trip with her best friend Rosie. She envisions herself as Mother Theresa, but has no idea how to go about it. 

All frivolity gone however, once Mia begins to experience “exotic” locals outside of what is captured an instagram lens. The book deals with refugee crisis and real human suffering in the world. Everything from, raw sewage runs in the street and child are filthy and hungry all of the time to people “donating” wildly inappropriate clothing to refugees, to riots and pirates. These sensitive subjects are handled deftly, leaving the reader with an understanding of the great need and with the idea that small acts of help are worthwhile. 

I have two pet peeves-1)  I understand the value of specificity when telling a story, but here it is a bit over done: everything from naming EVERY street and Seattle neighborhood that Mia bicycles though, to the brand of beer a guy is drinking “... holding a can of Heady Topper IPA”- It feels like awkward obvious product placement. This seems to be only prevalent in the early chapters.
2) Kai. He is tall, handsome, smart, altruistic, surfs, hardworking, stoic, a hero, and rich . Its all too much.  My advice would be to have him be poor ( perhaps Mom married a hotel manger-happy but firmly middle class. He is just too perfect- no man however wonderful, is perfect, and true loves comes from seeing flaws and loving them anyway. 

I really enjoyed this book liked taking the adventure with her as she tries to figure out what she wants to do with her life, and how she can help people. The book ends with a satisfying conclusion, as Mia finally follows her heart.
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I just finished Rachel Linden's latest book. I could not wait to write a review. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel from start to finish. I will not re-write the publishers description of the book, they do a better job. I will try hard not to give any of the story away, just my feelings and honest opinion. I was very touched by the relationship of Mia and her grandmother. They demonstrated a special bond. The dialog between them showed, love, encouragement, hope and a little touch of friskiness.  Grandma Alice was there for Mia when all her hopes and plans came crashing down. Where do you start when you have to reinvent yourself? You will fall in love with Rachel's well crafted characters.

What an ability for making a setting come to life. It was obvious that Rachel had first hand experience with visiting India or she did a great deal of research. She takes you to the crowded and stinky streets of Mumbai, with the trash and cows everywhere.  I shared with my husband and  his two mission trips there. Rachel's story, took me right back there. Reading her work, helps me think outside of the box. She brings light into the darkness.
What makes this story so outstanding is that it isn't what readers are expecting, but it will be what they need. I received a complementary copy from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.
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