Friday, August 9, 2019

Review: The Enlightenment of Bees by Rachel Linden


Welcome to the Blog Tour for The Enlightenment of Bees by Rachel Linden, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!


Title: The Enlightenment of Bees 
Author: Rachel Linden  
Publisher: Thomas Nelson 
Release Date: July 9, 2019  
Genre: Women's Fiction

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.

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.

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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 fluffy, 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 for joining. 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 almost literally be experienced with the senses. 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.



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.

CONNECT WITH RACHEL: Website | Facebook | Instagram  

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  1. It sounds like a very interesting story, Carole. Is it clean?

    1. Hi Kim! Yes, all my novels are clean reads. They do not have overtly faith-based content but all focus on hope, courage and connection with redemptive themes. None contain strong language, sex or violence. Hope you enjoy!

    2. Thank you, Rachel. It's on my wishlist. I also recommended it at my library!

  2. Hi Carole! So glad you enjoyed The Enlightenment of Bees. It's a story close to my heart with lots of autobiographical elements. I was broken up with, chased by a shark, volunteered as an aid worker at the Rozske refugee camp, and the character of Nana Alice is based on my own 92 year old Grandma Sally's late in life romance! Thanks for reading!