Lost in the Beehive by Michele Young-Stone
"At age seven, Gloria Ricci, the resilient narrator of Young-Stone’s emotionally rewarding third novel (after 2015’s Above Us Only Sky), is stung by a bee when she finds out her twin brothers didn’t survive their premature birth, and the bees continue to appear at pivotal points, providing a strangely reassuring constant in a life frequently touched by tragedy. In 1965, at age 16, a doomed romance with a girl named Isabel lands her at the Belmont Institute, where doctors plan to 'cure' her homosexuality. It’s there that she forms a deep attachment to Sheffield Schoeffler, a young gay man whose pain mirrors her own. After her release, Gloria runs away to New York to live with Sheffield, but she’s devastated when he commits suicide. Years later, she marries the seemingly kind Jacob Blount, moves to rural North Carolina, and endures years of mental and physical abuse at Jacob’s hands. When Gloria befriends the kind, beautiful Betty Jenkins, a local bakery owner, she is enamored, and her quiet desperation becomes quiet agony. Young-Stone addresses themes like self-acceptance and domestic abuse, adding a touch of magic realism. Readers’ hearts will ache for Gloria as she strives for courage, self-realization, and, ultimately, the freedom to love and be loved. Agent: Michelle Brower, Folio Literary Management. (Apr.)"
"Lost in the Beehive illuminates a timeless and universal lesson: life is brutal, but love redeems, and the only way through it all is truth. With an unforgettable main character and a beautiful big heart, this novel delivers what Michele Young-Stone does best: an opportunity to see directly into another soul. Not with artifice, or with sentimentality, but with glorious wit, and uncompromising compassion."
—Lydia Netzer, author of Shine, Shine, Shine and How to Tell Toledo from the Night Sky
"I loved this story of Gloria and Sheff and the magical bees. I read it from start to finish in one big gulp. Lost in the Beehive is a heartbreaking, life-affirming novel that champions the radical notion that to embrace our truest self is the one thing we can do to save ourselves. These characters and their lives and this beautiful story remained in my mind long after I finished reading."
—Patricia A. Smith, author of The Year of Needy Girls
Gloria Ricci is born wrong, or so she thinks. Growing up in the 1960s and attracted to the same sex, Gloria is sent to an institution to "be cured." There, she meets a boy who will change her life forever. As Gloria tries to understand the difference between right and wrong, she encounters a host of eccentric characters, from her hard-drinking uncle, her mother's first love, to a dark suitor, who promises the moon. Lost in the Beehive is an unconventional love story. It's the story of one woman's quest to be true to herself--to be who she was born to be.
Michele Young-Stone is the author of the novels Lost in the Beehive, Above Us Only Sky, and The Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors, which the Boston Globe called "an exceptionally rich and sure-handed debut." She graduated with her MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2005. Michele currently lives in the Outer Banks of North Carolina with her husband and son.