The Beekeeper's Promise
by Fiona Valpy
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Pub Date 16 May 2018 | Archive Date 30 May 2018
Amazon Publishing UK, Lake Union Publishing
An RNA Romantic Novel Award nominee.
Heartbroken and hoping for a new start, Abi Howes takes a summer job in rural France at the Château Bellevue. The old château echoes with voices from the past, and soon Abi finds herself drawn to one remarkable woman’s story, a story that could change the course of her summer—and her life.
In 1938, Eliane Martin tends beehives in the garden of the beautiful Château Bellevue. In its shadow she meets Mathieu Dubosq and falls in love for the first time, daring to hope that a happy future awaits. But France’s eastern border is darkening under the clouds of war, and history has other plans for Eliane…
When she is separated from Mathieu in the chaos of German occupation, Eliane makes the dangerous decision to join the Resistance and fight for France’s liberty. But with no end to the war in sight, her loyalty to Mathieu is severely tested.
From the bestselling author of Sea of Memories comes the story of two remarkable women, generations apart, who must use adversity to their advantage and find the resilience deep within.
A Note From the Publisher
All of these inspirations, along with a love for the place, the people and their history, have found their way into the books she’s written, which have been translated into German, Norwegian, Czech, Turkish and Slovenian.
Fiona now lives in Scotland, but enjoys regular visits to France in search of the sun.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 76 members
Another great book by an author who knows how to bring her characters alive!!
The descriptions of France both now and during WW2 were amazing. There are so many strong believable characters throughout the book and each have their rightful position.
A story of survival, determination as well as the struggle to find and keep your own identity.
A book that is full of passion and has left me wanting to read more from this author.
This is the type of story I love, one that interweaves past and present and tells the story of ordinary women in extraordinary times. Abi Howes vows to leave her broken heart behind as she takes a job in France at the Chateau Bellevue. There she learns of Eliane Martin, the gardener who cared for the Chateau’s ground in the late 1930’s. Eliane has fallen in love with beekeeper, Mathieu, but war is on the horizon and the two lovers are separated. As the Nazi occupation spreads, Eliane has to wonder just how much she knows the man she loves, and if she can trust him
Great book. I usually don't like books that flip flop between past and present or first tense but this worked as a combination of the two. It was very easy to get invested in Elianne and her family. I was a little surprised by how little brutality the book showed considering the time. It seems like the family got off very easily, especially considering they would have likely been picked out as collaborateurs for being in the chateau with the Germans even if it wasn't by choice. It made it a little less realistic for me. Other than being a little dream-like in it's presentation there was good world building and reasonable character descriptions.
In Fiona Valpy's "The Beekeeper's Promise," we meet Abi Howes takes a summer job in rural France at the Château Bellevue. Abi learns about an earlier resident of the chateau, In 1938 Eliane Martin, a brave young beekeeper who joins the Resistance. Readers who loved Kristin Hannah's "The Nightingale" will surely love this one also.
A very beautiful and emotional, and absolutely story. I love how the author takes time to describe everything and in turn it creates beautiful image in the mind of readers.
I really enjoyed this book. It invoked so many lovely images of summer, I could image myself sitting under the acacia tree by the river with Eliane and watching her bees busying around the cottage garden.
The dual story line worked extremely well. Valpy managed to pace the two stories, interchanging the drama from one story to another. This gave me time to consider the things that were happening to each character, which helped me engage with their stories. I find stories that never take a breather with the emotional, the horror, the drama rather jarring to read. This balanced it perfectly.
I found some of the Chateau scenes in Abi's story too long, the minute of getting it ready for the weddings just dragged and I found myself skipping sections. I suppose it was cathartic for her to do those things but I didn't feel the need to be part of it with her! Sometimes the dialogue felt stilted and I would have liked the author to expand on the Jean-Luc character and how he could have helped Abi trust love again.
The historical sections in Occupied France during the war were well researched and realistic, You could tell the author had spent time in France and loved it there, the passion for the country shone through. I loved how the bees were woven into the story of Eliane and they were used to move the story through the seasons and give Eliane a reason to be at certain places and experience conversations.
I'm not sure the author is completely comfortable with writing about love. The scenes with Eliane and Matthieu were sweet and childlike but then they got split apart during the occupation. The 'love' between her and Jacques was suddenly thrust upon us in the tunnels and there was little back story to get us to that point. And Abi and Zak's relationship was so toxic, are we led to believe that Abi was so weak she went into the relationship with Zak even after feeling something was off about him when they first met? I appreciate that the author has written the part about Zak's coldness for us the reader to know something is going to be wrong but writing it in the first person narrative means that Abi is thinking it too. It felt unnatural and unrealistic. Maybe it would have worked better if the author had written Zak how Abi saw him and worked his cruelty in later after we had seen what she saw in him.
I would recommend this book to be read during the summer months, out in the garden under the shade of a beautifully scented tree, with a glass of something very cold, full of chinking ice cubes and hopefully with a few bees buzzing around. And if you are really lucky, read it in one sitting.
Beautiful and moving novel that moves between the stories of Abi in 2017 modern day France and Eliane during the World War 2 occupied France.
Both women are fighting their own personal battles, with the France in both timelines brought vividly to life as the stunning backdrop to their heartbreaking and emotional tales.
A fantastic 5 star read that I highly recommend.
It definitely sounded like my kind of book – I am always interested to read about ordinary people during World War II, often contemplating what would I have done, had I been in the situation? Of course, being set in France there was an added interest for me, as I live in France, although not in the area in which the story is based.
I have to say, I loved it! I finished it in about three days, as I found it difficult to put down – in fact, I was reading until half past midnight last night, because I wanted (and didn’t want!) to finish it. It is well written; perhaps not with the same lyrical prose as Patrick Gale (another of my five star authors) but there were certainly enough beautifully written passages to make me pause to enjoy reading them. The author writes with a real sense of place and she made me believe that such a place as Coulliac exists; I could imagine the village, the chateau, the moulin. She obviously loves France, and this shines through her writing.
The characters too were believable – perhaps some of the German soldiers were a little too nice, but there must have been many decent people in the army, who despised what they were being ordered to do, so presumably there were officers who were sympathetic towards the French people. I also liked the fact that these weren’t great heroic Resistance fighters, but ordinary people doing their little bit towards the opposition of their invaders. I liked both main characters very much, and I had no real preference towards the present day story, or the wartime narrative. Both were sympathetically written, and I very much liked the thread of bees that ran through the story.
While I had a reasonably good idea of how the story was going to end, and how the two narratives would be drawn together, there was enough suspense to keep it interesting.
All in all, I would thoroughly recommend this book, and, like the other reviewers on Net Galley, I give it five stars. I would be interested in reading other books by the same author.
A lovely story that switches between a young Eliane as war was declared in France and Abi in present day who has faced her own life challenges and is back on the road to recovery with both her mental and physical scars healing.
I found myself drawn into this story quickly with the story being told of both young ladies and the battles they have both survived living in the same home so many years apart. The story was descriptive and the scene was set really well enabling you to visualise the area both in 1939 and modern day.
It highlights the dangers of being part of the resistance during WW2 whilst living in an area occupied by Germany and the lengths Eliane's family and other families were prepared to go to in order to aid the resistance in overturning Germany.
I really enjoyed this book and the style in which it was written, a brilliant story set in a beautiful location
Initially it was the cover the caught my eye, but what a great read this was. I am not usually fond of stories that switch from past to present, but this was one of those books whereby it worked well. I seldom write what a story is about, as i prefer one to read the book for themselves. I will say that this is a wonderful book to read and do highly recommend it. Wished i could give more than five stars.
My thanks to Netgalley and the Publishers for my copy.
Thank you NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for the eARC.
This was a lovely read, I really enjoyed it a lot.
We get the story of two characters: Eliane, just before and during WWII in France and Abi, a young English woman who is in France in 2017. Both stories are told in alternating chapters and flow beautifully. Eliane was my favorite, a although Abi is quite likeable too.
Both women have tremendous challenges to overcome; very different, but psychologically and physically just as difficult to bear. Abi hears Eliane's story but by bit, every day a little, which comforts her and helps her overcome what I would call her PTSD.
The surroundings are lovingly described, you are there as you're reading and I have a newfound admiration for bees. I will never take eating honey for breakfast for granted again and feel so lucky I get my honey locally from a beekeeper.
The wartime part of the book was so sad, no matter how many times we hear the stories, they never get easier. But the strength of Eliane and her family and the way they manage to survive with courage and honor is inspiring and uplifting. As is Abi's story. Wonderful book!
My first book from this author and happy to say I thoroughly enjoyed it . Set between ww2 France and current day this tells the story of two ladies and their courage and strength. I particularly loved the story of Eliane in ww2. . 4 stars and an author I will definitely be loooking for in the future . Thanks to tbc reviewers for my chance to read
“In the midst of winter, I found that there was within me and invincible summer.” (Albert Camus)
This was a gorgeous story of the ability to go forward against adversity when you feel that it has consumed you. It was a story of resiliency in the face of disaster. It was a story of learning about the past, which often can give one courage for the future.
Abi Howe is a broken woman. She is reeling from a marriage gone bad, feelings held inside that have made her believe that she does not deserve love, and the idea that what she is within is somehow of little value. While on a yoga retreat, she meets a young couple who offer her a job at their lovely home which was formerly the Chateau Bellevue. Abi decides that she will take this job and hopefully find a way to heal both her body and soul. Little does she realize what she will learn about the Chateau, the people who lived there, and the ability it will give her to finally see herself as someone worthwhile and cherished.
The Chateau has been a witness to history, particularly in regard to World War 2 when it as overtaken by the Nazis. As the author takes us back to that time, we meet Eliana Martin who tended the bees in the chateau. It is here that she meets and falls in love with Mathieu. However, the war comes bringing with it tragedy and darkness which envelopes them and their community changing everything for this young couple.
Separated from Mathieu , Elaina makes a choice to become part of the French Resistance along with her family and many of the townspeople. She and they risked their lives to free France of their evil conquerors and return to the world they held most dear.
Abi is mesmerized by Eliane’s story. She is moved by the valor and courage shown by this woman and through that comes an understanding of knowing that “we are stronger than we think we are.” Abi awakens to her ability to be strong, to be able to enjoy the world that surrounds her, and to be the person she has always wanted to be.
This story was beautiful in its telling. From the characters to the setting, it had the ability to make the events real, to make the reader understand that we all possess strength, and that the future can be approached with joy no matter what we have faced when we have the courage to do so.
Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass… It’s about learning to dance in the rain.
Thank you to Fiona Valpy, Lake Union Publishing, and Net Galley for providing this reader with an advanced copy of this lovely story.
Publishing on May 16, 2018
I thought the previous book that I had read by this author was amazing but this just took my breath away. I loved everything about it, the heart tugging storyline, the era, the style of writing, what more can i add. A massive hit. Thanks to the publisher, author and Netgalley for giving me the opportunity to read this fantastic book.
Happy belated Pub Day to The Beekeeper’s Promise 🐝, which came out yesterday! 🎉 I was fortunate enough to be able to read this book through @netgalley so thank you to both them & @amazonpublishing for making that happen in exchange for an honest review. 🤗
The Beekeeper’s Promise is a story about love and persistence in the face of evil and alternates between two female narrators in two different time frames. Abi is a young woman in 2017 trying to recover from a horrific past and Eliane is a girl trying to survive Nazi-occupied France during WWII. Fiona Valpy intertwines both characters and their stories to spin an enjoyable read. I especially loved the imagery of the French countryside that Valpy was able to paint with her words. Overall a good summertime read which reminded me a little bit of The Nightingale. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
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.
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!
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."
Looking for a fun little piece of historical fiction? Look no further!
When Abi finds herself in need of some time to heal, she decides on a yoga retreat in rural France. Soon, however, she ends up taking a summer job at a château with a long history. As she herself recovers, she learns the story of another brave young woman from long ago...
Under the threat of war, young Eliane occupies herself with tending to the gardens and beehives at Château Bellevue. It is here that she finds, and then loses, love. Circumstances lead her to join the Resistance as France finds itself engulfed by the war and under German occupation.
As is the case with many pieces of historical fiction, this story is told from two viewpoints in two different time periods. And as is the case with the best of them, this one does a great job of meshing the two all the way to the very end. A definite must read if you're a fan of the genre!
This is a beautifully written novel with lovely descriptions:
'But their personalities fitted together as snugly as the two halves of a walnut in a shell'; 'He held out a sun-browned hand as broad and strong as a bear's paw, but she noticed that, despite his bulk, he moved with an easy, animal grace.'; 'At the top of the ridge she emerged into the autumn sunrise, which would soon evaporate the river's night-time blanket and reveal the mill house to the day'; 'a touch as gentle as the brush of a butterfly's wing and as strong as a promise that had no need of words.'
A tale of war in France for Eliane and her family, surviving the invasion of the Germans in the 1940s and the present day recovery of Abi after a terrible marriage and dreadful accident. None of it overstated and their experiences retold so well.
My first novel by Fiona Valpy but not my last.
Many thanks to Netgalley/Amazon Publishing for a digital copy of this novel. All opinions expressed are my own.
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.
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 broken........how 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
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.
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.
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!
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.
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
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.
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.
A perfect read for a sunny bank holiday weekend. I couldn't put this book down and was sad to turn the final page.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
“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!
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.
This is a beautiful thought provoking story. Elaine's and Abis stories are told together. Chapters alternate going backwards and forwards in time. All the descriptions are wonderfully written. I could imagine myself there. I was totally immersed in this story from the start. Bravery and love shine throughout this book. There are some strong and exceptionally brave characters. This is a book that I will be talking about for sometime and I would love to read more books by this author.
Thank you to Netgalley for my copy.
When I started The Beekeeper's Promise, I thought I was really going to love it. The descriptions of 1938 France were very vivid, and the description of the novel sounded like something I'd really like. A couple of things hampered my enthusiasm. At first, I enjoyed the Abi's story, but after awhile, the present-day part of the novel pulled me out of the historic part of the story without adding much to it. Also, I felt like I never really got to know Mathieu; he, and a few other characters, seemed a bit flat to me. Despite all this, the writing remained vivid, and I found the story to be unique, even though I've read quite a few other novels set in WWII France.
WWII historical fiction is my favorite genre. This book did not disappoint. It was fascinating reading from an enemy occupied territory point of view as opposed to the concentration camps. Eliane’s character was very endearing and developed quite well. I did wish for more character development for some of her family members as well as Jacques (Jack) and Mathieu. The link between the past and present traumatic experience was well done. I would love to have gotten a little more of Abi’s story though, it fell a bit flat for me. Overall very enjoyable.
First, you should know I love historical fictions, and I also like reading those taking place during WWII, therefore it is no surprise I liked reading this one very much.
Eliane's storyline during the war is captivating and sad and yet, so full of courage and determination, and also sparked by gentle scenes of nature and calm. I particularly loved those atmospheric descriptions of the countryside, the sun and nature bringing out the best of it, and following the cycle of nature (and the bees) through the seasons.
Abi's storyline is less interesting, much less focused upon anyway, but draws an interesting parallel with Eliane's story.
All in all, a simple and yet very evocative and forceful book about strong women, resilience and love. A lovely book!
Do not miss reading this novel, alternating between the two main characters, Abi in 2017 and Eliane starting in 1938. This sentence defines the spirit of these characters, “the strength of human resistance in the face of fear and abuse”. Abi faces her own demons, and as her story unfolds, the reader begins to understand her. Eliane faces the most challenging of times, as the German occupation in the Bordeaux region of France will have her fighting to protect her family, while facing down the enemy. “Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain. I highly recommend this book, and thank Netgalley for the advanced copy.
Unforgettable and strikingly beautiful story of two women fighting their own wars.
Abi takes an unexpected job offer in hope to fill her time and to forget her past, but instead starts uncovering a story of another woman that lived in the same place during World War 2 and times of France occupated by Nazis. While fascinated by the story she is also working through her own fight in her mind, dealing with past, scars on her soul as well as her body.
How much can two women in different times have in common? How can someone from the past, nearly 100 years ago, make us realise that maybe our own little problems are really nothing in the grand scheme of things?
I find it incredibly difficult to explain what has this book given me. It's one of the most beautiful stories I've ever read, even if it's touching such a scary and terrible topic as World War 2.
Is it a writing style? Maybe it's all the characters I cared for so much? I really don't know and can't tell what made this book so special for me. I hope if you read it, you will love it as much as I did. It will forever stay in my heart!
I absolutely loved this book, it's an emotional but beautifully written story and it's a book that I will read again and again in the future.
What an amazing book. Loved this from the very first page and didn’t want to put it down.
The author has a great style of writing which captivated me with each page.
There is so much need for mending broken hearts and healing, no matter what year a person lives in. In 2017, Abi, found herself working in France, where she starts mending her brokenness by connecting with a life of a young beekeeper from the late 1930's and through the war. Eliane's selfless love is tested throughout the story as she also experiences good and bad tides with the war and its tragic impacts on her drive to resist giving up.
The one most delightful part about reading this story are the very detailed descriptions. I was able to place myself right next to Eliane, with whom I fell most close to. There were times, I wanted to reach for her and just hold her and comfort her.
There seems to be an accidental habit for me to read a book that is about two different people living years apart. Reading about Abi was somewhat of an interruption for me, I was not as connected to her, and I just was glad she was also thinking about Eliane. Abi had a big healing journey in this particular 2017 summer. I was happy for her and somewhat relieved that she was becoming a stronger person as her summer went on.
Two beautiful stories of survival and revival. Read more at http://questforapricity.com
A beautiful story set in 2017 and WWII. This is a sad story but one filled with light as well. I lived the writing in this book.
I would like to thank Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a review copy in exchange for my honest and unbiased opinion of it.
Fantastic could not put it down, this is a new author for me, so am looking forward to reading her other books. Always good to discover a new author that captures your imagination. with vivid descriptions.
I always love when my historical fiction is actually historically accurate. This one just hit the spot. France during
WW2 and the romance in this book just had me giddy. The writing style flowed so nicely and I felt as if I couldn't put this book down. I will say that I am giving it four stars since I felt as if some parts of the story were slower than others. But other than that, this was such an enjoyable read!
I would like to thank Netgalley and Lake Union Publishing for this partnership.
The story takes place during the Second World War and nowadays. We find Abi who works for the summer at Bellevue Castle in France. She will be drawn to the story of an occupant of the castle during the Second World War. In 1938, Eliane works in Bellevue when she meets Mathieu and fall in love but with the war that runs ... She will take the path of the Resistance and fight for France.
A book based on historical facts as I adore them with endearing characters, a captivating story. I recommend this book.
A beautiful book, running 2 story lines: the story of modern-day Abi, trying to recover from a broken marriage, and Eliane, who joins the Resistance during WWII. Both women find strength and the will to go on, all revolving around the Chateau Bellevue. Sensitive and poignant writing.
I did not intend to read two books set during the same era of WW1 and II but it just happened like that. As I said before each story is so different and so unique, it shows another aspect to these wars so each story is fresh and you do not get bored at all.
Set in two separate time lines, the story of Abi is of the present times and then we go back in time to the period of Eliane Martin and her family in rural France. Abi is slowly recovering from a breakdown of a disastrous marriage. She has the mental and physical scars of the marriage and she is trying to gain control of her life after many years. An offer to work at the Chateau Bellevue is just what she needs and she throws herself wholeheartedly into this new venture. The story of the Martin family, the Resistance in France, the inevitable involvement of the whole family in myriad ways under the very eye of the Gestapo in occupied France is a marvel to read
Fascinating was the daily domestic trivia of trying to survive, of finding food and being permanently hungry. Getting the better of the Germans who occupied their country, whilst at the same time being unable to rebel but having to bow down before them was hard but secretly each one did what they could to help out their fellow countrymen in this dire time.
The story of Eliane, her sister Mirielle, her parents and the life of the entire village as well as the Comte whose Chateau was occupied by the Germans and everyone of these people who had to work for and with Germans was galling. They did so, only with the idea of having access to some kind of information which would be of use to their fellow men.
The story of loyalty is tested over and over again. You never knew who was the traitor within your midst so it was better not to know too much. A story of love which was tested over time in this story and a family which stays united through thick and thin. Abi's survival is also well portrayed in this book.
Totally loved this book. Beautifully written and both characters stories interwoven incredibly well. I loved them both. Did not realise until I had finished that Sara’s story is part of another book which I am looking forward to reading
With thanks to Netgalley and Amazon for ARC in return for an honest review
This lovely story begins with Abi, heartbroken and looking/hoping for a fresh start. She takes on a summer job in rural France in an old Chateau.
She hears old stories from amongst the Chateau, and is drawn to one woman's story from the past.
In 1938, Eliane is in charge of tending to the beehives in the garden of the Chateau. She meets Mathieu and fall head over heels in love for the first time in her life.
France’s eastern border is under war, and the country at war has other plans for Eliane… She is separated from Mathieu in the chaos of the war and occupation of the Germans
With her heart and love on the line, Eliane makes the decision to join the Resistance and fight for France’s liberty.
This is a lovely and moving story of two women, generations apart, but seemingly going through the same with their love, having their hearts broken and torn. Will they both have their love and happiness or will the forces around them tear them apart from where they really wish to belong.
I absolutely loved!!! this book! I could not put it down...stayed up until 2 am one night and 1 am the next one to finish it. The characters were wonderful. They were well developed and the story was one that flowed easily. Sometimes books that go back and forth from the present to the past are hard to follow or keep up with which time you're in. But the author did a fabulous job of making the transition easy. And the connection between the main characters in the two time periods was amazing.
Stories of the Nazi invasion are so moving and this one did a great job of taking you back to that time period and helping you experience the horror, fear, strength, compassion, and need of the people who endured such horrific events. You get a glimpse into how simple people made a difference in the defeat of the Nazis. Very inspirational and encouraging.
I would definitely recommend this book! It is a journey through time and how the characters learn that they are strong and resilient...despite their trials.
Thank you to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Oh my days I LOVED this one, what a stunning read!
Moving between the stories of Abi in Modern day France and Eliane during the Occupation of WW2 this is a beautifully written novel, superbly crafted to bring both women's stories of hardship, courage and resilience to life.
The descriptions are vivid, both of the beautiful surroundings and of the everyday life around the chateaux, the fear and tension of the occupation is palpable and the gentle care of the bee colonies is woven wonderfully into the story. Abi's modern day story is harrowing and gripping but it was the historical story of Eliane and the people close to her that had me gripped - the lengths that these brave people went to to resist their occupiers and the dangers they encountered totally absorbed me - Suspensful, inspirational, heartbreaking and uplifting!!
Huge thanks to Lake Union and Netgalley for the opportunity to read this wonderful novel. Unreserved 5 stars - I will be looking out for more of this authors work.
What a beautiful and evocative telling of two very different stories about two different strong and brave women. Eliane in the war years in an occupied France a sad yet uplifting telling of the terrible events suffered. But also a beautifully descriptive telling of nature of bees of a quieter time. Abi more modern but as strong when needed. Growing stronger in such a beautiful place with the amazing kindness of strangers.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Beautiful summer novel. A delightful time travel to rural France. A mix of emotions and colorful descriptions.
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!
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!
wonderful read that will have you gripped from the beginning. A must read for those who have the slightest interest in the war.
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!
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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!