The Enlightenment of Bees
Rachel Linden’s newest contemporary women’s fiction story speaks to the universal struggle of what it means to live a meaningful life where the passions we have meet the needs of the world.At 26, idealistic baker Mia West has her entire life planned out: a Craftsman cottage in Seattle, baking at The Butter Emporium, and the love of her life, her boyfriend Ethan, by her side.  But when Ethan breaks up with her instead of proposing on their sixth dating anniversary (with the Tiffany blue box in his pocket), Mia’s carefully planned future crumbles.Adrift and devastated, she determines to find new meaning in her life by helping those in need. Guided by recurring dreams about honeybees that seem to be leading her toward this new path in life, Mia joins her vivacious housemate Rosie on an around-the-world humanitarian trip funded by the reclusive billionaire, Lars Lindstrom. Along with a famous grunge rock star, an Ethiopian immigrant, and an unsettlingly attractive Hawaiian urban farmer named Kai, Mia and Rosie embark on the trip of a lifetime. From the slums of Mumbai to a Hungarian border camp during the refugee crisis, Mia’s eyes are opened and her idealistic vision is challenged as she experiences the euphoria, disillusionment, and heartbreaking reality of humanitarian work abroad.As Mia grapples with how to make a difference in an overwhelmingly difficult world, circumstances force her to choose between the life she thought she wanted and the unexpected life she has built.

The Enlightenment of Bees Details

TitleThe Enlightenment of Bees
Author
ReleaseJul 9th, 2019
PublisherThomas Nelson
ISBN-139780785221401
Rating
GenreFiction, Travel, Contemporary, Adult Fiction, Adult, Womens Fiction, Chick Lit

The Enlightenment of Bees Review

  • marita lazarus
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you NetGalley and Thomas Nelson for the complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.So let me say it’s an enjoyable read. I’m really rating the book 3.5 star (i just rounded up). This book to me was like drinking a nice cup of coffee on a Sunday morning while sitting on my balcony - comforting and unhurried. The story is about Mia West and her quest in life to find meaning and purpose. Her life was where she wanted it and how she wanted - full o Thank you NetGalley and Thomas Nelson for the complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.So let me say it’s an enjoyable read. I’m really rating the book 3.5 star (i just rounded up). This book to me was like drinking a nice cup of coffee on a Sunday morning while sitting on my balcony - comforting and unhurried. The story is about Mia West and her quest in life to find meaning and purpose. Her life was where she wanted it and how she wanted - full of contentment. A man that she loves, embarking on the next chapter in their relationship and a job doing what she truly enjoys. All until he dumps her instead of proposing, she gets let go and her grandmother - the most important person in her life gets sick. Nothing like your life being turned upside down to make you rethink your childhood dreams for your future. Her childhood dream of owning her own bakery like her grandmother changed to that of being like her aunt and traveling the world on a humanitarian mission - “dream bigger”. Her friend Rosie joined an Intl humanitarian mission and Mia decided to go last minute, sure that this is what she needs. Here she meets various people, all of whom teach her something about life and herself At the end of the trip she comes back changed but uncertain of her life track - until that aha moment when she finds that place where “your greatest passion meets the greatest need” (love that quote). The title of the book stems from her relationship with bees - as they are divine messengers guiding Mia in her dreams and in life (heck me i’d run the other way from bees lol)All in all, it’s a nice read with the ending nicely wrapped up and everyone finding their place. - which as it turns out for Mia, was always right there in front of her - her passion and her gift to making lives better . I hope you enjoy reading it - for this moments when a nice story is what you crave with a sweet ending
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  • Rachel
    January 1, 1970
    I received a digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I enjoyed "The Enlightenment of Bees" - a coming-of-age story rooted in the desire to live a life of service.The plot follows Mia, a young woman from Seattle who embarks on a global humanitarian service trip after the life she had planned falls apart. One of the things I liked most about the book was the way it portrayed the service trip. The characters were very aware that they weren't changi I received a digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I enjoyed "The Enlightenment of Bees" - a coming-of-age story rooted in the desire to live a life of service.The plot follows Mia, a young woman from Seattle who embarks on a global humanitarian service trip after the life she had planned falls apart. One of the things I liked most about the book was the way it portrayed the service trip. The characters were very aware that they weren't changing the world with their service trip, but were doing the best they could with the resources they had. I also appreciated the book's analysis on how to use wealth for global service.The book focuses a lot on the global refugee crisis, and I thought this angle seemed well-researched, which I appreciated. The author's descriptions of cities and cultures seemed authentic and mindful of different world cultures, and as someone who loves travel I enjoyed reading them.I also really liked Mia as a character. I thought she was well-drawn and seemed genuine. The other characters weren't quite as fleshed out, and a few aspects of their personalities seemed too far-fetched or unrealistic; however, as a whole, the characters worked well together to achieve the book's purpose. I came away from the book inspired, particularly by the line "your purpose is where your greatest passion meets the world's greatest pain."
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  • Melissa
    January 1, 1970
    “Remember, Mia, your place in this world is the space where your greatest passion meets the world’s great pain,” she says firmly. “Go now and find that place.”I really loved this book. There are some parts that are a bit difficult to believe, like the whole Lars scenario, but overall the plot is meaningful and really made me think. I especially appreciated the parts that deal with voluntourism--which is what most humanitarian or mission trips turn out to be. They aren't lasting changes that will “Remember, Mia, your place in this world is the space where your greatest passion meets the world’s great pain,” she says firmly. “Go now and find that place.”I really loved this book. There are some parts that are a bit difficult to believe, like the whole Lars scenario, but overall the plot is meaningful and really made me think. I especially appreciated the parts that deal with voluntourism--which is what most humanitarian or mission trips turn out to be. They aren't lasting changes that will make a difference in the peoples' lives, they are a drop in, feed them pancakes and play soccer, and leave. The "tourist" feels good for having done something, but it's not real. I have long felt like these types of trips need to change, relationships with people in other countries need to change. Getting off my soapbox for now but this book brought out a lot of issues with this...This book is a great combination of topics that resonated with me as a reader. I hope that readers interested in a book with a deeper message about things we don't often think about will pick this one up. I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book, all opinions are my own.
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  • Susan Peterson
    January 1, 1970
    The Enlightenment of Bees is a heartwarming story about a young woman’s quest to find out who she is, and how she can use her skills and passion to make a difference in the world. In a matter of days, Mia loses both her boyfriend and her job, leaving her lost and confused. She embarks on a humanitarian mission that takes her to the slums of India and to a refugee camp in Hungary. The author did a wonderful job of placing me in those places, feeling the despair, the poverty, the distress. Mia was The Enlightenment of Bees is a heartwarming story about a young woman’s quest to find out who she is, and how she can use her skills and passion to make a difference in the world. In a matter of days, Mia loses both her boyfriend and her job, leaving her lost and confused. She embarks on a humanitarian mission that takes her to the slums of India and to a refugee camp in Hungary. The author did a wonderful job of placing me in those places, feeling the despair, the poverty, the distress. Mia was a fascinating character, and watching her grow throughout her journey touched my heart.
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  • BookishLor
    January 1, 1970
    3.5/5 stars***I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.I enjoyed this light romance that focused on the main character's life and personal choices while she ventured on a humanitarian trip around the world. SynopsisMia thinks she has her life all figured out and it's amazing. All that changes in one day when she's dumped by her boyfriend of six years and loses her job she loves at the local bakery. Mia's best friend, Rosie, convinces h 3.5/5 stars***I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.I enjoyed this light romance that focused on the main character's life and personal choices while she ventured on a humanitarian trip around the world. SynopsisMia thinks she has her life all figured out and it's amazing. All that changes in one day when she's dumped by her boyfriend of six years and loses her job she loves at the local bakery. Mia's best friend, Rosie, convinces her to go with her and take someone's place on a last minute humanitarian trip around the world. Along the way she finds out things aren't always what they seem including what she thought her life should look like. Pacing & Points of ViewThe overall pacing of this story was average and the story was told entirely from Mia's point of view. I read it in a few days and believe I could have easily read it in a day without distractions.CharactersI really enjoyed reading Mia's story about self discovery and her journey throughout the world. There were a few side stories and characters that I wasn't completely interested in and I felt there was a little too much time spent wasted on the ex-boyfriend. I would have loved if those words could have been better used for more Mia and Kai scenes! The light soft romance between Mia and Kai were my favorite parts.OverallOverall, I really liked this drama filled, world traveling, and non-steamy sweet romance. It's a good read if you're looking for a lighter romance with all the feels and reminiscent of other stories of self discovery. Thank you so much to NetGalley & the publisher Thomas Nelson for allowing me the opportunity to read this digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Carrie
    January 1, 1970
    This book HITS THE SPOT!! It’s so refreshing!! ✅ plot moves quickly. ✅ I’m invested in the characters. ✅ great use of foreshadowing with just enough tension✅Believable dialogue. ✅ Interesting setting I give it an A+! ————I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.——#enlightenmentofbees #netgalley #reviewathon #bookshark #booksharks #bookstagram #booklove #summerreading This book HITS THE SPOT!! It’s so refreshing!! ⁣✅ plot moves quickly. ⁣✅ I’m invested in the characters. ⁣✅ great use of foreshadowing with just enough tension⁣✅Believable dialogue. ⁣✅ Interesting setting ⁣⁣I give it an A+! ⁣————⁣I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.⁣——⁣#enlightenmentofbees #netgalley #reviewathon #bookshark #booksharks #bookstagram #booklove #summerreading
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  • Lisa Hudson
    January 1, 1970
    MESMERIZING!THE ENLIGHTENMENT OF BEES by Rachel Linden is mesmerizing! It is a meaningful, coming of age novel that will make you stop and consider your own life choices. I think most of us have struggled with the question of, “What can I do with my life that will truly make a difference in the world?” Linden tackles this question and paints a breathtaking story using beautiful word pictures to describe how quickly one’s life can change forever.Mia has her life mapped out. Perfect man, perfect f MESMERIZING!THE ENLIGHTENMENT OF BEES by Rachel Linden is mesmerizing! It is a meaningful, coming of age novel that will make you stop and consider your own life choices. I think most of us have struggled with the question of, “What can I do with my life that will truly make a difference in the world?” Linden tackles this question and paints a breathtaking story using beautiful word pictures to describe how quickly one’s life can change forever.Mia has her life mapped out. Perfect man, perfect future, perfect plan ... until it all crashes in one fatal encounter. She has absolutely no idea what to do with her life. She desperately wants to make a difference in her world. She feels limited in her skills yet she loves to bake. Her biggest question is, “How can she change someone’s life through baking?” She is blessed with an opportunity to go on an overseas Humanitarian Trip. The trip is almost overwhelming. She finds herself thinking she is going to change the world but quickly realizes how limited her thinking has been. A coworker in India, Shreya, puts things in perspective for Mia with these comments:“This is real life. If we want to help people, we cannot focus on their problems, on what we can see just on the outside, the garbage and poverty. We must enter into their lives, be a part of their community. That is where real change happens, person to person, day by day, when we live life together.”Once Mia takes those words captive she begins to understand the big picture and slowly begins to see how to incorporate her unique gifts to help other people who are struggling in the world. The people she meets and the adventures she encounters will change the course of her life forever. Mia could not even fathom the “better things” that were waiting for her or how close they were from the beginning. I was provided an ARC of this book by Harper Collins Publishing & NetGalley. The opinions expressed here are completely my own and without influence.
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  • Laura Anderson
    January 1, 1970
    Calling all fans of The Great British Baking Show! (Even better if you also love Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, and Won't You Be My Maybe.) You will love this book about baking, international travel, and trying to make the world a better place. *I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review*Here's the plot: Apprentice baker Mia's life in Seattle is turned upside down when her long-time boyfriend dumps her instead of proposing. In a whirlwind, she joins a global mission team to do some Calling all fans of The Great British Baking Show! (Even better if you also love Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, and Won't You Be My Maybe.) You will love this book about baking, international travel, and trying to make the world a better place. *I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review*Here's the plot: Apprentice baker Mia's life in Seattle is turned upside down when her long-time boyfriend dumps her instead of proposing. In a whirlwind, she joins a global mission team to do some good in the world. Her journey takes her from the slums of India to the middle of the refugee crisis in Hungary as she meets people who change her ideas of what it means to help others, and how she, personally, can improve the world around her.This book was soooo good. The author's personal experience in international travel was evident on every single page, as I was sunk into the sights, sounds, smells, and streets of other countries. The world was so vivid, it's like the book turned clear crystal blue on the Florida islands, a rich sepia in India, and a gray-green in Hungary. I could taste the food and smell the spices. What a treat for someone stuck in her living room in Pittsburgh!I felt so seen, as the book addressed something I think about all the time- how can I improve the global community when I'm just a little person in my home in Pittsburgh? Can I really make a difference? Do my gifts matter? Mia's journey was so reflective of my own journey, as well as the journey of many other people my age, who see the world as a beautiful but broken place and often feel helpless in the face of such pain. But MY GOODNESS the hope that is spoken on every page of this book! The Enlightenment of Bees offers hope without sugar-coating the truth. Yes, it shows need, but more than that, it highlights the good people of the world and empowers the reader to become one of those. And I have to mention the characters: charming, true-to-life... each one is fully developed, with their own story and life. The love story is charming, the friendship story is relateable in the best ways, and Mia is somebody you are happy to spend a whole book with! Like great pastry, The Enlightenment of Bees was sweet but not cloying, light but rich, fun but satisfying. What a treat! I feel so full of good things.
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  • The Bookend Diner
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to Thomas Nelson books for gifting me an advanced reader copy of the Enlightenment of Bees by Rachel Linden.Have you ever read a book that felt as if it were just destined for you to read it at that particular time in your life? If you haven’t, well I hope that one day you will because it’s almost… magical. If you have, then you know exactly what I’m talking about when I say that this book, The Enlightenment of Bees fell into my lap at a point in time that I really needed something upl Thank you to Thomas Nelson books for gifting me an advanced reader copy of the Enlightenment of Bees by Rachel Linden.Have you ever read a book that felt as if it were just destined for you to read it at that particular time in your life? If you haven’t, well I hope that one day you will because it’s almost… magical. If you have, then you know exactly what I’m talking about when I say that this book, The Enlightenment of Bees fell into my lap at a point in time that I really needed something uplifting. I fell head over heels in love with this story and found Mia West to be a remarkably inspiring character. But, really author Rachel Linden is the one who deserves all of the praise for her masterfully crafted book about how when life goes all the wrong ways that there are ways to make everything right, again. I felt as if I were walking along with Mia through the slums of Mumbai. I could feel the astonishment in Mia’s realization that the world is not as she always pictured it. My heart broke for the families in the Hungarian border camp as Mia fought to help them begin their new lives; I found this to be a particularly poignant part of the story because, on some level, this hits a little close to home. For me, the sign of a truly beautiful book is when it inspires you to do better, to be better and to see the world in a different light. While I don’t think I’m quite ready to travel around the world with a humanitarian group funded by a reclusive billionaire; I do think that I can think of ways to help my community and to start small. As this book taught me, what you do doesn’t have to be some huge act of good… " In the right hands, a cookie or a pie or a biscuit can change the world. It’s not about the baked goods, it’s about your heart. Almost anything can change the world if it’s done with love if you use it to comfort, encourage, or strengthen someone.” Figure out how to make what you love, change the world and then go for it. is available now and I encourage you to add it to your summer reading list, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.Thank you, again, to Thomas Nelson for the advanced reader copy but thank you, most of all, to Rachel Linden for writing such a beautiful story.
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  • Rebecca
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to the publisher, via Netgalley, for an advance e-galley for honest review.I don't want to call this a light or easy read because the story does attempt to tackle some big issues and human rights crises, but it didn't have a hard-hitting tone to it, and moved pretty quickly. It felt a little moralistic, but I think the ultimate theme and message of using your own passions to make an impact on the world was worth the read.
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  • Kara
    January 1, 1970
    I understood all too well all the indescribable feelings of visiting another culture for the first time and being faced with all the needs you aren’t certain how to handle. Review to come!
  • Sandra
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you NetGalley and Thomas Nelson for the complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.I originally gravitated to this book due to the description. The main character, Mia West, seemed to be at a standstill in life—much like I am in my own life—and I was eager to see if I could find a new “path” for myself through the character’s journey. The story for me was enjoyable…for the most part. I had just finished reading another Syrian refugee story the Thank you NetGalley and Thomas Nelson for the complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.I originally gravitated to this book due to the description. The main character, Mia West, seemed to be at a standstill in life—much like I am in my own life—and I was eager to see if I could find a new “path” for myself through the character’s journey. The story for me was enjoyable…for the most part. I had just finished reading another Syrian refugee story the day before, so I had greater context of the situation as this story’s plot unfolded. Generally, I liked the characters that made up Team Caritas and the ways in which they all vastly differed from one another, although they could have used a bit more development. As far as Humanitas Foundation goes, I’ve never been on a humanitarian expedition personally, so I am not sure how realistic that program was. If I’m being honest, I wasn’t sold on the idea and felt it sounded a bit like a sham. Then again, the characters seemed to express those concerns a few times, as well. The writing style itself irritated me (I don’t think "juvenile" is the right word, but something about it didn’t jive with me) and there were points in the story that seemed a bit rushed. Maybe it just comes down to “reader’s preference,” though.I do want to highlight a few strengths of the novel. Firstly, the relationship between Mia and her grandmother, Nana Alice, was beautiful. I loved the playful dialogue between them and the bond they shared. It was relatable and pulled at my heartstrings. There was a strength that Mia possesses near the end of the novel drawn from Nana Alice’s own life achievements and passions; and I greatly admired that. Additionally, the scenes at the refugee camp were well-written and depicted what was (and is) occurring. I liked the focus on the refugees’ stories and how their journeys, conflicts, pain, and hope affect and ultimately change the lives of the Humanitas volunteers.I finished this novel in a day, and for a quick read, it was fine. I wouldn’t say I made a significant self-discovery during it, but there were a couple of quotes that resonated with me and have inspired me to find my own life’s purpose. Good story for someone trying to figure it all out.
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  • Bethany
    January 1, 1970
    Mia has always dreamed of making a difference in the world-- just like Mother Theresa. But when her boyfriend of six years breaks up with her, she loses her job, and Nana Alice is diagnosed with cancer, she decides to go on a spur-of-the-moment humanitarian aid adventure. However, the trip doesn't go as planned either... she really doesn't seem to be cut out for the whole Mother Theresa gig. But then what is the meaning of her life? What will she do with her remaining decades... she's not even 3 Mia has always dreamed of making a difference in the world-- just like Mother Theresa. But when her boyfriend of six years breaks up with her, she loses her job, and Nana Alice is diagnosed with cancer, she decides to go on a spur-of-the-moment humanitarian aid adventure. However, the trip doesn't go as planned either... she really doesn't seem to be cut out for the whole Mother Theresa gig. But then what is the meaning of her life? What will she do with her remaining decades... she's not even 30 yet?! How can she make the world a better place if she's a terrible Saint Mia? The Enlightenment of Bees is an important story at its core. However, I feel like the execution is only mediocre. Despite the fact that it's an adventure story full of travel, excitement, and romance, Linden has crafted a tale of inner growth, and that that journey makes for not very interesting reading. The growth that Mia experiences is important, but the way Linden goes about telling that story isn't very entertaining.
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  • Janet
    January 1, 1970
    I received a DIGITAL Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do 😸. Sometimes a shattered dream leads to an amazing journey. At twenty-six, apprentice baker Mia West has her entire life planned out: a Craftsman cottage in Seattle, a job baking at The Butter Emporium, and her first love, her boyfriend Ethan, by her side. But when I received a DIGITAL Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do 😸. Sometimes a shattered dream leads to an amazing journey. At twenty-six, apprentice baker Mia West has her entire life planned out: a Craftsman cottage in Seattle, a job baking at The Butter Emporium, and her first love, her boyfriend Ethan, by her side. But when Ethan declares he “needs some space,” Mia’s carefully planned future crumbles. Feeling adrift, Mia joins her vivacious housemate Rosie on a humanitarian trip around the world funded by a reclusive billionaire. Along with a famous grunge rock star, a Rwandan immigrant, and an unsettlingly attractive Hawaiian urban farmer named Kai, Mia and Rosie embark on the adventure of a lifetime.From the slums of Mumbai to a Hungarian border camp during the refugee crisis, Mia’s heart is challenged and changed in astonishing ways/ways she never could have imagined. As she grapples with how to make a difference in a complicated world, Mia realizes she must choose between the life she thought she wanted and the life unfolding before her.In a romantic adventure across the globe, The Enlightenment of Bees beautifully explores what it means to find the sweet spot in life where our greatest passions meet the world’s great need.This was a great book - I fell in love with Mia and Rosie from the get-go and their adventures were funny and heartbreaking at the same time. (that cottage in Seattle? If they are gone, when can I move in??) The story was a joy to read and I thoroughly enjoyed it from page one to last. If you are looking for a good read, this is a book to recommend to all of your fellow readers, although some of the situations they ran into are not for the faint of heart. As always, I try to find a reason to not rate with stars as I love emojis (outside of their incessant use by Millenials on Instagram and Twitter) so let's give it 🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝This paragraph? Sigh“It’s okay,” he says. “I like you too.” And then he kisses me. He tastes of green grass and something spicy, like chai tea, and his mouth is warm and gentle on mine. Our kiss deepens. Good heavens, he knows what he’s doing. I forget where we are and wrap my arms around his neck, standing on tiptoe to reach his lips. I’ve only kissed one man for the past six years. Kissing Ethan was comfortable, sweet like a butterscotch candy. Kissing Kai makes me feel like I’m falling through space into a deep pile of feather pillows. I could fall forever.
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  • Angela Walker
    January 1, 1970
    I borrowed this audiobook from my library via the Hoopla app. Mia has always dreamed of traveling the world and making a difference like her Aunt who offers dental services in Africa. When Mia's boyfriend of 6 years dumps her and she loses her job in the same week its like God is giving her a sign. Mia enrolls in a humanitarian trip with her roommate Rosie and they are immediately off of their adventure of travel and helping others.Through the whole book Mia is discovering things about herself. I borrowed this audiobook from my library via the Hoopla app. Mia has always dreamed of traveling the world and making a difference like her Aunt who offers dental services in Africa. When Mia's boyfriend of 6 years dumps her and she loses her job in the same week its like God is giving her a sign. Mia enrolls in a humanitarian trip with her roommate Rosie and they are immediately off of their adventure of travel and helping others.Through the whole book Mia is discovering things about herself. Her confidence, her passion, what she's willing to do, her motivation. The world was wonderfully described. I can fully imagine the clustered adrenaline driving thru Mumbai and trying different foods for the first time. I've never been out of the continental US but I have befriended foreigners from around the world where they have described life back home. Descriptions of the setting were beautifully done from social media snapshots to meeting immigrants.The struggle Mia has wondering if what she is doing is making a difference. She thought she wanted to be a saint like Mother Theresa. Change the world, help others in need. In Mumbai she made pancakes. Although making a baked treat happens to be Mia's specialty, is talking to a group of kids for a couple of minutes going to make an impact globally? Mia's experience in Hungary was vastly different but she was ill-equipped and unprepared for her tasks, although she did them wholeheartedly to the best of her ability. The experience was devastating. The need was evident but she felt like she wasn’t enough in the short time they were there.There is love in the book, although its not a love story. Love between family and wanting what's best for them. Love between friends and supporting each other. Love interests and realizing its okay to want different things and have different goals.
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  • Cindy
    January 1, 1970
    The Enlightenment of Bees by Rachel Linden is a delightful story of being true to yourself and finding your place in this world. Growing up on her parents lavender farm on the Olympic Peninsula, Mia dreamed of going out into the world, making a difference, changing lives. As the story begins she is eagerly awaiting a marriage proposal from her boyfriend of six years, ready to put her dreams aside for the security of the future they have planned together. Fortunately life has other plans and Mia The Enlightenment of Bees by Rachel Linden is a delightful story of being true to yourself and finding your place in this world. Growing up on her parents lavender farm on the Olympic Peninsula, Mia dreamed of going out into the world, making a difference, changing lives. As the story begins she is eagerly awaiting a marriage proposal from her boyfriend of six years, ready to put her dreams aside for the security of the future they have planned together. Fortunately life has other plans and Mia finds herself searching for a plan B. An unexpected invitation to join a humanitarian group heading abroad turns into the experience of a lifetime, giving her clarity of everything she is not, and the freedom to be exactly who she is.I began reading this book with the expectation of a sweet romantic boy meets girl story - and there is nothing wrong with that - but this is so much more.Touching on some of the many humanitarian aide needs throughout the world, immigration, social responsibility, and the impact one person can make to assist so many, this book illuminates these issues yet remains a lovely, easy to read story of Mia's unexpected journey to herself.Some books are so well written you experience the story rather than just read it. This is the case with The Enlightenment of Bees. The sights, smells, sounds all come together to bring locations to life; characters are real, each believable with their own personalities, issues, back stories. This is a pleasant surprise given the large, very diverse cast.I completely enjoyed this story and highly recommend for anyone looking for a lovely, easy read - with unexpected depth and meaning.
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  • Karen R
    January 1, 1970
    I enjoyed this book a lot, especially the various settings across the globe. Loved all the referrals to local landmarks in Seattle and Sequim too. The lavender farms in that area are lovely when in bloom! The writing flowed really well, and carried the storyline seamlessly through all the travel segments. It reads more like a clean, general fiction book, kind of a coming of age type storyline. There was little to no spiritual content. It would have given the story more meaning if there had been I enjoyed this book a lot, especially the various settings across the globe. Loved all the referrals to local landmarks in Seattle and Sequim too. The lavender farms in that area are lovely when in bloom! The writing flowed really well, and carried the storyline seamlessly through all the travel segments. It reads more like a clean, general fiction book, kind of a coming of age type storyline. There was little to no spiritual content. It would have given the story more meaning if there had been a little, even just on a personal level. Doing service projects apart from faith seems rather pointless, and finding one's purpose in life before agreeing to marry someone seemed a bit selfish. I guess for some people marriage would be smothering that way though if they had their heart set on a different dream. If you love someone enough to marry them and start a family, there will always be the need for some sacrifice. I liked the wrap up though and how Mia used her experience combined with her gifts to help others. The refugee crisis is certainly a relevant topic today. An eye opening book. 4.5 stars
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  • Catherine Faulkenburg
    January 1, 1970
    I was lucky enough to be selected as a part of the launch team for this book and I really enjoyed it! The writing is very descriptive as far as the sights and sounds (and also the smells and tastes in this one, LOL.) I thought that the characterizations were great. I especially liked the character of Nana Alice. I wish my grandmother had been around into my adult life! I thought that the book had kind of a Wizard of Oz feel to it, you know at the end when Dorothy says, “if I ever go looking for I was lucky enough to be selected as a part of the launch team for this book and I really enjoyed it! The writing is very descriptive as far as the sights and sounds (and also the smells and tastes in this one, LOL.) I thought that the characterizations were great. I especially liked the character of Nana Alice. I wish my grandmother had been around into my adult life! I thought that the book had kind of a Wizard of Oz feel to it, you know at the end when Dorothy says, “if I ever go looking for my heart again I will look in my own front yard?” Because Mia’s heart was definitely at home, she just had to go all over the world to find it! I’d recommend this book if you’re a fan of Sarah Addison Allen, the settings are different but the themes are similar. I look forward to reading other books by Rachel Linden in the future!
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  • Brooke Nuzie
    January 1, 1970
    This story is Legally Blonde meets Eat Pray Love. The book was very well written and enjoyable, which got it 4 stars, but wasn’t quite my type of book. While I related to Mia because I love baking and have zero clue what I’m doing with my life, I’m not the biggest fan of coming-of-age finding-myself novels. And I loved Kai, but don’t think every time a girl finds herself she also needs to find a man in the process. That being said, if those are your jam you will love this one!I received a compli This story is Legally Blonde meets Eat Pray Love. The book was very well written and enjoyable, which got it 4 stars, but wasn’t quite my type of book. While I related to Mia because I love baking and have zero clue what I’m doing with my life, I’m not the biggest fan of coming-of-age finding-myself novels. And I loved Kai, but don’t think every time a girl finds herself she also needs to find a man in the process. That being said, if those are your jam you will love this one!I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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  • Mitzi
    January 1, 1970
    I enjoyed this new release from Rachel Linden. It was quite a journey for young Mia West trying to find her purpose in life. Life doesn't always work out how we have it envisioned in our minds, but if we are willing to see things differently, we can get where we are supposed to be. This book shows that following your dreams can be a wonderful thing and doesn't always lead you where you thought you were going but where you were intended to be...great read!* NetGalley provided an ARC for my honest I enjoyed this new release from Rachel Linden. It was quite a journey for young Mia West trying to find her purpose in life. Life doesn't always work out how we have it envisioned in our minds, but if we are willing to see things differently, we can get where we are supposed to be. This book shows that following your dreams can be a wonderful thing and doesn't always lead you where you thought you were going but where you were intended to be...great read!* NetGalley provided an ARC for my honest opinion. The above is my honest opinion.
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  • Courtney LaShea
    January 1, 1970
    This is a wonderful story about discovering your path and making the world a better place in the meantime. Linden writes with such beautiful description that readers can truly imagine being where Mia is, experiencing the things she is experiencing. This book has a smidgen of romance and humor sprinkled throughout, but the heart of the story is surprisingly deep. Thoroughly enjoyable.I received a complimentary copy of this novel via NetGalley and courtesy of Thomas Nelson. All expressed opinions This is a wonderful story about discovering your path and making the world a better place in the meantime. Linden writes with such beautiful description that readers can truly imagine being where Mia is, experiencing the things she is experiencing. This book has a smidgen of romance and humor sprinkled throughout, but the heart of the story is surprisingly deep. Thoroughly enjoyable.I received a complimentary copy of this novel via NetGalley and courtesy of Thomas Nelson. All expressed opinions are my own.
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  • Karen
    January 1, 1970
    Mia West is a 26 year old baker living in Seattle, Washington. Having grown up on a small lavender farm, Mia dreamed of traveling the world and helping others less fortunate. She never knew exactly how she’d become Saint Mia but was confident that when the time was right, her meaningful path would be revealed. When her boyfriend Ethan unexpectedly ends their 6 year relationship, Mia is given the opportunity of a lifetime. Reclusive billionaire Lars Lindstrom lives on an island in the Florida Key Mia West is a 26 year old baker living in Seattle, Washington. Having grown up on a small lavender farm, Mia dreamed of traveling the world and helping others less fortunate. She never knew exactly how she’d become Saint Mia but was confident that when the time was right, her meaningful path would be revealed. When her boyfriend Ethan unexpectedly ends their 6 year relationship, Mia is given the opportunity of a lifetime. Reclusive billionaire Lars Lindstrom lives on an island in the Florida Keys. Afraid to leave the island, Lars creates a humanitarian foundation and funds teams of volunteers to bring aid wherever it is needed most. Convinced this journey will transform her future Mia and her happy-go-lucky best friend Rosie sign up to test their idealistic hearts in some of the poorest, neediest and saddest places on the planet. Highly recommend this enjoyable, heartwarming summer read about friendship, family and selflessness.
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  • Jill Dobbe
    January 1, 1970
    An entertaining read that includes a little bit of everything--romance, adventure, self-introspection. Mia attempts to find her true self and volunteers overseas to help refugees. While witnessing violence, sadness and hardship she learns it is not her calling after all. Mia eventually realizes that what she really loves doing is all that matters.
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  • Onceinabluemoon
    January 1, 1970
    Such a cute cover, I wanted it to be non fiction! Just too old for twenty something books, but I still like the covers and give them a go...
  • Brandi
    January 1, 1970
    This book lives up the hype surrounding it! I thoroughly enjoyed the story of Mia and coming alongside her during some great adventures. The author does a really good job of transporting the reader to the streets of Mumbai and the refugee camp in Hungary. Mia is on a road to self-discovery after a difficult break-up and she questions what next in her life. The moments of rawness expose many hearts that are seeking their place and purpose. A satisfying read for those interested in going on a jour This book lives up the hype surrounding it! I thoroughly enjoyed the story of Mia and coming alongside her during some great adventures. The author does a really good job of transporting the reader to the streets of Mumbai and the refugee camp in Hungary. Mia is on a road to self-discovery after a difficult break-up and she questions what next in her life. The moments of rawness expose many hearts that are seeking their place and purpose. A satisfying read for those interested in going on a journey to see what happens when life doesn’t match our dreams and expectations. I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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  • Macie
    January 1, 1970
    First of all, I need to get this off of my chest. One of the characters is named Rosalie Jasper… Uhm, HELLO?! The author is either a fellow Twilight fan or she has been living under a rock, which I would find it all the more difficult since she lives in Seattle, Washington and Twilight is based out of Forks, Washington, a four-hour drive from Seattle.First thing I noticed while reading this book was the massive amount of Seattle area references at the beginning. As a Washingtonian, I understood First of all, I need to get this off of my chest. One of the characters is named Rosalie Jasper… Uhm, HELLO?! The author is either a fellow Twilight fan or she has been living under a rock, which I would find it all the more difficult since she lives in Seattle, Washington and Twilight is based out of Forks, Washington, a four-hour drive from Seattle.First thing I noticed while reading this book was the massive amount of Seattle area references at the beginning. As a Washingtonian, I understood them, but even I was getting annoyed by them. I can only imagine how someone who has never been to Washington state could be so lost and ready for the references to be over. It was a bit much.The characters themselves were fine for the most part. I was not particularly attached to any of them. Some of them felt too pretentious to be going on a humanitarian trip. That part disappointment me a lot. I’ve been on multiple mission trips myself, and while I was on them, my focus was never on myself. I had no time to consider myself when my heart was all in for helping others! So while I was reading about all these selfish desires some of the characters had, I was shaking my head. Their heart was not in the right place.This book is considered Christian fiction, and I think the author limited her demographics by doing that. Never once was God or faith mentioned. The only remotely close thing there was to that genre is they mention praying briefly, as in “I sent up a quick prayer for them.” That’s it.The main character’s inner monologue can be painfully repetitive. You will hear constantly how she always thought she would be “Saint Mia” and follow in the footsteps of Mother Teresa and her beloved Aunt Frannie.Overall, the book was a decent summer read. I was disappointed that my experiences were not mirrored in any way. Despite my feelings about this book, there were a lot of awesome quotes from it. Here are my favorites:“If we want to help people, we cannot focus on their problems, on what we can see just on the outside, the garbage and the poverty. We must enter into their lives, be a part of their community. That is where real change happens, person to person, day by day, when we live life together.”“The memories [of personal tragedy] are always with us, but sometimes we can ease the way for others. That is what we must do, use our pain to build understanding and empathy, not to build walls. Then it is transformed into a thing of beauty, then our suffering has value.”“…your place in this world is the space where your greatest passion meets the world’s great pain.”“There’s nothing constant in life except change.”
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  • Hannah
    January 1, 1970
    I received this book as an advanced reader copy via Kindle from NetGalley (thanks, #netgalley!). All opinions are my own. ...If you’ve never been to Seattle, this book will make you want to go. If you’ve never been to a lavender farm, this book will make you NEED to go. Being a Washingtonian myself, I really enjoyed the sweet, glittering portrayal of my state — and the author’s tasteful use of imagery carried throughout the rest of the book. I could feel myself in each location she wrote about — I received this book as an advanced reader copy via Kindle from NetGalley (thanks, #netgalley!). All opinions are my own. ...If you’ve never been to Seattle, this book will make you want to go. If you’ve never been to a lavender farm, this book will make you NEED to go. Being a Washingtonian myself, I really enjoyed the sweet, glittering portrayal of my state — and the author’s tasteful use of imagery carried throughout the rest of the book. I could feel myself in each location she wrote about — sunny, spring-like Seattle; the warm, idyllic Keys; the chaos and color of India; the depression and hope of the refugee camp... it was all well-done. The initially clean and classy storyline makes the sudden shift into the Indian slums and Hungarian refugee camp even more abrupt and (realistically) shocking. Frankly, I found the ending (and the protagonist’s answer to her main problem) very refreshing. Nothing huge/sweeping/“world-changing” (spoiler, maybe?) BUT sweet and real and useful in its own way. And that’s what the reality is for most of us — we can’t all do big Mother Theresa-esque world shifts. But we can each change our corner for the better. How wonderful is that! I love this quote that appears several times:“A wise friend once told me that the place you are to occupy in the universe is the space where your greatest passion meets the world’s great pain.”I HAD to knock off a star for one cringe-worthy reason: stereotypes ABOUND. The sexy Hawaiian surfer/farmer saving her from the shark (come. on.). The rich, lonely benefactor (okay, did anyone else find Lars and the whole Stella/Bryan thing a LITTLE creepy??). While in Mumbai, the flannel-clad millennial woodworking hipster asks if the small ethnic restaurant serves “nitro cold brew,” because he’s not “feeling” the authentic chai. Even the corporate, sleek ex-fiancé, clad in his baby-pink polo. I don’t like stereotypes in books, but... well... stereotypes are stereotypes for a reason (typical human behavior). So I understand the “relatable-ness” of each character’s identity... I just found there were a few too many cliches for my taste. BUT!! Though I’ve never read anything by Rachel Linden before, this certainly won’t be the last. I read somewhere that she specializes in “stories about hope and courage with a hint of romance and a touch of whimsy,” and I think that’s just a lovely sum-up of this novel. It’s a light and “easy” read - and a total joy.
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  • Adelle Tinon
    January 1, 1970
    Deep, fun, challenging, inspiring and utterly delightful! Refreshingly well-written!I loved loved loved this book from start to finish! The cast of characters is wonderfully diverse, masterfully developed and very engaging. From the main character, Mia, to the many minor roles, there are no cardboard stand-ins simply filling space. Each one lives and breathes and captivates. The multiple settings are strikingly different and expertly depicted. Each location draws you into a new cultural experien Deep, fun, challenging, inspiring and utterly delightful! Refreshingly well-written!I loved loved loved this book from start to finish! The cast of characters is wonderfully diverse, masterfully developed and very engaging. From the main character, Mia, to the many minor roles, there are no cardboard stand-ins simply filling space. Each one lives and breathes and captivates. The multiple settings are strikingly different and expertly depicted. Each location draws you into a new cultural experience making it easy to not just picture it, but picture yourself in it living the experience. I frequently pay minimal attention to settings, but this story stimulated introspection and self- exploration. What would I feel? How would I handle that?Every location is a well-chosen backdrop for radically different elements of the plot. From unparalleled opulence to grinding poverty, the action unfolds in a credible and realistic manner plunging the reader into some quite unexpected places and experiences. The juxtaposition is effective and purposeful. As the action unfolds, so do the personal stories of the characters, with a progressive peeling back of the layers and a deepening of relationships. Observing Mia’s self-discovery and personal growth encourages reflection upon and furtherance of our own journeys. The multiple plot lines are interwoven with sufficient intrigue to make it easy to read and hard to put down. (My husband, whose literary tastes run in a quite different vein, read it upon my recommendation and enjoyed it immensely). Clever small details attest to the author’s keen observation of human nature and breathe life into this well-told tale. There are no gratuitous people, places, plot lines or dialogues. To enjoy a book, I must care about the characters sufficiently to want to find out what happens to them. When I finish a book, I want to be glad that I read it and feel happier for having done so. “Bees” delivers! I want to know what happens next… May I suggest a sequel? In the meantime, this is a book I can easily read a second time. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion. All opinions are my own.
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  • April
    January 1, 1970
    Full disclosure, I was chosen for an advance team to promote this book, and received a free copy to read and review. Thank you so much to Rachel Linden and Thomas Nelson Publishing for the chance to read this book. I absolutely adored this book. Not only was the story compelling, but the overall message of the book about finding the sweet spot where our passion meets the world's pain is so inspirational. You should read this book, not just because Mia's around-the-world journey to find herself i Full disclosure, I was chosen for an advance team to promote this book, and received a free copy to read and review. Thank you so much to Rachel Linden and Thomas Nelson Publishing for the chance to read this book. I absolutely adored this book. Not only was the story compelling, but the overall message of the book about finding the sweet spot where our passion meets the world's pain is so inspirational. You should read this book, not just because Mia's around-the-world journey to find herself is entertaining, but also because her journey might just inspire your own. At 26, Mia has her life perfectly planned out. She is going to marry her long-time boyfriend, Ethan and move into a Craftsman cottage in Seattle. They will have a French bulldog named Butterworth, and probably later cute little children. Ethan will continue to work at his tech company, and Mia will become a successful baker at The Butter Emporium, after she completes her internship there. Then, things rapidly start to fall apart. Ethan takes her to Pike Place market, scene of their first date. They go up on the ferris wheel, with all of Seattle spread before them. He pulls out the ring to propose, but finds that he just can't do it. Instead, he declares that he needs some time to figure things out. Just after that, Mia is dismissed from her baking internship because the new owners of the Butter Emporium have decided to downsize and only need two bakers. Reeling from finding herself single and unemployed, Mia is at a loss as to what to do next. That is until her best friend mentions that there might be a spot left on a humanitarian tour on which she is about to embark. This spark's Mia's forgotten dreams about wanting to help others, and she soon finds herself on her way to the slums of Mumbai and the refugee camps of Hungary. Along the way, Mia begins to find her own dreams and see how her great passions might just make the world a better place. This book is phenomenal. It's for anyone who likes a great story about picking up when the whole world seems to be falling apart, and it might just inspire readers to use their passion to meet the world's pain.
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  • Jennifer Jenkinson
    January 1, 1970
    2.5/5After a proposal gone wrong, Mia is left heartbroken by her boyfriend of 6 years. With their lives being pulled in two different directions, Mia does the ultimate 180. As an apprentice baker, she tells some half truths and a big lie to join a humanitarian group with her friend. Her hope is to discover herself and become “Saint Mia” as she travels the world.But this isn’t ANY humanitarian group - this one is funded by an uber wealthy businessman who never leaves his resort of an island. The 2.5/5After a proposal gone wrong, Mia is left heartbroken by her boyfriend of 6 years. With their lives being pulled in two different directions, Mia does the ultimate 180. As an apprentice baker, she tells some half truths and a big lie to join a humanitarian group with her friend. Her hope is to discover herself and become “Saint Mia” as she travels the world.But this isn’t ANY humanitarian group - this one is funded by an uber wealthy businessman who never leaves his resort of an island. The trip kicks off on this island with fruity drinks, entertainment, and wonderful accommodations and amenities. The group is split into teams and soon enough, Mia’s group is off to Mumbai.The writing and descriptions are beautiful. It is clear that the author has traveled extensively and has a way with words to describe the sights, smells, and foods of a foreign country.The book tip-toed around the wealth backing them, visiting slums, members questioning what they were doing and if it was making any sort of lasting impact, and poverty tourism. I kept thinking it was going to be addressed but then they doubled down when one of the team members had her luggage lost and a replacement bag was sent overnight by the wealthy founder.It was packed full of THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS worth of designer clothes, shoes, and accessories. None of which were helpful as they moved to help Syrian refugees. Count me out.The good: besides the excellent writing, I liked the relationship Mia had with her sweet and feisty grandmother. I also liked that Mia determined to find herself before she found a new relationship.I really wanted to like this book - it had a lot of potential and the writer is certainly talented. It’s getting great reviews but it struck a nerve and just wasn’t for me.This was a tough review to write. I love to read and have a lot of respect for authors and their work. But if every review we put out there is glowing, we’re heading in the wrong direction as book lovers. So there you have it, my honest review. 🖤🐝
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