Queen Bee by Dorothea Benton Frank
Published by William Morrow ISBN 9780062861214
Hardcover, $27.99, 407 pages
After a few detours in her recent books, Dorothea Benton Frank returns to Sullivans Island off the coast of Charleston in her newest book, Queen Bee.
Thirty-year-old Holly Jensen lives with her critical and demanding mother, whom she and her sister Leslie have dubbed Queen Bee, or QB for short (and behind her back). Holly volunteers at the local library while she anxiously awaits for a teaching position to open up at the local elementary school.
Holly is a beekeeper, with a huge hive of bees in the backyard. She uses the honey from the hives as gifts for family and friends. She also has a (not-so) secret crush on Archie, the recent widower who lives next door with his two young sons, Tyler and Hunter. The boys love Holly, and she loves them, often keeping them after school, helping them with homework, and baking them cookies.
The wheels start to come off the bus when sister Leslie shows up with a tale of marital woe. At the same time, Archie quickly marries Sharon, a local dentist and evil stepmother who gives Cinderella's stepmother a real run for her money.
Queen Bee has Frank's trademark humor, with a few scenarios that are downright giddy. We have female impersonators, a trip to Las Vegas, Cher's long-lost "sister" Char, and bees who appear to listen to the woes of Holly and take revenge on her enemy. (I just saw Cher in concert, so I really got a kick out the Char storyline.)
In addition to the humor, there is romance and and pathos. As the mother of two sons (now grown), I really felt for Tyler and Hunter as they mourned the loss of their mother and tried to understand their evil stepmother.
There is also a lot of character growth in this novel, with the Jensen women taking stock of their lives and finding new paths forward.
If you're looking for a good summer read, pour yourself a large iced tea, grab a copy of Queen Bee, head out to the most comfortable chair on your porch, and prepare to lose yourself in sunny Sullivans Island for a few hours.
Dorothea Benton Frank's website is here.
Thanks to TLC Tours for putting me on Dorothea Benton Frank's tour. The rest of her stops are here: