by Melanie Dugan, published May 15, 2014; UpStart Press
Objective rating: 4.5/5
I was taken in by this eleven-year-old girl whose mother left home without warning and whose father became her sole caretaker. A beekeeper, Nate Singer has to take Lissy out of school when he goes on his rounds for a few days or weeks at a time, transporting his bees in their hives to farms away from home. Most of the trips take place in summer, however, during those memorable bee summers. On these trips, Lissy learns more about bee pollination and meets different people to open up her world even more. She becomes closer to her dad and forms a bond with him and some of his friends.
I was less involved or sympathetic with Lissy the adult, who becomes estranged from her father later in life. Lissy only finds out the secrets of her mother after his death. Call it a cultural thing, but it was hard to make the jump from the young girl to the independent adult who hardly ever saw the father she had been so close to as a child. It was also hard to understand the father who let her go.
The book is inviting and moving in many parts, the writing excellent, and the young Lissy and her father Nate both individuals you could understand and sympathize with during the first part and at the end of the book. It's a bittersweet novel of a girl growing up and dealing with a past, the disappearance of her mother, that has always puzzled and haunted her. I heartily recommend this well written book, one that is very much character driven.
Publisher description: The spring Melissa (Lissy) Singer is eleven years old her mother walks out of the house and never returns. That summer Lissy's father, a migratory beekeeper, takes her along with him on his travels. The trip and the people she meets change her life. Over the years that follow, Melissa tries to unlock the mystery of her mother’s disappearance and struggles to come to terms with her loss.
About the author:
Melanie Dugan is the author of Dead Beautiful (“the writing is gorgeous,” A Soul Unsung), Revising Romance, and Sometime Daughter.
Born in San Francisco, Dugan has lived in Boston, Toronto, and London, England, and has worked in almost every part of the book world: in libraries and bookstores, as a book reviewer; she was Associate Publisher at Quarry Press, where she also served as managing editor of Poetry Canada Review and Quarry Magazine. She has worked in journalism, as a freelancer, and as visual arts columnist. Dugan studied at the University of Toronto Writers Workshop and the Banff Centre for the Arts, and has a post-graduate degree in Creative Writing from Humber College. She has done numerous public readings.
Her short stories have been shortlisted for several awards. She lives in Kingston, Ontario with her partner and their two sons.
Here's the book on Goodreads. You can also link up to the author's website. The book is available for purchase here.