Guest Reviewers

The Beekeeper’s Promise – Fiona Valpy (Reviewed by Helen Boyce)

Following on from Helen’s last guest reviewer post for Conrad Jones The Journey (click here for link) and the overall response from Compulsive Reader followers I’ve asked Helen to review a few more books that I am unlikely to get around to reading this year but think that YOU might be interested and so she suggested The Beekeeper’s Promise and here’s her thoughts:

About the bookHeartbroken 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.

About the Author: Fiona Valpy spent seven years living in France, having moved there from the UK in 2007. She and her family renovated an old, rambling farmhouse in the Bordeaux winelands, during which time she developed new-found skills in cement-mixing, interior decorating and wine-tasting.

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, French, Italian, Dutch, Norwegian, Czech, Slovenian, Lithuanian and Turkish.

Fiona now lives in Scotland, but enjoys regular visits to France in search of the sun.

Helen’s Review:  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!!

Unreserved 5 stars – I will be looking out for more of this authors work

Helen’s star rating:

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