Tag Archives: Magical Realism

Review: Hour of the Bees

Hour of the Bees

Hour of the Bees
By Lindsay Eagar
Candlewick Press (MA), Hardcover, 9780763679224, March 2016, 368pp.

The Short of It:

A debut novel with a sweet story to tell.

The Rest of It:

I suppose this novel is considered Young Adult but the story really speaks to any age, young, old and anywhere in-between.

Carolina is like most teen girls, once summer hits, all she can think about is spending time with friends. This summer is a little bit different. She heads to New Mexico with her family to help her ailing grandfather transition into an assisted living facility.

The ranch has always been a part of the family, but the drought has caused the land to go to ruin, the animals to waste away and what was once a vibrant landscape, is now just a shriveled-up dust bowl. Grandpa Serge does not agree. Although battling dementia, he’s hanging onto the stories of his past, which include his deceased wife Rosa and the bees that literally took the rain away with them.

Carolina’s time at the ranch is short but from the stories Grandpa Serge tells and the curious bees that continue to circle her head, Carolina realizes the importance of family.

What a sweet story. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this one. There is a little magical realism going on, which I tend to have a very low tolerance for, but here, it’s done well and with a very light hand. The author’s description of a land ravaged by drought is spot-on. This is the second book I’ve read dealing with drought and my poor Southern California self is really hoping this is not a trend but honestly, I didn’t mind too much.

If you like stories about family or ones where kids respect and even admire their elders, check this one out. Carolina is a sweet kid and her grandpa is quite the story teller. You’ll breeze through this one in a heartbeat.

Source: Review copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley.
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Review: The Night Circus

The Night Circus

The Night Circus
By Erin Morgenstern
(Doubleday, Hardcover, 9780385534635, September, 2011, 400pp.)

The Short of It:

This novel reminds me of everything wonderful. It’s dreamy, visually stimulating and a real treat for the senses.

The Rest of It:

There is a certain excitement that builds when a circus comes to town, but this is a special circus which comes without warning and only at night. Le Cirque des Rêves (The Circus of Dreams) is a dreamland full of magical experiences. It’s spun sugar, gossamer light…tasty upon the tongue, memorable beyond words. What the participants do not know, is that this is not make-believe magic. At the center of the circus, we have Celia and Marco. Both have been pitted against each other in a duel of sorts. Both possess special talents and one of them must come out on top. The circus is the venue. The performers are real. The choice of what you choose to experience, is yours.

The Night Circus is visually stunning, yet there are no illustrations upon its pages. I’ve never read a novel as atmospherically charged as this one and to think that the world Morgenstern creates, is created with words alone. Amazing. The story itself is somewhat unique and well-crafted but what put it over-the-top for me was just how far the imagination went. Each tent, in its black and white splendor, manages to take the reader to another place. There are tents with nothing but clouds, ice gardens, tiny little bottles of scents to spur memories. There are wonderful confections to enjoy and the sights and sounds of the circus are like nothing I’ve ever experienced. Every time I opened the book, I was mesmerized.

I know I haven’t said too much about the actual story, but you must experience this book yourself and me telling you about it will simply ruin it for you. All I can say is that it was one of those wonderful reads that you drop everything for. It didn’t matter what was going on in my house, The Night Circus had my full attention and I found myself doling it out to myself in little bits to make the experience last longer. You must read it!

And with that, I will leave you with a Pinterest board I stumbled upon. This reader created a board of images while reading the book. I did not discover it until after I finished reading it and I must say, she really captured the essence of the novel. Check it out here.

Source: Borrowed (but I will be buying my own copy soon).

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