"A bravura work that in several ways recalls Carol Shield's The Stone Diaries. What Gail Anderson-Dargatz has achieved is a commemoration of a lifestyle and a collection of characters that live on when the novel is finished."
-- The Times Literary Supplement (London)
"In late summer, hives full of ripening honey emitted a particular scent, like the whiff of sweetness Augusta used to catch passing by the candy-apple kiosk at the fall fair..."
Gail Anderson-Dargatz's beautiful novel is saturated with be lore, rich domestic detail, wondrous imagery culled from rural kitchens and gardens, and shining insights into family and friendship. And at its heart is the life, death and resurrection of an extraordinary marriage. A Recipe for Bees introduces a remarkable and engaging heroine whose quest for love and independence spans a lifetime. August Olsen has attitude, a wicked funny bone, a generous, wayward heart and the dubious gift of second sight.
When her mother dies, Augusta is bereft and without direction until she marries her first suitor, Karl, the shy son of a detestable old farmer. As a young woman with an eye for beauty who longs for affection, she finds life on their remote, rustic farm almost unbearable. When the local Reverend offers occasional afternoon relief from her cloistered existence, she accepts; when another man from the town shows an interest, she feels herself drawn towards him. Eventually, she and Karl and their young daughter, Joy, move on to a farm of their own, and Augusta looks for new ways to assert her independence. It is not until she resurrects her mother's beekeeping equipment that sweet possibilities unexpectedly twist together, the indulgences of youth, and the many delights and exasperations of old age are enchantingly revealed.