It's hard to believe that it has been ten years since Penguin published Sue Monk Kidd's The Secret Life of Bees. The novel was one of my top reads in 2002.
In case you haven't yet read this award-winning book, here's the publisher's summary:
Sue Monk Kidd's ravishing debut novel has stolen the hearts of reviewers and readers alike with its strong, assured voice. Set in South Carolina in 1964, The Secret Life of Bees tells the story of Lily Owens, whose life has been shaped around the blurred memory of the afternoon her mother was killed. When Lily's fierce-hearted "stand-in mother," Rosaleen, insults three of the town's fiercest racists, Lily decides they should both escape to Tiburon, South Carolina—a town that holds the secret to her mother's past. There they are taken in by an eccentric trio of black beekeeping sisters who introduce Lily to a mesmerizing world of bees, honey, and the Black Madonna who presides over their household. This is a remarkable story about divine female power and the transforming power of love—a story that women will share and pass on to their daughters for years to come.There is so much to love about The Secret Life of Bees, including the authentic characters, the southern setting, and the deeper issues it addresses (race, religion, parenthood). Although often considered a woman's book, the novel has universal appeal.
Kidd's debut has been a book club favorite for a decade and would be terrific for mother-daughter groups and teen readers as well. To help with your discussion, Penguin has published a reading guide and a Q&A with Kidd. Here's a little-known fact about the book: Pamela Dorman (of Pamela Dorman Books) is responsible for bringing the novel to print.
Giveaway: I am thrilled to be able offer a beautiful, boxed anniversary edition of The Secret Life of Bees (shown above) to one of my readers. Because I will not be doing the mailing, this giveaway is open to only those with a United States or Canada mailing address. Even if you've read the book multiple times (like I have), you'll want a copy of the anniversary edition. To enter, simply fill out the form. I'll choose a winner via random number generator on December 6.