Organized and shy Isabel Johansen is about to turn her family home into a cooking school, when writer and adventurer Cormac O'Neil arrives, upsetting her carefully ordered life. Isabel Johansen is they type of woman who makes detailed, careful plans. She was raised by her grandparents on their lush orchard Bella Vista as her parents died the day she was born, and now she is turning their beautiful home into a destination cooking school, with the blessing of her grandfather, Magnus. Bella Vista is an estate, with lands and a large home, where Isabel and her whole family lives. In the midst of getting her cooking school up and running, she is also planning the wedding of her sister, whom she just recently learned existed. No one knows that the cool and collected Isabel is holding a secret close.
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Isabel meets Cormac O'Neil at the beginning of the book while chasing down a bee swarm that she intends to catch and add to her hives. She incorrectly assumes that he is the beekeeper she is expecting, Jamie. Things go quickly awry as Cormac disturbs the swarm, and is stung repeatedly. Unfortunately, he is deathly allergic to bees. Isabel works quickly to find his Epipen but messes up on the administration, causing her to search for the back up pen. Cormac swiftly injects himself, and Isabel gets him into his car, and straight to the doctor's office. She finds out that he is in town visiting her sister Tess, and is writing her grandfather's biography. After his doctor's visit, she takes him back to her home at Bella Vista. While in town, she runs into Calvin Sharpe, a man from her past that is the source of her secret. Calvin was her mentor, as well as her lover. When she finds out she is pregnant by him, he turned violent.
At home, Jamie the beekeeper turns up, and is not a man but a pregnant young girl. Jamie has an affinity for bees and for guitar playing, and before she knows it, Isabel has folded her into the family, giving her a permanent position as their beekeeper, and a little cottage to live in.
Cormac meets the family and begins working on Magnus' biography about his life growing up in Copenhagen during the Nazi occupation of World War II. Magnus talks about losing his friends to the Nazis, and about his experiences with the resistance group that he worked with. Annelise Winther, an old family friend of Magnus' and also Tess' mother, shares her own stories about growing up under the same regime.
Cormac is a man of action, where Isabel doesn't do anything without a carefully thought-out plan. When he falls for her, it takes some wooing on his part before Isabel realizes she feels the same. Her experience with Calvin has left her apprehensive about relationships, and she holds herself away from Cormac. She begins to realize that Cormac is not Calvin, and allows herself to love Cormac. She dives into their relationship with both feet, and also delivers justice upon Calvin.
Best part of story, including ending:
I loved this book, because of the historical aspects. The flashbacks to the 1940s Copenhagen through the eyes of Magnus and Annelise were thoughtfully written and eye-opening.
Best scene in story:
My favorite scene in the book is one that involves Annelise recounting the worst moment of the war. She was captured by the Nazis and forced to take part in an experiment, the Lebensborn houses. Women and girls with highly revered ideal traits according to the Nazis such as blonde hair and blue eyes, were forced to have the babies of Nazi officers. Annelise recalls her time spent in one, and her eventual escape.
Opinion about the main character:
I was most bothered by the fact that Isabel had evidence against Calvin Sharpe, but didn't pursue justice until years later. She was assaulted but never told anyone; I felt that she needed to have faced this earlier, or at least have called the police.