8 Books With Bees on the Cover

I follow a number of book reviewers on YouTube and one of them recently mentioned their affection for books with bees on the cover. This captured my attention immediately, because I have the same bias for books with keys on the front, so I decided to keep my eyes open for bee-themed book covers and group them together.

Here’s a list of 8 books with bees on the cover.

1. The Beekeeper’s Secret by Josephine Moon
This book seems to be everywhere at the moment, and I guess it’s no surprise given it was published on 1 April 2016. It’s a mystery novel about families and secrets.

2. The Bees by Laline Paull  Bees by Laline Paull
The Bees is being pitched as The Handmaid’s Tale meets Watership Down and given that the main character Flora 717 is a sanitation bee, and this is the story of her life, I can totally see why. I loved Watership Down this year, so I might give this one a go.

3. The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie R. King
Most Arthur Conan Doyle fans know about Sherlock’s love of bees and fans of TV shows Sherlock and Elementary might enjoy reading The Beekeeper’s Apprentice. Published in 1994, it’s the first in the Mary Russell and Sherlock Homes series, which now has 14 books in the series.

4. The World Without Us by Mireille Juchau World Without Us Mireille Juchau
I think this is my favourite cover on the list. The World Without Us is a story of secrets and survival, family and community, loss and renewal.

5. Hour of the Bees by Lindsay Eagar
This is a coming-of-age story featuring Carol and her mentally ill Grandfather.

6. Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy
I’m a huge fan of the Penguin clothbound classic series, and they offer a beautiful edition of Far From the Madding Crowd in their collection. Having said that, here’s another stunning edition with bees on the cover.

7. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
Probably the most well known book on the list, The Secret Life of Bees is a bestselling novel that was made into a film starring Dakota Fanning, Queen Latifah, Jennifer Hudson, and Alicia Keys.

8. The Bees by Carol Ann Duffy The Bees Carol Ann Duffy #2
This is a poetry collection and here’s an excerpt from the blurb: Woven and weaving through the book is its presiding spirit: the bee. Sometimes the bee is Duffy’s subject, sometimes it strays into the poem, or hovers at its edge. In the end, Duffy’s point is clear: the bee symbolizes what we have left of grace in the world, and what is most precious and necessary for us to protect. Check out the stunning blue hardcover edition.

Hope you enjoyed this collection of books. If you can’t go past a good book list, check out my list of 14 Books With Keys on the Cover.


The Other Side of the World to the World Without Us

Place is conjured in recent Australian literary fiction by Mireille Juchau in The World Without Us (Bloomsbury) and by Stephanie Bishop in The Other Side of the World (Hachette). Australia, in particular, is a land of contrasts with searing heat and cold, and fire and flood. Both these novels establish the effect of place on families and their impact of family and community on each other in these settings. Both these novels paint the major female character as artists having affairs.

Other side of the worldThe Other Side of the World is an assured second novel by Stephanie Bishop, gripping and authentic until perhaps the final coincidence. But England is likened to a ‘land of fairytales … of Hans Christian Andersen and the brothers Grimm… A land of fairies and witches, hedgerows and secret gardens, goblins and magical woods’, so perhaps coincidence here becomes a master-stroke.

When Henry arrives from India (a place also coloured with very different sights and sounds) he is surprised to find that England looks the way it is portrayed in stories. However, he feels displaced, unlike his English wife Charlotte who can’t withstand their transplant to Australia.

Charlotte craves the damp earth, cuckoo calls, foxgloves and hollyhocks of her homeland but finds comfort in Ajax, Kellog’s cornflakes and the Penguin books that she also discovers in Western Australia. Soon she responds to trees: the ‘marbled skin … and the limbs, the branches, all twisted and wrung … [as] the residue of something ancient and explosive and long gone’. She also responds to Englishman, Nicholas, who seems to listen to her and understand her longing.

Stephanie Bishop writes with insight and clarity. Like Mireille Juchau, she references poetry (Henry lectures in it; Juchau’s Jim shares it with his primary school students) and memory and time. Charlotte muses, ‘Events are compressed, days forgotten. In the mind one jumps from one intensity to another, the hours in between elided and lost’.

World without usPainter Evangeline in Mireille Juchau’s The World Without Us, tells her schoolteacher lover Jim, ‘Time isn’t real, only change is’. Her unconventional lifestyle and actions partly spring from her upbringing on a commune, the Hive, but she and her daughters have also been torn adrift by the death of the youngest, Pip. Pip lingered at home after the doctors exhausted treatments, playing truth or dare with her older siblings. Tess always chose ‘dare’, putting herself at risk and finally becoming mute.

Adults and children are lost in The World Without Us. There are unanswered mysteries about fathers and fatherhood and also about the bees whose humming acts as a countermelody to the flitting missteps of the characters. Juchau’s imagery is earthy and often opaque. Writing from multiple viewpoints may cloud the impact of her truths.

Seek out our thriving Australian literary fiction by female authors. It will take you to other worlds.