Thursday, March 21, 2019

Book Review: The Murmur of Bees, by Sofia Segovia

Guest review by: Becki Bayley

"Do you want to come meet everyone?”

Francisco was not surprised when Simonopio shook his head. In fact, he was amazed to see the boy there at all, not just because he had been absent for several days, but because Simonopio had never liked being present when strangers visited. Yet here he was, and the smile remained on his face.

“You’re all right,” said Francisco.

It was not a question.

Simonopio nodded as he removed everything he was carrying from his knapsack.

“What do you have there?”

Simonopio took out his sleeping bag, placed it on the ground, and unrolled the tight bundle. He took out something wrapped in a rag and handed it to his godfather.

“Shall I open it?”

Simonopio nodded again, fixing his eyes intensely on Francisco’s. Whatever it was, the contents of the package were very important to his godson. Holding his breath, Francisco carefully undid the knot in the rag, remembering the day when he saw Simonopio for the first time, when he opened two similar, albeit larger, bundles, to find the boy and his beehive full of bees. So he thought that, in this case, he had better proceed with caution.

The title of The Murmur of Bees just made me think of something soothing and enchanting. The lyrical prose in this story of a family over several generations was beautiful.

Official synopsis:
Book Review: The Murmur of Bees, by Sofia Segovia
From the day that old Nana Reja found a baby abandoned under a bridge, the life of a small Mexican town forever changed. Disfigured and covered in a blanket of bees, little Simonopio is for some locals the stuff of superstition, a child kissed by the devil. But he is welcomed by landowners Francisco and Beatriz Morales, who adopt him and care for him as if he were their own. As he grows up, Simonopio becomes a cause for wonder to the Morales family, because when the uncannily gifted child closes his eyes, he can see what no one else can—visions of all that’s yet to come, both beautiful and dangerous. Followed by his protective swarm of bees and living to deliver his adoptive family from threats—both human and those of nature—Simonopio’s purpose in Linares will, in time, be divined.

Set against the backdrop of the Mexican Revolution and the devastating influenza of 1918, The Murmur of Bees captures both the fate of a country in flux and the destiny of one family that has put their love, faith, and future in the unbelievable.

The Murmur of Bees
is the story of the Morales Cortez family and their plantation over the course of at least two generations. It primarily surrounds the two boys of the familySimonopio (an infant found and raised by the family’s wet nurse when she’s very old) and Francisco Junior (the biological son who is born after the two daughters are adults). While Francisco Junior’s story is mostly autobiographical, he would never be the same man he is without his relationship with Simonopio, who is around ten years older than him.

Simonopio is the boy the bees talk to. He is originally found covered in bees, without being stung by them at all. The bees tell Simonopio about things going on elsewhere, and things that will happen. Simonopio does his best to protect his godparents and the others in the Morales Cortez family with this information. To add to the challenge, Simonopio has a facial deformity which makes his language unintelligible to everyone but Francisco Junior.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book, but found it very wordy. There were a lot of detailed descriptions that were pleasant, but not necessarily always necessary to the story. The book felt like it took me a very long time to get through. The chapters were also told by different characters, which sometimes took me a bit to figure out. I’d give this book 3 out of 5 stars.

Becki Bayley is a wife, mother, lunch lady and blogger at When she’s not reading, she also enjoys doing laundry and dishes every day to keep her household running.


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