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2002 "First published in 2002 by Viking Penguin" stated on copyright page; autographed by Sue Monk Kidd inside on publishers pastedown (pic); hardbound; Viking Penguin publishers; very good condition of book and dust jacket.


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In the fictitious town of Sylvan, South Carolina in 1964, 14-year-old Lily Melissa Owens lives with her abusive father, T. Ray, and her African-American maid, Rosaleen. Much of Lily's life has been shaped around the blurred memory of the afternoon her mother was killed. Lily discovers bees in her bedroom. Then, after Rosaleen is arrested for pouring her bottle of "snuff juice" on three white men, Lily breaks her out of the hospital and they decide to leave town. The two begin hitch-hiking toward Tiburon, South Carolina, a place written on the back of an image of the Virgin Mary known as the “Black Madonna,” which Deborah, Lily's mother, had owned. They spend a night in the woods with little food and little hope before reaching Tiburon. There, they buy lunch at a general store, and Lily recognizes a picture of the same "Black Mary" but on the side of a jar of honey. Rosaleen and Lily receive directions to the origin of the honey, the Boatwright residence. They are introduced to the Boatwright sisters, the makers of the honey: August, May, and June, who are all black. When Lily meets the sisters she makes up a story about being an orphan. Believing Lily's story, August, June, and May invite Lily and Rosaleen to stay with them.

THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES, a novel by Sue Monk Kidd

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