The Beekeeper’s Ball
Bella Vista Chronicles #2
Harlequin MIRA (July 2014)
- Isabel has always dreamed of traveling the world and seeing new places, yet everything she does seems to tie her closer and closer to Bella Vista. Why do you think that, despite her inner wanderlust, Isabel always seems so fearful of leaving home?
- Although she never knew her own mother, Isabel seems to have an instinctive urge to nurture and “mother” the people around her — everyone from the workers at Bella Vista, to her grandfather and sister, to Mac and Jamie. Do you think that Isabel’s history and the lack of a motherly figure in her life is the force that drives her to take care of everyone else, sometimes at the expense of her own happiness?
- Despite her disappointing experience with culinary school many years ago, Isabel’s love of cooking has never waned. What do you think this says about her inner determination and her quiet desire to pursue her dreams?
- When Jamie first comes to Bella Vista, she confesses that she plans to give her unborn child up for adoption. Isabel is inwardly horrified by Jamie’s decision — why do you think she reacts so strongly to the idea of Jamie relinquishing her role as a mother?
- Delicious food, and the inviting warmth of Isabel’s kitchen, are a key focal point to this story. What do these themes say about the story as a whole?
- How do Mac’s experiences as a foreign correspondent frame his approach to staying put and eventually settling down? Do you see Mac and Isabel staying at Bella Vista? Why or why not?
- The Bella Vista Cooking School focuses on the farm-to-table movement, in particular beekeeping and honey production. What is it about producing something true — something from its source — that is so important to Isabel?
- Do you think Annelise’s account of her experiences during WWII helped Isabel deal with her own painful past?
- Magnus had strong feelings for two very different women for most of his life. Do you think it is possible to love more than one person so deeply?