For anyone who has ever lived under a domineering mother’s keen eye or in the shade of a sister’s perfect life, have I got a story for you.
Dorothea Benton Frank, the Queen of Women’s Fiction set in South Carolina’s Lowcountry, is back with a new book, QUEEN BEE.
It’s delicious. Mostly.
There are no spoilers ahead and the title is linked to Amazon:
Holly McNee Jensen is a thirty-year-old beekeeper who longs for a job as a teacher at Sullivan’s Island Elementary School almost as much as she longs for Archie, the widowed professor of religion who lives next door with his two adorable sons, Hunter and Tyler.
Problem is, Archie may be Harvard educated, but he’s about as smart about women as a decaying dog turd. So Holly keeps bringing him three-course dinners and her heart on a silver platter. He snarfs down the food but keeps her at arm’s length.
Holly knows she’s not getting any younger, but she’s stuck on the hamster wheel of caring for her demanding, overweight, hypochondriac mother while dreaming of a life she’s too afraid to grab by the balls.
Meanwhile, older sister Leslie has the perfect life. She’s married to a rich man named Charlie, drives a Mercedes, and lives a far different life than demure Holly.
And then all hell breaks loose. Archie starts seeing an oversexed tramp of a dentist despite his little boys’ complaints about her. Plus, Leslie’s marriage appears to be over, as she rolls back home to her childhood bed, and starts sleeping her way through the single men on the island. But when Mama, the Queen Bee, is diagnosed with a life-threatening illness–she wasn’t faking after all–something’s got to give.
What’s a thirty-year-old virgin to do?
This book is a fun romp through difficult family dynamics and affairs of the heart. I love Frank’s voice as an author–she is an engaging storyteller who really understands women and the messes we make of our lives and relationships. Plus, there’s some fascinating information here about bees and beekeeping.
Holly’s relationship with the little boys next door warmed my heart. The small town atmosphere of Sullivan’s Island makes me want to live in a magical seaside town such as this. The dynamic between Holly and her sister and both sisters with their mother makes me want to give this book to my sister to read.
I didn’t even mind the introduction of a couple cross-dressing male characters, although I felt the author was way too heavy-handed in preaching the political correct gender-agenda that has become pervasive today. I much preferred the chapters told from Sullivan’s Island and Holly’s point-of-view rather than those set in the glitzy Gomorrah of Las Vegas as told by Leslie.
I love happy endings and this book did not disappoint. I could have done without the lectures though. The main characters are practicing Catholics, but they seemed a whole lot more like moral relativists.
Foxy Rating Scale – Four out of Five Foxes