The Murmur of Bees: Review

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I finally finish “The Murmur of Bees” by Sofia Segovia. It took me a long time to complete this book, and after reading a ton of reviews turns out it’s a shared experience. Readers loved it or hated it, and it doesn’t seem to be much in between.

Synopsis: Nana Reja, the former live-in nanny and now elder, finds an abandoned baby, surrounded by bees, under a bridge of their small Mexican town. Disfigured (maybe cleft lip?), Simonopio grows up mute but is well understood by his adopted godfather, Francisco Morales, and godmother, Beatriz. The whole Morales clan understands Simonopio is gifted. As time goes on, Simonopio becomes part of the family, part of the home, and eventually the town they live in, Linares, Mexico. Often disappearing into the land, the Morales clan knows all is well as long as Simonopio returns.

This book starts in 1918 Mexico, during the Spanish Flu. I can’t lie; it was difficult to read about an influenza-like illness that forced everyone to abandon the cities and quarantine with family. Sound familiar? 

My biggest issue with the story was the pace; this book was very slow-moving. The characters are interesting, but I was expecting more. However, the writing is gorgeous. The flowery language the author uses paints a vivid picture of the picturesque lands of Linares and Monterrey. Another positive for me, especially as a fan of history, was the Mexican Revolution and the region’s Agrarian Reform as a backdrop. I love learning, so getting to read about how and why this area of Mexico went from a sugarcane producer to a citrus grower was interesting.

3 stars. The characters were great, the backdrop was interesting, but the story was slow to read, and the plot just didn’t come together for me. It was magical, though, especially with Nana Reja being of unknown age and outliving everyone. 

If you read “The Murmur of Bees,” what did you think?

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