Sugar Wallace is a good and cheerful soul who cares about everyone around her, striving to make their lives happier and better. She's not a saccharine Pollyanna, just the caring, giving kind of person who is a pleasure to be around. But Sugar can't seem to lighten her own heart as she moves hither, thither, and yon around the country every year, never putting down roots, forever fleeing her past. Each year, Sugar, who fled her native Charleston so many years ago, severing ties with everyone she loved, takes the queen from her bee colony, places her on a map, and moves wherever the queen stops. This year, Sugar and the bees have landed in Alphabet City in Manhattan in an apartment building filled with eccentric, quirky, and emotionally battered folks.
The very day that Sugar moves in, she meets George, an elderly man she initially assumes is homeless, and Theo, the cell phone absorbed, Hawaiian shirt wearing man George stumbles into. Immediately intervening to make sure that George is not injured, Sugar makes her first friend and, although she doesn't know it yet, meets her fate. Her highly attuned bees can tell that something has happened though as Sugar settles in, has George (who is not homeless but just feeling useless) instated as the building's honorary doorman, and meets the rest of her neighbors: fragile, anorexic Ruby; excruciatingly shy Nate, who is a talented chef; single mom Lola trying to make ends meet and to do the right thing for her small colicky boy; Mrs. Keschl, a cantankerous old woman; and her counterpart with whom she has an ongoing feud, the crotchety, complaining Mr. McNally. Sugar fits into this odd assortment of people and slowly and quietly helps them to see the goodness in each other and in humanity. And just as each of them finds sanctuary in the genuine caring warmth of Sugar's friendship, they each play a part in helping her to accept her own past and to move forward into a bright and honeyed future.
This is a gently romantic and magical novel about helping the lost, treating others with respect and love, and moving past hurts to embrace all of the wonderful possibilities out there. Sugar is a lovely character and her ability to find the goodness in everyone who comes into her life is truly a gift. She has her own demons and has to find the courage to face them but with a little assist from friends who care and bees who can feel her destiny in every quiver of their bodies, she'll find the happiness with which she has blessed so many others. The secondary characters are enjoyable in their own rights and their growing care for Sugar is splendid to read. Sweet, enchanting, and fanciful, for readers who want to read a novel with a smile on their faces, this ray of sunshine, drizzle of honey, confection of a novel will fit the bill perfectly.
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Thanks to Trish from TLC Book Tours and the publisher for sending me a copy of the book for review.