December 5, 2019
Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, Family, Refugees, Syria
*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.
A compelling story of love, loss, hope, and compassion…
Nuri, a beekeeper, and his wife Afra, an artist, live happily with their son in beautiful Aleppo. They enjoy a quiet and peaceful life and value the friendship of close friends and extended family. Suddenly, their lives are turned upside down by war and, out of desperation, they make a decision to flee Syria. What Afra has experienced and seen causes her to go blind, complicating their journey through Turkey and Greece to get to Britain. On this risky and uncertain journey, they must learn to survive in unpredictable situations, to deal with their loss, to trust each other, to depend on the kindness and compassion of strangers, and to keep their hope alive.
Amazon Rating: 4.4 Stars
Reaction: Wow! This was my initial reaction upon finishing The Beekeeper of Aleppo. Although this is not an easy read, it is a memorable and emotional read filled with poignant themes.
Writing: Tenderly told, in present-day timeline and flashbacks and from one point of view, the writing is graceful and beautiful. It reads like a memoir. From reading the author’s notes, I learned that she has a background of serving refugees at the UNICEF supported Faros Hope Centre in Athens. It’s evident her time with refugees has informed her writing in this story as she creates realistic circumstances and likable characters who seem like real persons. I need to note, though, that the transitions between timelines are not always well defined. On several occasions, I found myself reading along only to realize I was in a different timeline. I came to realize that it was my responsibility as a reader to focus on time and place to avoid confusion. I think it’s a realistic writing style for this story because in present-day life our thoughts often slip into the past. I think if you’re aware of this from the beginning that it will be an easier read for you.
Characters: In this heartfelt story, the characters deal with so much: loss of a child, loss of a dream, a lifestyle, and a livelihood, a risky journey, an uncertain future, and PTSD. Through it all, they persevere and find a way to hold onto hope. I grew to care about Nuri and Afra and felt like I was experiencing the life of a refugee alongside them.
Themes: In addition to many of the themes referenced above (grief, loss, hope, PTSD, survival, starting again, etc), there is an overarching theme of love between husband and wife, parent and child, family members, and love of county and bees.
Content warning/trigger warning: the death of children, war dangers and atrocities,
Recommended: I highly recommend The Beekeeper of Aleppo for fans of historical fiction, for readers who appreciate stories about survival and inspirational individuals, for those who might have lived in Syria, and possibly for book clubs if the members can handle heavier reads.
My Rating: 4.5 Stars (rounded to 5 on Goodreads)
This is my Review of the Month for the book review link-up on LovelyAudiobooks.info.
Meet the Author, Christy Lefteri
Brought up in London, Christy Lefteri is the child of Cypriot refugees. She is a lecturer in creative writing at Brunel University. The Beekeeper of Aleppo was born out of her time working as a volunteer at a UNICEF-supported refugee center in Athens. She is the author of the novel A Watermelon, a Fish and a Bible.
Have you read The Beekeeper of Aleppo or is it on your TBR?
I have finished my Fall TBR!
(just in time to plan my Winter TBR!)
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