Monday, March 18, 2013

Beekeeper's Apprentice

Bias alert:  I love this author, and love the Mary Russell series!   

Beekeeper's Apprentice is the first of the series, and so we meet the very young Mary -- orphaned in tragic circumstances, an brilliant and curious mind, a lonely soul longing to soar, stuck under the guardianship of a horrid aunt -- and the retired Sherlock Holmes, ostensibly keeping his bees in the countryside.  And off we go, on the wild adventures of a very unlikely duo.

There are just so many aspects of the story to savor.  The most obvious, of course, is getting a fresh look at the legendary Holmes, and hearing more of his pursuits.  This book is set in wartime, beginning nearly a century ago -- WWI (as is a future selection this club will discuss, Sandcastle Girls) -- but here, the Great War is occurring offstage. 

Mary is a fascinating character.  She is damaged by the horror that befell her family; she is young and gawky.  Yet, she is set on advancing academically; her goals do not include the expectation of marriage; she has little interest in the social conventions of the wealthy (cf. "Downton Abbey").   Whatever else troubles Mary, at her core she has no doubt that she is as worthy as any man.  And, by accident, she stumbles across the person who will change her life, and make her a partner in a world she never dreamed was a possibility.

Let our book club adventure begin!