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The Beekeeper's Ball (The Bella Vista Chronicles) Hardcover – June 24, 2014

4.6 out of 5 stars 733 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* The unconscionable incident with Calvin Sharp caused Isabel Johansen to leave culinary school and flee to her family’s home, Bella Vista, nestled in the Sonoma wine country. Isabel continues to hone her culinary skills while turning Bella Vista into a destination for food lovers. She even adds a cooking school and is eagerly planning Bella Vista’s first major event, her sister Tess’ wedding. But Isabel’s hard-earned happiness is shattered when Calvin, now a famous TV chef, chooses her town as the venue for his new restaurant. Things get even more hectic and complicated when former war correspondent Cormac O’Neill comes to town, ready to write her grandfather’s biography, including his role in the Danish Resistance during WWII. As much as Isabel denies it, she’s getting more and more attracted to Cormac, something that’s definitely not on her “to do” list. Wiggs’ carefully detailed plotlines, one contemporary and one historical, with their candid look at relationships and their long-term effects, are sure to captivate readers. The second of Wiggs’ Bella Vista Chronicles, after The Apple Orchard (2013), features a nice bonus: a delightfully unique boy-meets-girl opening. Librarians will want to stay with this entire series. --Shelley Mosley

Review

-RT Book Reviews on HEAT WAVE

"This is classic Wiggs, with its emphasis on the strength of family and friends, and a landscape integral to the plot." –Publishers Weekly

"Wiggs, who is known for her insightful, emotion-filled women's fiction, has again written a tale with universal appeal. The background story of the Danish resistance as well as recipes from that part of the world are a nice touch, and add depth and atmosphere." –Booklist

"This brilliant and epic family drama...fills the senses...courtesy of Wiggs's amazing narrative and supreme skill as a writer." –RT Book Reviews, Top Pick!
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Product Details

  • Series: The Bella Vista Chronicles (Book 2)
  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: MIRA; 1st edition (June 24, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0778314480
  • ISBN-13: 978-0778314486
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 1.2 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (733 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #488,845 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
One of the best parts of this book are the incredible descriptions. Right away we are introduced to Isabel Johansen, an accomplished chef on the verge of opening up a cooking school tucked away in the gorgeous Sonoma Valley. At thirty, she has a loving grandfather Magnus, a recently discovered half-sister Tess Delaney, and a beautiful sun-drenched home aptly named Bella Vista. Not much of a love life, and she likes it that way. Cue the foreshadowing! When the novel opens, she has begun planning and cooking for Tess's wedding, the titular Beekeeper's Ball.

While attempting to transfer a swarm of bees to a new hive, Isabel unexpectedly meets famous war-torn biographer Cormac O'Neill in a misunderstanding that comically culminates in an emergency room visit. He has arrived to write his next piece about Magnus and his experience with the Danish resistance in World War II. Although she is initially displeased with his unintended sabotage of her beehive and his crude manner, Isabel finds herself drawn to his carefree ways, extensive world travels, and devastatingly handsome looks. Things get more complicated when Calvin Sharp moves into town with a new restaurant and her new beekeeper Jamie Westfall is not quite what Isabel imagined.

With the help of Cormac's knack for uncovering truths, Isabel learns more about her grandfather's tragic past, including how he lost his parents and grandfather during the Nazi occupation of Denmark and how he came to meet her now deceased grandmother and another dear friend Annelise Winther. In the present day, the relentless Cormac and the resilient Jamie help Isabel to confront some painful secrets of her own.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the second book in the Bella Vista Chronicles series. You could read this as a stand alone but the book makes more sense if you read the first book in the series THE APPLE ORCHARD before you read this one. THE BEEKEEPER'S BALL is the story of Isabel, one of the two grandaughters of Magnus. Isabel has never been far away from the apple orchard owned by her grandfather and is busy planning her sister's wedding and setting up a cooking school when Cormac arrives to write her grandfather's biography. The novel is about the present day and the grandfather's life in Denmark during WWII. It's a very good book and keeps you interested, especially the parts about WWII. I didn't like the way that the author brought up something right at the end that will lead into another book. I thought that it was handled very abruptly and seemed very fake. Other than that minor problem, I really enjoyed the book and have enjoyed all of Susan's books in the past.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I really enjoyed The Apple Orchard, and have liked most of the other Susan Wiggs books I've read, so I thought I'd like this second Bella Vista book just as much, but I didn't. Not at all. The book was choppy and lacked continuity for me because of all the WWII flashbacks and the never-ending supply of honey recipes. Just when things would start moving along, we were either back in WWII, or another honey recipe would pop up. The flashbacks to WWII were heart breaking, but there were so many of them that at times the present day felt like an afterthought. And I really didn't get the complete obsession with honey when the story takes place in an apple orchard.

For those that read the first book in the series, the main character in this book, Isabel, was just freaking annoying. She dithered around the edges of things for the entire book, right up to the Epilogue. Tess was reduced to appearances as an occasional bridezilla, and Dominic and his kids were basically nowhere to be found. Mac, however, I adored. He was new to the series, and I probably wouldn't have finished the book if his character hadn't been so compelling. Finally, the ending was bizzare. Just seemed like an awkward way for the author to imply that there might be another book in the series. Which, unless it costs much less than the almost $12 this one did, I will not be reading.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
While I did enjoy the story, especially the WWII flashbacks, I was troubled by the characters reaction to the young single mother who wanted to put her baby up for adoption. While assuring her that they would be supportive, they frequently told her that it was ok if changed her mind. Every time the young lady would enumerate her reasons for putting the baby up for adoption, the other women would assure her that she would be a lovely mom and that she could still change her mind about the adoption. For me this sort of spoiled the book.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Though the book was passable, I was disappointed. I generally love Ms Wiggs books, but this one not so much. The Apple Orchard was excellent and I couldn't wait to get the Beekeeper s Ball. It couldn't keep me interested, from the time I got this book on the day it was released until I finally finished it today, I have read six other books. Very large books. In between these books I would come back to this one and then lose interest after a chapter or two. It would have been better as a short story. Not being a writer, I can't say what was wrong with this book that I have not found in her other books except to say it was simply to wordy
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