The Beekeeper's Ball: Bella Vista Chronicles 2 by Susan Wiggs
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Description: In this 2nd book that takes place at the Bella Vista Orchard the focus is on Isabel. Orphaned at birth Bella Vista is the only home she's known and her beloved grandparents were all the family she had. Now she is planning her sister's wedding and getting to know a grandmother she never knew existed. She is less than thrilled with Cormac "Mac" O'Neill shows up at her sister's request to write her grandfather's story. She fears what memories will be stirred up for her grandfather and herself. And she fears what she's starting to feel when Mac's around
Why I Picked This Book: I LOVED the first book in the series The Apple Orchard so I couldn't request this sequel fast enough. It didn't disappoint.
Pros: The books starts with Isabel walking in the morning smelling "lavender and sun warmed grass scented air". How can you not love a setting that is described like that? Also, can I get a bottle of that scent? It sounds lovely. This book like the previous book goes back in forth in time. Part of the book takes place in modern day California in a beautiful apple farm full of lovely people. You can feel the sun and taste the honey when Wiggs has us at Bella Vista. It's beautiful and peaceful and warm. This contrasts with the grim hell of the storyline that takes place in World War 2 Denmark. It focuses on Magnus and Annelise and their activities in the Danish Resistance. Annelise's story is absolutely heartbreaking and the bravery of her and Magnus is really stunning. I had no idea how the story of Isabel's father Erik and his parentage would be able to be resolved in a manner that wouldn't be painful but it really was. I liked the introduction of the beekeeper Jaime and am hoping that her story will be the 3rd book. I really enjoyed the ending and was glad that Isabel did what she did in terms of taking control of an issue and being able to let go.
Cons: In the first book in the series and this one Isabel comes off as very kind but somewhat wounded. While the causes of this are talked about in this book it did feel almost like a minor part. Especially given how much of an influence it had had on her life. I think part of this is that Magnus and Annelise's story was so powerful that it minimized the present day stories some. While I loved Isabel and Mac and feel like there relationship would work Isabel is annoyingly dense at times regarding Mac's feelings. He's basically got a sign saying that he's attracted to her and interested in her and she just keeps thinking "Well he's not really because he'll be leaving soon.".
Overall: This was a really lovely book. The modern setting was beautifully drawn and I really felt for the characters' struggle. There is an underlying them of endurance and family that is just really wonderful. While this story is wrapped up nicely a mystery comes to light and the end of the book that is left open. I'm really hoping for a 3rd book because I really want to know the answer!
Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: Yes definitely! I have her earlier books on my TBR list and I'm really hoping for #3 in this series!
Would I Recommend this Book?: Absolutely!