The Secret Life of Bees is the story of Lily Owens, a girl who has shaped her life around one devastating memory—the afternoon her mother was killed, when Lily was four. Besides her harsh and unyielding father, Lily’s only real companion is Rosaleen, a tender, but fierce-hearted black woman who cooks, cleans and acts as her “stand-in mother.”
Set in 1964 in South Carolina, a place and time of seething racial divides, violence explodes one summer afternoon, and Rosaleen is arrested and beaten. Lily is desperate, not only to save Rosaleen, but to flee from a life she can no longer endure. Calling upon her colorful wits and youthful daring, she breaks Rosaleen out of jail and the two escape, into what quickly becomes Lily’s quest for the truth about her mother’s life.
They are taken in by three black, bee-keeping sisters, May, June, and August, and Lily is consumed by their secret world of bees and honey, and of the Black Madonna who presides over this household of strong, wise women. Lily’s journey is one of painful secrets and shattering betrayals but that ultimately helps her find the thing her heart longs for most.
Isa’s father is working on the construction of the Great Ocean Road and has not been in contact with his family for some time.
Isa’s mother works hard as a cleaner, struggling with ill health and providing for her four children.
Even though only 12 years old, Isa is already an accomplished seamstress and takes in mending and sewing work to help support her family.
Her 10-year-old brother Johnno has a paper run and collects and sells bottles and 5-year-old Rosie is in charge of collecting eggs from their chickens to sell at the local store.
The whole family, but particularly Isa, take care of 3-year-old Billy.
“Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit ’em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.”
A lawyer’s advice to his children as he defends the real mockingbird of Harper Lee’s classic novel—a black man charged with the rape of a white girl.
Through the young eyes of Scout and Jem Finch, Harper Lee explores with rich humor and unswerving honesty the irrationality of adult attitudes toward race and class in the Deep South of the 1930s.
The conscience of a town steeped in prejudice, violence, and hypocrisy is pricked by the stamina and quiet heroism of one man’s struggle for justice—but the weight of history will only tolerate so much.
Katie’s book blog
The Bloody Tower is the diary of Tilly Middleton, from 1553-1559 who is the daughter of the physician in the Tower of London.
Tilly’s diary begins just before the death of King Edward VI,
who was the son of Henry VIII. It continues through the brief and tragic reign of young Jane Grey,
then the strong and scary reign of Mary Tudor, right up to when Elizabeth I came to the throne.
Tilly keeps her ears and eyes open and she and her friend Tom,
who works in the royal menagerie, soon find out what’s going on.
She needs to know what’s happening, because she has a secret which she must share with someone – someone very important indeed.
Adeline Yen Mah is born into an affluent and powerful family in China, but her life is made miserable from the moment she is born. After her mother dies giving birth to her, Adeline’s family labels her “bad luck,” causing her to grow up with the guilt that she alone is responsible for her mother’s death. Things at home get even worse when Adeline’s father remarries. Restricted to one small area of the house, Adeline and her natural siblings are mistreated while their stepbrother and stepsister receive special treatment. An outstanding student and the winner of many academic awards, Adeline revels in the praise she receives from her Aunt Baba and grandfather, Ye Ye, and lives with the hope that her father might someday be proud of her.