Bees, Honey History and Secrets
Receiving books through the post – whether gifts from friends, review copies or purchases, is always a high point, bringing intrigue and anticipation into the working week (and well as a child-like pleasure in ‘unwrapping presents’). But this week’s book post was better than most – a bright and shiny review copy of Josephine Moon’s The Beekeeper’s Secret. It arrived with wonderful serendipity on the very day that The Republic of Slovenia had proposed to the United Nations as World Bee Day. Why Slovenia? I hear you ask. And ‘Why 20 May?’. In Slovenia, 20 May is remembered as the birthday of one Anton Janša (1734-1773). Considered the pioneer of modern beekeeping, Janša was the first teacher of apiculture at the Hapsburg court in Vienna. He wrote two books on bee-keeping – Discussion on Bee-keeping (1771) and A Full Guide to Bee-keeping (1775). After his death, the Empress Maria Theresa issued a decree obliging all teachers of apiculture to read and use his books. Can it be co-incidence that the central character in Moon’s The Beekeeper’s Secret is also called Maria? My review copy (from Allen & Unwin – thank you) came with a lovely tin of beeswax lip balm and a wee pot of English Wildflower honey – so I will read the book while eating honeyed toast through beeswaxed lips (and with a good slug of tea). I rarely read family sagas or romantic fiction but somehow I’m really looking forward to this one.
Josephine Moon’s The Beekeeper’s Secret will be published in paperback on 7 July 2016 by Allen & Unwin. Watch out for a review here on BookAddiction before that.