The Enlightenment of Bees

The Enlightenment of Bees

by Rachel Linden


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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.

“I combed through the pages with delight. This book is going to cause a real buzz.” —Debbie Macomber, #1 New York Times bestselling author

Sometimes a shattered dream leads to an amazing journey.

At twenty-six, apprentice baker Mia West has her entire life planned out: a Craftsman cottage in Seattle, a job baking at The Butter Emporium, and her first love—her boyfriend, Ethan—by her side. But when Ethan declares he “needs some space,” Mia’s carefully planned future crumbles.

Feeling adrift, Mia joins her vivacious housemate Rosie on a humanitarian trip around the world funded by a reclusive billionaire. Along with a famous grunge rock star, a Rwandan immigrant, and an unsettlingly attractive Hawaiian urban farmer named Kai, Mia and Rosie embark on the adventure of a lifetime.

From the slums of Mumbai to a Hungarian border camp during the refugee crisis, Mia’s heart is challenged and changed in astonishing ways—ways she never could have imagined. As she grapples with how to make a difference in a complicated world, Mia realizes she must choose between the life she thought she wanted and the life unfolding before her.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780785221401
Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
Publication date: 07/09/2019
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 31,248
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Rachel Linden is a novelist and international aid worker whose adventures in over fifty countries around the world provide excellent grist for her writing. She is the author of Ascension of Larks, Becoming the Talbot Sisters, and The Enlightenment of Bees. Currently Rachel lives with her family in Seattle, Washington, where she enjoys creating stories about hope, courage, and connection with a hint of romance and a touch of whimsy. Visit her online at; Instagram: rachellinden_writer; Facebook: authorRachellinden.

Read an Excerpt


Early April

The day my world crumbles I am dreaming about pie crust. Cubes of chilled butter, ice bobbing in a Pyrex measuring cup of water, a mixing bowl straight from the refrigerator, a pastry cutter to slice the butter and flour and salt into baby-pea-sized gobbets. A light touch, light as a feather. And honeybees.

Their contented hum is a droning undercurrent to the ting ting of my pastry cutter against the bowl. The air is heavy with the scent of lavender, sharp and pungent from the fields of purple stretching beyond my family's farmhouse kitchen window. One by one bees buzz through the open window and land on the rim of my bowl. I shoo them away. They are fat and slow as they fly off, legs laden with orange saddlebags of pollen, buzzing across the fields and over the silver waters of Puget Sound. On the lip of the bowl where they rested, each leaves a dot of honey that trickles down the glass in a slow golden rivulet.

When my ringing cell phone wakes me, I burrow out from under my duvet with a muff led exclamation and a shiver, scrambling to silence the cheery tune. My room feels like an icebox. I'd fallen asleep reading with the window open, and the wet April air wafts under the curtain, sharp and salty from the sea.

"H'llo," I stage-whisper, not wanting to rouse my housemate, Rosie, who I'm guessing is still asleep across the hall after her late-night performance in a jazz club on Capitol Hill.

"Good morning, Mia. Kate here." The activities director at Sunny Days Retirement Community where my Nana Alice lives.

"Good morning, Kate." I try to match her chipper tone, covering my confusion and erasing the sleep from my voice. I open and close my eyes like an owl; the insides of my eyelids feel like sandpaper. Splayed on the floor near my feet is Mary Berry's Baking Bible.

"Just checking to see if you're bringing baked goods for the residents today as usual?" Kate says in a perky voice.

"Oh sure." I glance at the clock and startle. Ten forty! I was up at four a.m. for my four-hour baking shift at the Butter Emporium, an artisan bakery and coffee shop in historic Ballard where I'm an apprentice baker. On Sundays I deliver our day-old baked goods to Sunny Days.

"Be there in a jiffy." I hang up, already throwing on a plaid flannel shirt over my fitted tee. I rub a smudge of flour off the elbow and twist my hair up into a messy bun. Olga, the Ukrainian woman who cuts my hair, bluntly describes it as "crazy vitch hair" with a disapproving shake of her own militantly subdued blond bob. I think it's more accurate to label it unruly, a disheveled sort of curly, like I'm in a perpetually brisk breeze.

In college my English lit professor told me that my hair was the color of an Irish peat bog stream, which sounded a little insulting until I looked it up. He was right. A rich brown with glints of red and gold, the color leached from the peat bogs. It matches my eyes, hazel shot through with green. Ethan says they're so wide and innocent that I look like a Japanese anime character or a dewy forest creature, like Bambi.

I snatch my phone on the way out the door and dictate a text.

Happy 6 years, handsome! How's the meeting going? Love you!

Ethan's been in meetings all weekend. The Internet start-up he founded with a couple of friends right out of college is potentially being bought by a tech company from San Jose, and the decision makers flew to Seattle on Friday to hammer out the details. And later today, when it's all over, we are celebrating our six-year dating anniversary. At the thought my heart skips a beat. I have a premonition, a shiver of delight down my spine, that today could be a very special day indeed. I am over the moon at the thought of it at last.

With the box of baked goods securely fastened to my white Cannondale, I pedal fast across the north slope of Queen Anne, the genteel Seattle westside neighborhood where I live. Even the chilly gray spring weather doesn't stop me from relishing the speed and the freedom and the feeling of flying, like the gulls that circle high over Puget Sound.

Near the Trader Joe's grocery store on Queen Anne Avenue, a familiar figure is standing on the corner, sporting an afro and a purple T-shirt with a peace sign and the slogan Kindness is Karma.

"Angie!" I wave and she waves back. She's holding aloft copies of Real Change, the magazine pages fluttering in the breeze. Her German shepherd, Cargo, is lying on the pavement at her feet, his nose touching her shoes.

"How are sales this morning?" I ask, opening my pastry box and handing her a mascarpone and strawberry Danish, her favorite.

Angie shrugs. "Good enough. Me and Cargo can't complain."

I place a mini lemon bundt cake in front of Cargo, who wags his tail appreciatively.

Angie and I met a year ago when I started volunteering at Hope House, a women and children's shelter in downtown Seattle. Originally from Florida, she's been living in Seattle for five years, all of them on the street.

"Well, I've got to scoot. I'm late with my delivery today." I scratch Cargo behind the ears and turn to go. "See you around."

I mount my bike, then hesitate, wishing as always that I could give Angie more than a pastry every week. She's making good strides at Hope House, in her AA meetings, and with Real Change, but I wish I could wave a magic wand and untangle the complicated mess of her substance addiction, childhood abuse, family dysfunction, and mental illness. ' "Bye, girl." Angie waves. "Thanks for stopping. See you next week."

Now even more tardy, I pedal fast through picturesque neighborhoods of neatly kept historic Craftsman houses nestled up to million-dollar newly built townhomes, the product of the tech boom in Seattle and the seemingly insatiable demand for housing in the city. Zipping along the peaceful streets, I hum the Beatles' "Love Me Do" under my breath. One of Ethan's favorites. How many times has he sung it to me, strumming his guitar with that endearing smile, slow and sweet as maple syrup?

"Love, love me do," I belt out, flying down the hill toward Sunny Days. For a moment I let go of the handlebars and spread my arms wide, turning my smiling face to the sun as it just barely peeks through the gray clouds. I feel almost giddy with the promise of what is to come, as though gravity itself is lightening, as though any moment I might take off into the air and soar. I have a fabulous feeling about today.


Nana Alice?" After delivering the pastries to the kitchen, I rap lightly on my grandmother's studio apartment door. A moment later she opens it, wheeling into the doorway with her cherry red walker, which she's dubbed Greased Lightning.

"Mia," she says, beaming with delight. "I just got back from my hike."

Nana Alice is my father's mother, and is one of my favorite people on earth. At eighty-two, she's spry and pert, more sugar than spice with her white hair a pouf of cotton candy on her head and her bright hazel eyes fixed on me. Today she is wearing a hot pink Patagonia fleece and yoga pants after her morning hike in Discovery Park with a vanload of residents.

"We saw a seal pup along the shore," she tells me. "They're so cute, look just like puppies, but they carry leprosy. The nature guide told us that. He had very muscular calves."

Nana Alice has lived at Sunny Days for almost four years, ever since my Uncle Carl caught her perched on the roof of her house, cleaning her own gutters. At his insistence she relocated, settling somewhat unwillingly into this gracious and tasteful assisted living residence for seniors. Nestled on the north slope of Queen Anne hill, it's just a mile from her former home, the cottage that Rosie and I currently rent from her for a mercifully discounted price.

"I was just about to make a cup of coffee." She pulls her walker aside and waves me in. "You want a cup before we watch our show? I think we're judging pastry week today, isn't that right?"

Nana Alice and I have a standing weekly date to watch reruns of The Great British Bake Off and act as amateur judges.

"Nana Alice, I can't stay today," I say apologetically. "Remember, Ethan and I are celebrating our anniversary?"

"Oh, that's right." Her eyes brighten with anticipation. "A big day ahead, we hope! Well then, you'd best get home and put on a nice dress." She casts a pointed look at what she refers to as my lumberjack attire. She is a liberated modern woman but was still raised in a time when ladies never went out without a pressed skirt and combed hair.

"Here, I brought you some treats." I offer her a small white Butter Emporium bag, and she peeks inside.

"Ooh, those buttermilk lemon bars are my favorite."

"I made that batch, so taste them and tell me what you think. I think I got the filling right. It's zesty, but the shortbread layer is a little tough."

As I was growing up, Nana Alice was the domestic paragon by which I measured all else. For years she owned a bakery on the top of Queen Anne hill. It was called Alice's Wonderland Bakery and featured a vaguely Carrollian theme with marzipan mushrooms and a stuffed white rabbit with red glass eyes — which was, in retrospect, rather unsettling. As a girl I loved to visit the bakery, where I was assured a free butterscotch oatmeal cookie and a hug from Nana Alice, her apron always floury and stained with vanilla extract. Sometimes she would even let me operate the big stainless steel mixer.

"Tomorrow I've got medical tests all morning," Nana Alice says, folding over the top of the bag. "These will be a perfect treat while I wait."

"Tests for what? Is everything okay?"

She waves away my worry. "I'm sure it's nothing. Just a mammogram and an ultrasound. When you get old, going to the doctor is a full-time job." She sets the bag in the little basket on the front of Greased Lightning, then peers at me searchingly for a moment. "Are you ready if Ethan pops the question?"

I take a deep breath and nod. "Yes, I think so." How could I not be ready? Any qualms I've had about our differing visions of the future I've laid aside long ago. After six years we've learned how to compromise. We're good together. I love him. He loves me. It's that simple.

"Good." Nana Alice nods. She adores Ethan, who charmed her the first time they met by telling her she looks like Debbie Reynolds and bringing her dahlias he'd hand-picked from a flower farm. Still, after six years, even she is chafing at the delay. "If we're not judging pastry I think I'll head to the dining room for tea. There's a piano concert starting right now. The pianist isn't very good but he tries, dear man." Nana Alice zips her fleece and maneuvers Greased Lightning into the hall. "I'll walk with you."

As we amble slowly down the hallway, she sighs. "You know, I envy you a little, Mia. All of your life still before you. You can do anything, go anywhere. That's a great gift. Time and youth and opportunity."

I wince. "Yeah, if I could just figure out what I want to do."

It's a sore subject for me. In the four years since college graduation, I've cycled through a variety of volunteering positions and a few short stints in different careers, but nothing was the right fit. I finally started the apprenticeship at the bakery, but while I adore baking, it just doesn't feel big enough. I want to make a difference, change the world for the better.

"Your parents still hope you'll take over the farm one day," Nana Alice says.

"I just can't," I sigh, feeling the weight of their hopes and bridling just a bit under the gentle pressure.

My parents run an organic lavender farm on the Olympic Peninsula a few hours from Seattle. The setting for an idyllic childhood, but not where I want to settle down as an adult. I don't want to spend my days growing lavender and making honey. I envision a very different life, a life like that of my mother's younger sister, my Aunt Frances.

Aunt Frannie has spent the last twenty-five years crisscrossing sub-Saharan Africa with a small team and a portable dental clinic in a Land Cruiser, reaching remote areas of Africa. Fiercely smart, witty, and independent, she is my hero, living a life so different from my parents' peaceful, ordered existence on the lavender farm.

I want to make the type of impact Aunt Frannie has made on people. I just have to figure out how exactly I can do that in a way that doesn't involve crowns and molars and Novocain.

"I'll figure it out someday, right?" I ask plaintively.

Nana Alice stops and takes my hand, her skin papery thin but her grip surprisingly strong. "My dear girl," she says, looking me in the eye. "Don't be disheartened. You are a smart, gifted young lady with a tender heart. You were made to do good in this world. To love and be loved. Don't you forget it."

I glance away, blinking back the prickle of tears, and nod. She's been giving me this pep talk practically since I was in diapers. I believe her, I just wish I could see the end result of all her faith and expectation.

"I think your concert is starting." I gently place her hand back on Greased Lightning.

The opening strains of "I've Got You Under My Skin" drift across the lobby as we head toward the dining room. Outside the glass front doors, rain drizzles steadily down. It's going to be a wet ride home. An older gentleman in a trench coat and a trilby is just coming in. He opens the door with a gust of cool air, fumbling to maneuver an open red tartan umbrella through the doorway in front of him. Nana Alice stops to let the man cross our path, but he doesn't seem to see us. He gives the umbrella a thorough shake and then furls it smartly, spraying both of us with a shower of raindrops.

"Gracious, watch where you're going," Nana Alice protests.

"Why ladies, my apologies." He peers over the umbrella at us. Under the trilby his face is lined but good-humored, his pale blue eyes sharp. He looks about Nana Alice's age. His figure is lean and he walks nimbly but with a slight stoop. "I didn't see you there." He tips his hat to us. "Albert Prentice. I just moved into 4B."

Nana Alice gives him a startled look. "Albert Prentice?" she says. "I went to school with an Albert Prentice. Eleventh grade at Holy Cross. Sister Mary Teresa's English class. I was Alice Freeman then."

Albert takes a step back and removes his hat, holding it to his chest. "Alice Freeman," he says slowly, almost reverently. "Of course I remember you. We performed a scene from Much Ado About Nothing. You were radiant as Beatrice."

Nana Alice grips Greased Lightning and stands up a little straighter. "Well, your Benedick wasn't half bad either, if I recall correctly." She beams at Albert. "What a coincidence." She pauses. "Are you here alone?"

His eyes cloud. "My wife, Jeanne, died three months ago. Heart failure. And my kids think I can't manage on my own. Sixty years in our home in Laurelhurst, and now here I am." He shakes his head and puts his hat back on. "It's tough to start over at my age."

Nana Alice reaches forward and grips his hand, her gaze sympathetic. "Albert, you are among friends here. You come by my table for dinner tonight. I'll introduce you to everyone."

Albert looks pleased. "It would be my pleasure. Thank you, Alice. That's kind of you." He releases her hand, tips his hat to us, and heads toward the East Wing, his stride jaunty.

When he's out of earshot, Nana Alice shakes her head in amazement. "Albert Prentice. Imagine that. And newly widowed, poor man."

"He's very handsome," I observe. "The ladies are going to swoon when they see him."

Nana nods. "Yes, and he still has his hair." She purses her lips. "He'll be the toast of the town around here."

"What about you," I tease gently. "He seemed awfully fond of your Beatrice."

"Pshaw," she says lightly. "That was ages ago. The girls all liked him, though, even then. They thought he looked like Paul Newman."

"He still does," I say, giving her a sideways glance.

Nana Alice tilts her head with an uncharacteristically coy smile. "I guess you're right," she says. "He does."


You look pretty." Ethan gives me a quick kiss as I slide into his vintage silver BMW idling against the curb.

"And you're very dapper." He's wearing his gray cashmere cardigan over a button-down shirt in sky blue that makes his eyes pop. Is this the outfit of a man about to propose? I can't decide, but he looks endearingly handsome in it.

"I thought we could go down to Pike Place," he says, darting a glance sideways at me.

"Sounds perfect." My heart is beating fast against my rib cage as we head toward downtown Seattle and the waterfront. Pike Place Market is one of Seattle's most iconic spots. After today it may be my favorite location in the world.

I clasp my hands between my knees and try to calm my nerves. I didn't take Nana Alice's admonition to put on a nice dress, but I'm glad I thought to put on waterproof mascara and my new spiffy red pair of Toms canvas shoes.

"How'd the meetings go today?" I ask as we drive down Queen Anne hill.

"Great. They really like the concept and want to move forward on a contract." As he talks enthusiastically about the start-up, I try to focus on his explanation, but I can't stop thinking about what I hope is about to happen.


Excerpted from "The Enlightenment of Bees"
by .
Copyright © 2019 Rachel Linden Rempt.
Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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The Enlightenment of Bees 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
WishEnd 9 months ago
THE ENLIGHTENMENT OF BEES is a story of self discovery as the heroine finds that the life she had planned on has disappeared. She takes a chance to chase a dream, and finds that dreams can change. It's a heartfelt story of facing hard things and finding yourself and love through them. Recommended to women's fiction fans. Mia has always felt that she wasn't quite enough or that her love of baking was enough. She wanted to sacrifice her time and travel helping those in need in some way that would change the world. I think many of us can relate to this. Few of us find that we can do that grand of a gesture, but most of us find small ways we can better the world. For Mia, she has to figure out for herself who she is and what she can do to make a positive impact in the world. I loved how easy it was to relate to those feelings and to her as a character. It was a tough for her to go through―to figure out what she may or may not be cut out for. All the while she faces some heartbreaking situations in the slums in India and the refugees streaming into Hungary. She is still so unsure of exactly what she will do and who she is, but eventually she figures it out. I loved so many of the relationships in this story! There were old friendships and some newly formed. There was family. I especially loved Mia's brother, Henry, and the background noise and dialogue between him and his kids that just cracked me up and that I could relate to as a mother. I also adored her Nana Alice. What a dear, spunky lady. There was also a sweet romance that I felt didn't take over the story, but was a very enjoyable aspect of it. I liked that the story made me think and appreciate the good things in life. So many of us, particularly us women, feel like we need to be contributing in a meaningful way to the world and we don't always see our own roles as mothers or our own talents as doing that. This was a good reminder that we each have our own strengths and can find a way to use those in helping others. There were a few very small things that I didn't feel quite fit the story. Maybe too many perfect endings to tie the story up, and a few other things that I wasn't completely okay with. However, these were minor. There were quite a few poignant moments in this story and little nuggets of wisdom that I loved. Here are a few: When I imagined this trip, imagined a life of service like Mother Teresa's, somehow I didn't factor in the people I would meet. I pictured how I would touch their lives, but I never thought about how they would touch mine. "I think even small things can change the world for good." "Remember, Mia, your place in this world is the space where your greatest passion meets the world's great pain. Go find your right place." "Almost anything can change the world if it's done with love, if you use it to comfort, encourage, or strengthen someone." In the end, was it what I wished for? I thoroughly enjoyed reading this! It's a story full of heart, finding the world is a hard place, and self discovery, with friendships, family, and romance. Definitely a book worth the read and one that would be a great pick for book clubs. I'm looking forward to reading more from this author! Content: References to drug use, heavy drinking, and some violence. Source: I received a complimentary copy from the publisher through JustReadTours, which did not require a positive review nor affect it in any way.
TheBeccaFiles 10 months ago
As soon as I read the premise for this book I was instantly anxious to give it a read. It looked like it was going to be a shocking, life-altering trip for the characters. I’m really sad to say that I didn’t love it as much as I was hoping or expecting, but I know that there are others who fully enjoyed it so I recommend checking out their reviews as well. I was surprised to see it written in the present tense. I didn’t think it would bother me that much but I couldn’t seem to get sucked in. I also struggled with the fact that I didn’t seem to like or connect with any of the characters. It felt more like a group of spoiled millenials on a (PAID) spring break trip with a little community service thrown in instead of a true humanitarian effort. The source of their funding made it more of a vacation than an eye-opening experience to how the other half of the world lives. I didn’t really see anyone taking their trip very seriously. I expected what the characters saw and experienced to hit them at the deepest level of their beings and cause a radical change in how they saw the world. I was hoping that missions would be a part of the book as well but instead I only seemed to witness Mia referring to herself as “Saint Mia” after idolizing Mother Theresa in her youth. It just felt like there were too many missed opportunities in this read and it only seemed to frustrate me more the further I got into it. The characters were too self-serving from cover to cover, and I was expecting a much stronger faith element. I really, truly hate sharing negative reviews but this one wasn’t really for me. Not everyone will love every book they read because we all have our personal tastes, so I recommend checking out some other reviews before making your decision. *I received a copy of this book from the publisher through JustRead Tours. Thoughts and opinions expressed are mine alone.
Randi_AMDFT 10 months ago
Never judge a book by it's cover, but if I were to be 100% honest, it was most certainly the cover of this book that first drew me in. There is something about the imagery of bees that has always had an appeal for me. Thankfully, the story inside was every bit as beautiful as the cover as well. The Enlightenment of Bees follows Mia West as she finds the carefully planned life she'd thought was in the her future got turned upside down. After a series of disappointments, she finds herself following her dream of helping people through a humanitarian trip around the world and trying to discover what she really wanted out of her life. It was a great story of finding ones self, with a hint of romance tossed in too. The first thing that struck me as I began reading this book is that it is written in the present tense. This is not something I see often in a novel and I must admit it threw me for a bit in the beginning. After a few chapters, I found that I was able to get into the flow of the story and didn't find it to be distracting as I had in the beginning. If you pick up this book and find yourself feeling the same, I encourage you to keep reading. The story is so good that by the end, you won't even notice! This book somehow managed to find the perfect balance of a rather lighthearted, summer read while also tackling some pretty substantial issues as well. It was a real eye opening look at the experiences of refuges throughout the world. With such a topic, it could be easy to end up a heavy, depressing read, but in the end I found it to be sweet and encouraging. Though it is from a Christian publisher, it is not overtly religious- brief mentions of faith, etc- so I feel like it could appeal to a wider audience in that respect. Overall, this was great read and one I would certainly recommend. **I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.
AlyssaRossBlog 10 months ago
This was such a lighthearted easy read. It’s perfect for a beach read or a lazy summer, lay outside and enjoy the sunshine, read. It wasn’t something you had to focus on really hard, just nice and entertaining. This is the first book I have read by this author and I completely enjoyed it. I will definitely be looking for more books by her in the future. The writing was warm and inviting, and I felt like I was in the story. I felt like I really knew Mia. I rooted for her through the entire book. I always thought it would be fun to own a bakery, so I thoroughly enjoyed her journey. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a light, clean read. It’s entertaining and satisfying. *Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of the book mentioned above in the hope that I would review it on my blog. A positive review was not required. All opinions 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.*
PianoLady831 10 months ago
The Enlightenment of Bees is different from anything I’ve ever read and I enjoyed it. I loved seeing various parts of the world through Rachel Linden’s eyes and journeying along with Mia in her search for purpose in life. It’s not all light and fluff, however, as Linden delves into some serious and relevant issues. The writing flows easily across the page and a whimsical touch adds enchantment. Many readers will be able to connect with a character who thinks she has a comfortable life planned out and slowly unfolding for her, when suddenly the very framework of that life is torn away – from future marriage to career, and even complications from an illness affecting her beloved Nana Alice. These drastic changes allow Mia’s dreams to resurface and when an opportunity to join a humanitarian team opens up, she jumps at the chance. Some very interesting characters populate this story. The team itself is an eclectic mixture of nationalities and purposes. I was intrigued by the mission’s wealthy and reclusive benefactor, Lars … “Another man with baggage, a man who looks good on the surface but is hiding some flaw beneath” according to Mia. Jazz singer Rosie, Mia’s housemate, and the Hawaiian Kai, with a passion for sustainable urban farming, are appealing characters. I also loved Mia’s relationship with Nana Alice. From the beautiful lavender farms of Washington State, to the slums of Mumbai and a Hungarian refugee camp, the scenes are so vivid that they can actually be experienced. I wished for more character depth from some of the team members, but the refugee stories were very well done and heart stirring. Mia’s emotional coming-of-age journey is eye opening, giving much cause for personal reflection. The Enlightenment of Bees feels more like a general market story rather than Christian fiction, but it helps if you imagine that God is behind Mia’s desire to change people’s lives, guiding and orchestrating the events in her life. That is never explicitly stated, however, and a spiritual connection would have made Mia’s quest much more meaningful and enjoyable for me personally. Still, if you take the book for what it is, The Enlightenment of Bees is a moving, entertaining story. I look forward to more of Rachel Linden’s writing. I received a copy of this book through JustRead Tours. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.
Erin_Slocum 10 months ago
My Thoughts on The Enlightenment of Bees: The cover is so cute! I love it. When I see a cute cover I immediately pick up the book. This is one of those covers and thankfully unlike other books, this cover is not just a lie about the book inside. The book is cute too! Not gonna lie, if my boyfriend of forever had a Tiffany box in his pocket and didn't propose to me pretty sure I might do him bodily harm. Just saying. But maybe not. I mean my husband never got me a Tiffany box or anything close and I was pretty ecstatic to say yes. I'm not a high maintenance gal. Rachel Linden is a new to me author and I'm pleasantly surprised with her writing style. It's a breath of fresh air and a new best friend curled up into a nice book to be read by the roaring fire. Unfortunately, it's August and I'm so not lighting our woodstove so I read this in the air conditioning with a glass of iced tea. One line from this book stood out to me and I wanted to share it. "Life never looks like the pictures." Think about that for a minute or two. Isn't it just so true? In this day and age, people are obsessed with Pinterest and with Instagram or facebook. They want to have what everyone else has because that other person has this or that and perfect life. But life is not like the pictures. The pictures are a quick snapshot of something fleeting. Real-life is behind the scenes. It's not glamorous but it's ours for the taking and it is what we make of it. You can be living in the poorest spot in the world and be happier than the most successful man or the man with the most money who has no true friends and has no clue what happiness really is. Just a great thought to think on. I could expound on it all day. That's just one line from this great book. I think you're going to like it. For me, it's seeing so much of the world that I personally will probably never visit. It's giving me a unique view of the lives and people that I will never meet. Definitely, one I will revisit and think on again and again. So much more than just a cute fluff piece of fiction. I have voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from JustRead Publicity Tours. All views expressed are only my honest opinion. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC regulations.
onemused 10 months ago
Fans of EAT PRAY LOVE will adore this new book that combines travel with finding yourself and love. THE ENLIGHTENMENT OF BEES follows Mia, who believes her life is all set, beginning with the proposal she knows is soon coming from her six-year boyfriend, Ethan. When he is instead holding the ring and breaking up with her, Mia begins to question the rest of her life. And when that is followed by her getting let go from her bakery job (not due to lack of skill but rather downsizing), she needs to really reevaluate. Mia had not always wanted what she now had planned out with Ethan. When she was little, she dreamed of helping people. When her friend Rosie suggests she joins her on a service trip abroad, Mia jumps on the opportunity. Heartbroken and a little directionless, Mia heads to Florida for orientation and then to Mumbai to begin the work of making the world a little bit better. When things take a turn, Mia rolls with the punches, going to help with the refugee crisis in Europe. She finds herself along the journey. With a teammate Kai, Mia may see a new direction for love also. Overall, I found this an enjoyable story about making the most out of life and yourself, the value of helping others, and a little touch of new love. There is sadness amongst the happiness in the book, but it all combines into a lovely story. I would add some light warnings for drug addiction and mental illness (PTSD-like) from side characters. Please note that I received a copy of the book through a book tour. All opinions are my own.
Nicnac63 11 months ago
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
Kelly_Hunsaker_reads 11 months ago
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. 3.5 stars
FadedPages 12 months ago
3.5/5 stars ***I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. I enjoyed this light romance that focused on the main character's life and personal choices while she ventured on a humanitarian trip around the world. Synopsis Mia thinks she has her life all figured out and it's amazing. All that changes in one day when she's dumped by her boyfriend of six years and loses her job she loves at the local bakery. Mia's best friend, Rosie, convinces her to go with her and take someone's place on a last minute humanitarian trip around the world. Along the way she finds out things aren't always what they seem including what she thought her life should look like. Pacing & Points of View The overall pacing of this story was average and the story was told entirely from Mia's point of view. I read it in a few days and believe I could have easily read it in a day without distractions. Characters I really enjoyed reading Mia's story about self discovery and her journey throughout the world. There were a few side stories and characters that I wasn't completely interested in and I felt there was a little too much time spent wasted on the ex-boyfriend. I would have loved if those words could have been better used for more Mia and Kai scenes! The light soft romance between Mia and Kai were my favorite parts. Overall Overall, I really liked this drama filled, world traveling, and non-steamy sweet romance. It's a good read if you're looking for a lighter romance with all the feels and reminiscent of other stories of self discovery. Thank you so much to NetGalley & the publisher Thomas Nelson for allowing me the opportunity to read this digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.
LGHudson 12 months ago
MESMERIZING! THE ENLIGHTENMENT OF BEES by Rachel Linden is mesmerizing! It is a meaningful, coming of age novel that will make you stop and consider your own life choices. I think most of us have struggled with the question of, “What can I do with my life that will truly make a difference in the world?” Linden tackles this question and paints a breathtaking story using beautiful word pictures to describe how quickly one’s life can change forever. Mia has her life mapped out. Perfect man, perfect future, perfect plan ... until it all crashes in one fatal encounter. She has absolutely no idea what to do with her life. She desperately wants to make a difference in her world. She feels limited in her skills yet she loves to bake. Her biggest question is, “How can she change someone’s life through baking?” She is blessed with an opportunity to go on an overseas Humanitarian Trip. The trip is almost overwhelming. She finds herself thinking she is going to change the world but quickly realizes how limited her thinking has been. A coworker in India, Shreya, puts things in perspective for Mia with these comments: “This is real life. If we want to help people, we cannot focus on their problems, on what we can see just on the outside, the garbage and poverty. We must enter into their lives, be a part of their community. That is where real change happens, person to person, day by day, when we live life together.” Once Mia takes those words captive she begins to understand the big picture and slowly begins to see how to incorporate her unique gifts to help other people who are struggling in the world. The people she meets and the adventures she encounters will change the course of her life forever. Mia could not even fathom the “better things” that were waiting for her or how close they were from the beginning. I was provided an ARC of this book by Harper Collins Publishing & NetGalley. The opinions expressed here are completely my own and without influence.
LGHudson 12 months ago
MESMERIZING! THE ENLIGHTENMENT OF BEES by Rachel Linden is mesmerizing! It is a meaningful, coming of age novel that will make you stop and consider your own life choices. I think most of us have struggled with the question of, “What can I do with my life that will truly make a difference in the world?” Linden tackles this question and paints a breathtaking story using beautiful word pictures to describe how quickly one’s life can change forever. Mia has her life mapped out. Perfect man, perfect future, perfect plan ... until it all crashes in one fatal encounter. She has absolutely no idea what to do with her life. She desperately wants to make a difference in her world. She feels limited in her skills yet she loves to bake. Her biggest question is, “How can she change someone’s life through baking?” She is blessed with an opportunity to go on an overseas Humanitarian Trip. The trip is almost overwhelming. She finds herself thinking she is going to change the world but quickly realizes how limited her thinking has been. A coworker in India, Shreya, puts things in perspective for Mia with these comments: “This is real life. If we want to help people, we cannot focus on their problems, on what we can see just on the outside, the garbage and poverty. We must enter into their lives, be a part of their community. That is where real change happens, person to person, day by day, when we live life together.” Once Mia takes those words captive she begins to understand the big picture and slowly begins to see how to incorporate her unique gifts to help other people who are struggling in the world. The people she meets and the adventures she encounters will change the course of her life forever. Mia could not even fathom the “better things” that were waiting for her or how close they were from the beginning. I was provided an ARC of this book by Harper Collins Publishing & NetGalley. The opinions expressed here are completely my own and without influence.
Anonymous 12 months ago
Entertaining and thought-provoking. A great read! Following Mia's post-breakup humanitarian journey, this story brings a message of hope and encouragement even when things fall apart. Through a cast of fun characters who walk through this adventure with her, Mia discovers that her calling is where her passion meets the world's need. Everyone can relate to Mia! Definitely recommend.
sandralb More than 1 year ago
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.
bmrawlins More than 1 year ago
This book lives up the hype surrounding it! I thoroughly enjoyed the story of Mia and coming alongside her during some great adventures. The author does a really good job of transporting the reader to the streets of Mumbai and the refugee camp in Hungary. Mia is on a road to self-discovery after a difficult break-up and she questions what next in her life. The moments of rawness expose many hearts that are seeking their place and purpose. A satisfying read for those interested in going on a journey to see what happens when life doesn’t match our dreams and expectations. I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Annette5151 More than 1 year ago
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
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a wonderful story about discovering your path and making the world a better place in the meantime. Linden writes with such beautiful description that readers can truly imagine being where Mia is, experiencing the things she is experiencing. This book has a smidgen of romance and humor sprinkled throughout, but the heart of the story is surprisingly deep. Thoroughly enjoyable. I received a complimentary copy of this novel via NetGalley and courtest of Thomas Nelson. All expressed opinions are my own.
irishniff More than 1 year ago
Rachel Linden is a wonderful storyteller, which is why I thoroughly enjoyed this delightful journey. The author captures different places and cultures with wonderful descriptions which simply enhanced my reading experience. In a realistic way, the main character seeks to find her place in the world and how she can make an impact. I appreciate the hard lessons and honest realizations that she experiences along the way. The romantic struggle also involves discovery and was a nice touch. The descriptions of the humanitarian work might make some feel a little uncomfortable, but perhaps will help in one’s own quest to discover a way to make a difference in our world. I think that anyone who has found themselves on an unexpected journey will appreciate this book. I was given a copy of this book by the publisher. All opinions are my own.
CindyLovesBooksdotcom More than 1 year ago
The Enlightenment of Bees by Rachel Linden is a delightful story of being true to yourself and finding your place in this world. Growing up on her parents lavender farm on the Olympic Peninsula, Mia dreamed of going out into the world, making a difference, changing lives. As the story begins she is eagerly awaiting a marriage proposal from her boyfriend of six years, ready to put her dreams aside for the security of the future they have planned together. Fortunately life has other plans and Mia finds herself searching for a plan B. An unexpected invitation to join a humanitarian group heading abroad turns into the experience of a lifetime, giving her clarity of everything she is not, and the freedom to be exactly who she is. I began reading this book with the expectation of a sweet romantic boy meets girl story - and there is nothing wrong with that - but this is so much more. Touching on some of the many humanitarian aide needs throughout the world, immigration, social responsibility, and the impact one person can make to assist so many, this book illuminates these issues yet remains a lovely, easy to read story of Mia's unexpected journey to herself. Some books are so well written you experience the story rather than just read it. This is the case with The Enlightenment of Bees. The sights, smells, sounds all come together to bring locations to life; characters are real, each believable with their own personalities, issues, back stories. This is a pleasant surprise given the large, diverse cast. I completely enjoyed this story and highly recommend for anyone looking for a lovely, easy read - with unexpected depth and meaning.