This almost started out as one of those novels in which a wannabe writer coming of age goes to a secluded artist community, in this case a honey farm, to overcome what is effectively a bad case of writer's block. She meets up with nine other similar-minded artistic souls and soon they are living the farm life and learning about the birds and the bees in every sense. The first half crackles with energy as the different personalities interact in the remote farm setting, discovering both themselves and life in the field. The second half, however, slows down considerably as the plot follows the seasons and as characters exit the scene. The denouement is a tough one to follow. To paraphrase without giving too much of the plot, it all hinges on whether or not the reader is willing to accept that someone can be led to give up a precious, fragrant rose. There is an interplay of spiritual, religious, cultural, and, of course, apiary influences that are put forward to guide us into this acceptance and it comes very close to being a complete success. And yet, while this ending did pack a punch, I am not convinced I bought entirely into it.
Part 1 of this book was the most beautifully written book I have ever read. It truly moved me, while I learned a lot about bees and nature in such a deep and detailed way.
Part 2 of this book, however, I did not like at all, my reason being for 2 stars only. Part 1 was so great I'm truly upset with how Part 2 went, and the ending just left me hanging. But if the goal of the author was to leave readers feeling empty, maybe as to relate to the characters, then it was most definitely a success.
This book isn't for me, but I do love the beginning and don't think I will ever forget how it was written. I will always remember the style of Part 1.
Thank you for the print copy of The Honey Farm, which I won through the giveaway program on Goodreads.
Lye is a promising writer who weaves an intricate and thoughtful tale about the lives of two young lovers who come from very different backgrounds. The characters are well developed, the scene is scintillating, and the two “queen bees” in the story give every hope for a battle for the throne. However, in the second half, the book just comes off the rails. In an attempt to have you see the story through the eyes of the protagonist, who is having some sort of mental breakdown, the author fails to give the reader enough information to even understand the basic plot. And if that weren’t bad enough, the characters begin acting inconsistently with their character as we’ve come to know them, which is just infuriating. In the end, the reader is left confused and deflated. I believe the author is enormously talented, and I’d give her another shot. I just hope next time she finishes as strongly as she started!
I really enjoyed this book. Cynthia the owner of The Honey Farm, decides that she can get people to work for free by advertising for artist and writers to come to her farm to learn about bees and honey making. They will not get paid but will have free room and board and cooked meals. In there spare time they can work on their art and writing, etc. After several different groups of people arrive after seeing the advertisement they find out the work is a lot more them bees and honey. They have to do a lot of manual labor such as gardening, taking care of livestock, tending to bee hives etc. and don't get much free time. There is no phone reception. There is a payphone that you can use that is a long distance away and you need plenty of coins in order to finish a conservation with your family and friends. Cynthia is a strange lady and has an assistant named Hartford, but needs reinforcements.. Silvia and Ibrahim have a room right next to each other and end up falling in love and having sex. Silvia ends up pregnant and feels guilty because she is from a Christian family that will not understand. Ibrahim is Muslim and is afraid of what his father will think. Silvia is torn about her love for Ibrahim and her pregnancy. Cynthia was in a relationship with a lady named Hillary that resembles Silvia. Hillary and Cynthia get a man sperm donor so that they can have a baby. Hillary ends up falling in love with the sperm donor and leaves Cynthia taking the baby girl with her. When Cynthia finds out that Silvia is pregnant she starts to get real protective of Silvia and the baby before it is born. Eventually all the other guest leave the farm and go back to their homes, but Silvia and Ibrahim stay on. Silvia fills like Cynthia is up to no good and may be thinking of trying to steal her child from her. Cynthia has Hartford paint and decorate the baby's room in pink even though she doesn't even know if it will be a boy or a girl. Also the baby's room is downstairs and far away from Silvia and Ibrahim's room. After the baby is born Cynthia delivers the baby instead of waiting for the midwife to come. I think she might have put something in the milk she gave Silvia to induce labor, so that the baby would come sooner. Cynthia just can't wait. Silvia insist that Ibrahim get the midwife because she doesn't trust Cynthia. She said she couldn't get a hold of the midwife, but she really never tried to contact her. Cynthia takes control of the baby after it is born. She talks Ibrahim into taking Silvia to the closest hospital saying that Silvia is unstable and cannot take care of the baby. Cynthia is hoping to have Silvia committed so that she can raise the baby. Ibrahim doesn't know what to do. The ending is really sad and strange. I am curious if there will be a sequel to this book. There are still a lot of unanswered questions at the end of the story. I read this book in wo days as I could not put it down. A must read. Highly recommend.
Harriet Alida Lye’s debut novel is titled, The Honey Farm. Things are not as they appear on the farm where protagonist Silvia arrives to spend the summer doing manual labor in exchange for room, board and a chance to write. Lye’s finely written prose will delight those readers who enjoy literary fiction. Close readers will revel in the many levels of meaning involving themes of faith, nature, power and control. Silvia seems to have arrived on the set of a bible scene when a series of plagues hit the farm: drought, frogs, lice, water turning red. Silvia finds all kinds of coming of age experiences on the farm, and Lye slowly unveils a story that falls hard by the end.