My review of ‘The Honey and the Sting’ by E.C. Fremantle

(c) Michael Joseph

This is a mesmerising tale of three sisters, Hester, Melis and Hope, who each have their own secrets to hide. Hester, whose son was the result of an attack by the Duke of Buckingham, George Villiers, pretends to be widow, Melis appears to have visions communicated to her by the bees that she keeps and their half-sister Hope, who’s trust in people could lead to their downfall. After taking desperate measures when Villiers demands the return of his son, they are forced to go on the run. Hiding deep in the woods, the house and the bees start to reveal their secrets, leading to tragedy and a daring plan.

Fremantle paints an incredibly detailed picture of the lives of ordinary women, a world away from the Stuart royal court of previous novels. The sisters, Hester’s son Rafe, their allies and enemies are skilfully drawn, as well as their homes, the inns they stay at and the countryside they journey through. The magically descriptive prose pulls you into the 17th century and does not release its grip until the very last page.

Thank you to Michael Joseph for my review copy

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