Happy #RomanceTuesdays feat. a #LoveInspired Book Review | “The Beekeeper Next Door” by Danielle Thorne

Posted Tuesday, 9 July, 2024 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

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Acquired Book By: In (2020) Ms Thorne contacted me about her first Love Inspired novel (“His Daughter’s Prayer”) of which I reviewed and hosted her during @SatBookChat. Fast forward to 2022 and I caught a notice about her review team which led me to asking her about joining the team. I was delighted to receive her second release with Love Inspired as I had fondly remembered the joy I had in reading her debut with the publisher. I was grateful I could join her review team knowing how much I love her writing instincts for telling Contemporary INSPY Romantic stories as much as the fact I love reading stories by this publisher for Romantic Suspense.

I received a complimentary copy of “The Beekeeper Next Door” direct from the author Danielle Thorne in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein. Per the badge at the end of this review, I am also a member of the author’s Review Team. All promo materials for this novel were provided by the author herself and are used with permission.

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On why I love reading Love Inspired Contemporary:

I have been an appreciator of reading gently told relationship-based Romances for years now as it was a co-joined interest of my Mum and me. This goes back to the days where you could receive a subscription by mail for the Heartsong Presents stories? And, this predates Love Inspired in though as time shifted forward, Love Inspired took over this niche of interest. Originally there were three different types of Love Inspired, too, Contemporary, Historical and Suspense. The first and latter lasted the longest but they occasionally bring back the Historicals.

I took a bit of a hiatus from reading the Contemporaries by Love Inspired (LI) and opted to focus on the authors under their Suspense line instead. A journey which led to a look of book gathering at libraries and hearty discussion with Mum about the characters, the series and the different styles of the writers behind the books. I’m not sure when I decided to take a chance on reading the Contemporaries again, but shortly after I did, I discovered the collective works of Danielle Thorne through my adventures as a book blogger and that led me into being a part of her Review Team.

I’m hoping to be featuring more LI authors this year on my blog, as I have another lovely sequencing of stories by an LI author I haven’t had the pleasure to read in full yet and as I’m keenly interested in keep LI in my life more full-time again, I look forward to seeing where the months led me as I journey back into imprint of choice. The main reasons I love reading the Contemporaries or the Suspense novels by LI is the backbone of the stories include elements of faith whilst living, strong realistic characters, beautiful settings and more times than not and small townes whose communities are just as important as the lead and supporting characters. I love relationship-based romances (both mainstream and faith-based) and the LI romances are an uplift of joy to read due to how their nearly always slow-burns except for the occasional one wherein the characters had a more insta-connection to each other but still, their romance had to develop and blossom through the central arc of their story, too.

My pursuit of LI is in conjunction with my Mum’s and it has become a lovely co-tradition of ours to continue to seek out these lovely authors whilst sharing our joy and affection for their stories as they continue to draw us into the lives of their characters.

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Happy #RomanceTuesdays feat. a #LoveInspired Book Review | “The Beekeeper Next Door” by Danielle ThorneThe Beekeeper Next Door
Subtitle: They're drawn together like bees to honey...
by Danielle Thorne
Source: Author Review Team

Returning to his hometown to clean up his late parents’ home, professor Heath Underwood has no intention of making his stay permanent. Especially when he discovers his neighbor is a beekeeper. But avoiding widow Ali Harding proves difficult when her eight-year-old son bonds with him and his dog. As Heath spends more time with them, his fear of bees—and heartbreak—could stand in the way of his happily-ever-after…

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Sweet Romance, Contemporary Romance

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781335597489

Also by this author: Josette, His Daughter's Prayer

Published by Love INSPIRED

on 25th June, 2024

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 201

Published by: Love Inspired (@LoveInspiredBks)
an imprint of Harlequin Books (@HarlequinBooks)
which is now an imprint of HarperCollins Publishing (@HarperCollins)

Note on Formats: Happily, Love Inspired novels have the same kind of flexibility as Harlequin Heartwarming wherein you can receive these print copies in Regular Print, Larger Print or True Large Print for those who are vision impaired and/or have low vision. I personally love the Larger Print editions for Harlequin Heartwarming, Love Inspired Contemporary Romance & Love Inspired Suspense as it is much kinder on eyes of a migraineur! Generally, I receive Larger Print copies of Love Inspired and/or Harlequin Heartwarming novels – however, I do on occasion receive Regular Print which I can’t read whilst in the throes of a migraine or shortly after one but when I’m migraine-free I can soak back inside them; hence why having different sized fonts available is a lovely gesture by the publisher for readers like me.

Converse via: #SweetRomance, #SweetRomanceReads or #SweetRomanceBooks

and #LoveInspiredBooks as well as #ChristFic, #ChristianFiction, #ContemporaryRomance,
#INSPYRomance or #ChristianFictionBooks on #bookstagram

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More Inspy Romantic stories by Danielle Throne:

His Daughter's Prayer by Danielle ThorneA Promise for His Daughter by Danielle ThorneA Home for the Twins by Danielle Thorne

His Daughter’s Prayer (2020) | see also Review

Falling for the Coach (2022)

A Promise for His Daughter (2022) | see also Review

A Home for the Twins (2023) | see also Review

The Doctor’s Christmas Dilemma (2023)

The Beekeeper Next Door (NEW release: 25th June 2024)
*I read somewhere this is the start of the Lagrasse series

A Guardian Until Christmas (*forthcoming, October, 2024)

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About Danielle Thorne

Danielle Thorne

Danielle Thorne writes from south of Atlanta, Georgia. She is the author of over fifteen historical and contemporary sweet romances. A graduate of BYU-Idaho, she has also published young adult non-fiction and worn an editor's cap. Her new release is a 2020 historical series set in the United States and follows the period of the American Revolution. Her first book with Harlequin's Love Inspired line will be out this summer.

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my review of the beekeeper next door:

If you had to go by first impressions, both Heath and Ali made a strong one to the other quite immediately. You sensed she was thankful for the life she could carve out on her farm, as beekeeping was definitely her livelihood. Even though it seemed she was struggling a bit at the moment to get everything squared to rights on the farm, she had a sense of pride about her work. Whereas her new neighbour, Heath seemed to want to derail her confidence in her work and undermine her ability to provide for herself and her son, Charlie. I knew something was fuelling Heath’s disdain for bees but personal feelings aside, he should have known that keeping bees was a good foot forward for someone who wanted to earn a profit off their land whilst helping with the balance of the natural world. I had a feeling that argument would be moot for him as he had other reasons on his own agenda for being against Ali’s efforts to remain self-sufficient.

Lagrasse is a beautiful rural small towne with just enough inside it to suit a well-rounded life including an herb shoppe which I wish more townes had themselves! This is where we were introduced to Tam whose Ali’s cousin, who’s also a Mum and has a daughter named Piper. I love how children are a part of the stories Thorne writes as I oft-find they add so much heart and presence to the stories and the lives of the characters. Charlie, Ali’s son has a lot of light in him himself and is a burst of energy whenever he’s around. Heath, of course, seems to be more of a stick-in-the-mud kind of bloke and hasn’t moved past the hurts and losses of his past whilst letting that kind of discord in his mind overshadow his present. His current loss with his mother was going to take more time, as she only recently passed on but it’s the other things he was holding onto from years ago that I felt he would need to find a way to reconcile and ‘let go’ if he ever wanted to truly ‘move forward’ and find a way to live in the present. And, I felt that that might be part of the theme for the story – of re-finding one’s faith and finding a way to redeem the past by choosing to embrace the future with a better outlook than the one you currently have.

When Trooper, Heath’s dog gets himself into a bit of a pickle and needs a Vet visit, instead of understanding that part of the reason the dog ended up in a medical crisis was Heath’s impromptu destruction of the fence between his and Ali’s property – he took the opposite impression and just chose to blame Ali herself. Not directly but it was definitely implied. I felt bad for Ali – as she’s a modern farmer, raising vegetables and bees to sell at farmer’s markets and the local herb shoppe. She has a solid business plan in action and despite the hiccups that come from that kind of lifestyle and business, I didn’t think it was fair of him to put all the blame on Ali’s shoulders when he had a bit of responsibility invested as well.

You gather the sense that Heath is not exactly a bendable or adaptable bloke – he abandoned the idea of happiness years ago and he let himself feel distanced and removed from his faith, too. It was all tied together and because of that, he has difficulty in relating to others who have chosen different paths than his own. You felt for Heath, naturally as he hasn’t had it easy in life but at some point, you’d hope he’d find a way to transcend those past hurts and traumas. Even if that meant seeking out someone to talk to about it and find a way to make peace with what happened to him.

Local farmers’ markets like the one here in Legrasse are the kinds I love the most myself. Particularly because it encourages community togetherness and celebrates the locally sustained foods movement. I find it wicked wonderful when you can purchase produce and goods from within a local radius of miles, supporting your neighbours and knowing what goes into the products you’re eating. Local foods are healthier as well as most practice non-chemical growing rotations, too. I loved seeing how all the different characters (both lead, supporting and minor) came back into view at the market. It is definitely a meeting place for the community, and I felt Thorne showcased that kind of atmosphere very well.

The more their lives started to intercede on each other, the more you felt the growing attraction between Ali and Heath would encourage each of them to see if they had something they could grow into a lasting relationship. However, life and romance are never that easy when you have outside influences at work. For them, Heath’s innate fear of bees and having a farm with bees actively kept next to his property was one deterrent. Finding himself smitten by the beekeeper was a war of conscience and heart because he couldn’t sort out a way to justice his past against the present. For Ali’s sake, she didn’t feel she was in the right position in her life to even contemplate a relationship. Whilst caught in the middle of their indecision were a young boy and a dog who both loved unconditionally and were the joyful companions for their parents.

Thorne was showing how through each of their interactions, there was more than ample reason to believe these two could form a healthy relationship and bond with one another, but she was showing it at a pace which allowed for her characters to sort that out for themselves. Including showing how they continued to wrestle with their own hearts, feelings and faith towards that end. Tam, Ali’s cousin (who felt more like a sister) was one of the voices of reason in the story alongside Monk who was a faithful friend who was helping Heath sell the knick knacks of his parents. That was part of his ongoing mission to clean out his mother’s house and fix the land and pastures to be better than the derelict condition they had fallen into out of neglect. With Tam and Monk’s voices of encouragement and a lot of soul searching on behalf of Ali and Heath – the healing they both needed if not craved felt more possible with each passing chapter. I was enjoying the journey they were taking because Thorne was giving them the grace to seek out the truths, they each needed to discover on their own terms.

I sympathised with Ali when her life took a bit of a left turn due to circumstances outside her control where she had to seek out a job that wasn’t aligned with her heart. Sometimes we have to make choices that benefit us in the short term even if our long-term goals are different. We all do what we have to do in life, but I could understand the strain this new wrinkle in her plans was causing her and why she wished she could just continue on the path of farming the land without the outside job. My favourite part of the story though was when Heath had a moment of reckoning in his heart and mind; where he quite literally realised just how far he had come in personal growth and why his everyday life wasn’t measuring up the way it once had. Both of them were at a crossroads and they each were about to choose which way was best for both of them. And, it was that part of the story where I smiled the most and couldn’t wait to devour the pages fast enough!

My eyes were a bit misty at different moments of the story as The Beekeeper Next Door touched on a lot of heartwarming truths about life, relationships and sorting out our lives when circumstances attempt to derail us. I was especially pleased with the inclusion of bee culture and the light touches of highlighting why bees are important in our local environments. I am definitely a supporter of bees, and it was a touching story from that aspect of it, too. Charlie was a true gem of a character – his youthful innocence and adventurous spirit was a delight of joy. Heath and Ali anchoured the story – both individually and together as Thorne gave us ample time to get to know them. You felt privy to their inner thoughts and that made the story emotionally convicting and compelling until the very last chapter which was the Epilogue. I didn’t want this one to end to be honest – I definitely wanted to know ‘what comes next’ – do they merge their properties as much as their hearts? I can’t wait to read the next story set in Legrasse if only to gain a glimpse into where we find Ali, Heath and Charlie as their lives moved forward. The Beekeeper Next Door is a heart-lift of a slow-burning romance which inspires as much as it gives you joy to read.

on why i appreciate ms thorne’s inspy romantic styling:

I read somewhere online (believed it was on Ms Thorne’s website, but I could be mistaken) that this is the start of a new series of stories set in Legrasse, Georgia. Similar to how her previous novels were interconnected with Kudzu Creek. I love having the chance to re-visit the townes in the stories I am reading, and I am most eager to read the next connective story within this one, too. Thorne also has a knack for highlighting single Mums in her stories which is something I appreciate seeing as well. She writes them in a positive light, and they all had a common knack for business in one shape or another, standing strong on their own and sorting out their lives, too. This is another reason why I enjoy her stories.

I truly loved how she developed the character of Ali – a woman who was self-determined to make it on her own terms and to develop a small farm that not only could sustain itself but have enough profit for its owner. I love that about having land where the land itself can produce what you need and even more which can be shared with your community. Farming in all varieties on the local level is where the future is because they have the tendency to be more sustainable and environmentally friendly with lower impacts on the natural environs around them. It was refreshing to see all of this explored and celebrated throughout my readings of The Beekeeper Next Door.

In this novel, I saw the growth of Thorne’s writing style as she interwove more of the faith-based antidotes and references into the storyline. She also found a better balance in how she told the story – by letting the characters take us on a fuller journey without resolving some aspects of that journey for us as readers. She wasn’t telling us but allowing us to see those moments of growth as her characters started to expand their hearts and minds in front of us. I even appreciated how she showed how they each had to process the passage of the past with the newer truths they uncovered in the present. Life is hard enough but overcoming loss (ie. death of a parent or a spouse, as this story focuses on both) is a personal journey of its own and not one that is easily navigable. It takes time and it takes patience, and it takes a lot of faith and prayer to overcome to where living doesn’t feel oppressively hard. Lose is part of all our lives but it is one of the harder moments to reconcile especially when it comes to our emotions and memories – and Thorne did a great job of showing that side of it too, as she focused on Ali and Heath’s path towards self-healing.

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This book review is courtesy
of the author: Danielle Thorne

Danielle Thorne Review Team badge created by Jorie in Canva.

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This lovely badge I’ve created to reflect the fact I am part of the Review Team for Danielle Thorne. As such, per my usual disclosures when I have a connection to an author – I approach each story I read by an author with fresh eyes and give my honest impressions of how a story sits with me as a reader. I treat each book as a ‘new experience’, whether I personally know the author OR whether I am reading a book by them for the first time or continuing to read their releases as they are available. In regards to being on an author’s review or street team – each story is uniquely told in of its own and my opinions and thoughts upon those stories are reflective of each experience I have with reading the stories I am given an opportunity to read.

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I look forward to reading your thoughts & commentary!
Especially if you read the book or were thinking you might be inclined to read it.
I appreciate hearing different points of view especially amongst
readers who gravitate towards the same stories to read.
Bookish conversations are always welcome!

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This review is cross-posted to LibraryThing.

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Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2024.

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About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Tuesday, 9 July, 2024 by jorielov in 21st Century, Contemporary Romance, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Family Drama, Indie Author, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Life Shift, Modern Day, Motherhood | Parenthood, Romance Fiction, Single Mothers, Small Towne Fiction, Small Towne USA, Southeastern USA, Widows & Widowers

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