The Beekeeper of Aleppo [Book Review]

December 5, 2019

 The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri

The Beekeeper of Aleppo Review.jpg

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, Family Life, Refugees, Syria

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

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.

Syria Conflict: What’s Happening in Aleppo

Amazon Rating: 4.4 Stars

My Thoughts:

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)

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The Beekeeper of Aleppo

The Beekeeper of Aleppo Information

This is my Review of the Month for the book review link-up on

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?

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Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.

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32 thoughts on “The Beekeeper of Aleppo [Book Review]

  1. Pingback: Fall 2019 TBR | Reading Ladies

      • I am! My vision is better, thank goodness! I still have some swelling, but it is very slowly getting better. I cannot drive myself yet because I can’t turn my head enough to do so. I am on a low iodine diet and will start radioiodine treatment next week. This will kill any remaining cancer cells. Starting next Thursday I have to isolate myself from the rest of the family for one week! I will be radioactive!! After that, if all goes well I will be cancer free 🙂
        It is a process, but it will all be worth it when I am done! I’m going to do a health update on Monday post next week. I don’t like to ramble on about it all the time, so I don’t talk about it often, but it has been awhile and I am getting near the finish line so an update is in order.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’m glad you’re slowly feeling better…but wow a week’s isolation! That will be challenging! This will be behind you soon!
        My husband has arthritis so bad in his neck that he had to give up driving because his range of motion is so limited 😫 so I’m the chauffeur!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I think this would be a great book for my book club! We are reading Honeymoon Alone which has been a very fun read. Nicole Macaulay is the author and she has a great lead who is an unexpected girl next door and her pitfalls and successes really make for a great read for a club!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. To read your review is to get that book in the best possible way, thankyou first an amazing post. I’ve always been fascinated by review writers, sometimes more than a book in itself: you highlight the cream, the cup the saucer all in one go, kudos!

    Liked by 1 person

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