Alice has withdrawn from friends, family, neighbours and more following a series of heartbreaks. She goes to work and then goes straight home. She is alone except for her beloved bees. "Alice kept certain thoughts behind a firmly closed door in her mind..."
She literally runs into eighteen year old Jake one evening - and knocks him out of his wheelchair. Jake too has withdrawn from his friends, interests and his dysfunctional family. "He hated what he had done to his stupid life and that he had no one else to blame. He was broken in a way that could not be undone."
Harry has been living with his great uncle in a condemned trailer, hiding from his past, his parents and any social interactions. "Harry, stuck as he was between the recent debacle of his past and the uncertainty of his future, was happy to pause here, suspended between what he had done and what he might make of himself."
Three people that have no idea how to fix themselves - but maybe together they can find a way.
Alice's beehives touch each character in a different way and become the propolis that cements their friendships. What is propolis you ask? Well, it's "glue-like material is used by bees to build their hives and fix any cracks and tears and also creates an even and hard surface inside the beehive." I learned that and much more about bees, hive life etc. in The Music of Bees. It was only on finishing the book and reading the author's bio that I discovered Garvin is a beekeeper herself. Her knowledge and love of bees certainly shows in her descriptions and settings. Take the time to read the bee quotes at the beginning of every chapter - they directly tie into what's happening with Alice, Jake and Harry.
All three characters are so wonderfully drawn and the reader can't help but feel their pain and hope that they can heal and go forward. There are antagonists as well - some particularly nasty co-workers for Alice and a "nefarious pesticide company".
Having a friend is the start and from there goals, a purpose, courage, happiness and yes, even love seems possible again for each of the three. The Music of Bees is uplifting, heartbreaking and heartwarming. An excellent read - and especially now. Here's an excerpt for you.