The Solitary Bee

Epke van Toorne’s life revolves around the van Toorne family orchard. Nineteen and orphaned, she lives with her grandmother, Anna, and spends most of her time maintaining the trees. When Anna announces that the orchard will be sold, Epke does everything she can to stop the sale, but without success. When she’s finally deposited on her grandmother’s new doorstep a week later, Epke is furious, hurt—and uprooted. The discovery that she has a brother in a care home, and that the man she thought was one of her best friends has known about it for more than a decade, alters the course of Epke’s life.

The Solitary Bee is a powerful story, pulling together themes as widely varied as mental illness to radical climate conservation in a hard-hitting plot with a narrow focus style around the viewpoint of central protagonist. That intense focus on Epke allows author Hannah Holborn to explore the mindset, the choices, and the growing pains of an estranged teen in a highly credible, engrossing storyline.

I have to admit that this story falls (in my opinion) far more in the genre of literary fiction or possibly YA than thriller, and was a way outside my usual reading selection. However, the writing was evocative enough, and the characters strongly enough fleshed out, to net this four stars anyway.

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