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Review: The Keeper of the Bees by Gene Stratton Porter

by Kellyn Roth |
October 1, 2015

Jamie MacFarlane is living at a hospital in California where he is trying to recover from a wound he received in World War One. One day he decides that he’s had enough of the doctors’ treatments, gets up, and walks out of the hospital to have a “Great Adventure.”

After days of walking, Jamie decides that he wants to find the ocean and die on a tranquil beach … or so he thinks.

Just when he’s at the end of his ropes, he finds the peaceful cottage of the Bee Master right next to the Pacific. Since the Bee Master is ill, Jamie becomes the Keeper of the Bees with the help of Margaret Cameron, the Bee Master’s neighbor, and the Little Scout, a ten-year-old child who helps the Bee Master with his work.

The Keeper of the Bees by Gene Stratton Porter is one of the greatest books I have ever read. As always with her novels, when Porter describes the beach you can hear the waves crashing, smell the sand and water, feel the salty mist. When she tells you about the Best Master’s garden you might as well be standing right in the middle of it.

Jamie is a very real, very good person. He’s depressed; he’s alone in the world. He feels that he’s lost everything and everyone, including God. He thinks of his death as something inevitable that will likely come in the next few months.

The Keeper of the Bees has an important lesson to teach people … perhaps even more so now than it did when it was first published in 1925.

My favorite things about The Keeper of the Bees …

It’s hard to say. This book has so many good points that picking my one favorite is difficult. I love the characters, especially the spunky, clear-thinking Little Scout, the setting, the style of writing, but especially the strong Christian/life lesson that is still applicable now as it will be for all time.


I give The Keeper of the Bees 5/5 stars. J

How can you find out more about Gene Stratton Porter?

Gene Stratton Porter wrote twelve novels in total plus many books on natural history. I’ve read four of her novels so far and enjoyed every one thoroughly. Here’s a link to Gene Stratton Porter’s Amazon Page

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9 Responses

  1. Hmm…I think I’ll try that one!
    I don’t know if any other book could be as good as “A Girl of the Limberlost,” though, even if it was written by the same author–the wonderful amazing Gene Stratton Porter!

  2. I love this book!!! It’s one of those books where you have to get a new copy every year because it gets so wrecked with all the reading you give it. It doesn’t get better than this book!!!
    I also love “Girl of The Limberlost,” another Gene Stratton Porter wonder work!

    1. I’m not sure. They’re very different and appeal to me in different ways. I think by the time she wrote “A Keeper of the Bees,” Gene Stratton Porter was much less melodramatic in her writing style. But … A Girl of the Limberlost is still my favorite book. 🙂
      Oh, and Bay, why don’t we set a limit, say, one reply per person? Eh?

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