The Wedding Bees follows Sugar Wallace, a woman running from some past tragedy. Her bees, specifically her queen Elizabeth the VI, lead her by map points across the U.S. At every locale, Sugar befriends, heals, and helps all she meets but she is always moving on and running, ignoring the fact that she, herself, needs healed.
The novel finds Sugar moving into a quaint and quirky apartment in NYC’s Alphabet City. The cast of characters in Sugar’s new building include an anorexic shut-in, a single mother trying to make ends meet, two elderly grumps, a shy pastry chef, and a volunteer doorman.
Upon her arrival to NYC, Sugar’s easy life is literally upended by a handsome Scotsman who is partial to Hawaiian shirts. This move will be different.
OK. Intrigued? Yes? I was.
I won’t give the plot away, but about a little over halfway through the book I wanted to slap Sugar. I still admired her sweet (pun intended) demeanor and eagerness to help all around her, but I became annoyed. My dissatisfaction occurred after I found out what her big dark secret was.
“Get over it!” I wanted to shout.
But, who can resist a story that has a happy ending? I can’t. (Oops, late spoiler alert.) I also questioned some of the bee information in the book. Although I am not the beekeeper in the family, I do think I know enough to call Sugar on some of her bee knowledge. That being said, I did enjoy Sugar’s perplexing confusion as to why her bees were swarming.
I would classify The Wedding Bees as the perfect summer beach read.
Of course I was inspired to make something sugary sweet and I thought these cookies fit the bill.
Based on Old German Honey Cookies
1 c. sugar
1 c. coconut oil
1 c. honey
1 t. vanilla extract
1 t. baking soda
3 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. whole wheat pastry flour
1 t. ground ginger
sanding sugar (optional)
In a saucepan over low heat, melt together sugar, coconut oil and honey. Let cool.
Mix together eggs, vanilla, baking soda and ginger. Gradually add to cooled honey mixture.
Slowly add the flours. Stir until well blended. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto cookie sheets about 2 inches apart. Sprinkle or roll balls in sanding sugar. Bake at 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) until golden (about 12-15 minutes).
Despite all the honey in these cookies, they are not as sweet as I imagined. They would be perfect for a tea Sugar might host for her building mates.
If you are unfamiliar with Cook the Books, please note that membership is open to anyone. (For more information, click here.) The next four books have been announced and I hope you see something that sparks your interest. I, for one, cannot wait for the next four:
- August/September: Yes, Chef by Marcus Samuelsson (Hosted by Rachel, The Crispy Cook.)
- October/November: The Hundred-Foot Journey by Richard C. Morais (Hosted by Deb of Kahakai Kitchen/)
- December/January: A Place at the Table by Susan Rebecca White (Hosted by me.)
- February/ March: The Unprejudiced Palate: Classic Thoughts on Food and the Good Life by Angelo Pellegrini (Hosted by Simona of Briciole.)
Please think about joining us.