Title: Of Bees And Mist
Author: Erick Setiawan
Up in the house that sits on the hill, a strange spell is brewing…
To Meridia, growing up with her father Gabriel, who vanishes daily in clouds of mist, and her bewitching mother Ravenna, the outside world is a refuge. So when as a young woman her true love Daniel offers her marriage, it seems an escape to a more straightforward existence.
Yet behind the welcoming façade of her new home lies a life of drudgery and a story even stranger than that she left behind. Aged retainers lurk in the background; swarms of bees appear at will, and of course, there’s her indomitable mother-in-law, Eva, hiding secrets that it will take Meridia years to unravel. Surrounded by seemingly unfathomable mysteries, can Meridia unlock the intrigues of the past, and thus protect her own family’s future?
An epic tale of two families told by an unforgettable voice. A modern fable, a gothic page-turner, but most of all, a passionate story about the power of love to conquer all that comes its way.
It was the cover of this book that pulled me in to begin with, the tagline ‘ Three Strong woman, two feuding families. A singular story of enchantment’ sounded like it offered something a little different from my recent reads so I thought I would give it a chance. Especially as I managed to pick it up for the bargain price of £1 at our work’s charity book sale.
From the beginning I was drawn to the character of Meridia, not purely for her fabulous name but also because I felt that her sadness and loneliness was in some way relatable (maybe it’s an only child thing) although of course my childhood was much happier than Meridia’s.
The way her character was written and the voice used to tell her story really captured me from the beginning of the novel and I managed to read the story in two sittings. I definitely found myself hoping that her luck would finally change as the story twisted and turned, with every set back I found myself hoping that this would where it changes. I think that was one of the standout parts of the story for me, the hope that things would get better.
The story was definitely full of enchantment and it if wasn’t the magical mists that attacked visitors at Monarch Lane, it was the swarms of Bees that haunted Daniel’s family home or the strange whispers of voices that never seemed to belong to anyone you could see. I enjoyed the enchanted adult story feel of this novel although of course when you’re an adult these things are much less believable but none the less very enjoyable.
I found the relationship between the characters of the mothers Eva (Daniel’s mother) and Ravenna (Meridia’s Mother) very interesting, how no matter how cold Ravenna had seemed to Meridia growing up she was always on her side.
I loved the growth and change of the relationships through the story and in my opinion I believe the changes of the relationships between the characters are what brought the book to life. Whether it was Meridia and her mother realising that there were more similarities between them than they had ever thought, or Daniel and his sisters rather strange love for their mother despite her behaviour.
Everytime I thought I could see how a situation was going to pan out, Setiawan seemed to pull it in another direction, I kept thinking I had things figured out before he pulled the rug from beneath another one of the characters and I’d be left thinking what now?