The Secret Life of Bees tells the story of feisty white teenage runaway, Lily Owens, who accidentally killed her mother as a small child. Lily escapes her embittered father and goes on a journey, both physical and psycholgical, taking her to the pink home of the three black Boatwright sisters, the oldest of which takes Lily under her wing and initiates her into the intriguing world of bee-keeping. Lily gradually discovers romance as well as the truth about her mother - a truth which she has been longing and yet dreading to hear. Monk Kidd deftly weaves this around the other big themes of the story: the religion and worship of the black Madonna, and racial tensions in America's deep south of the era. All five stars go to this poignant and breath-taking story. A must read.