She fell back into the chair shaking with anger. She tried to breathe, but the air had turned thick with bees. All this time Eva had been watching and listening patiently, storing her opportunities and keeping her insects silent. She was the one who had been careless, the one who had been too sure. Permony and Malin had warned her and she had not listened. Now Eva had struck and gotten Daniel where she wanted him-on her side and hateful to his own wife. (p. 331)
Of Bees and Mist, of selfishness and control, of mothers-in-law and husbands, this book weaves a tale which is part magical fantasy, part reality,and all tenacity of Meridia. My favorite character.
Yet, each character is drawn with such articulate strokes, it is easy to picture them all before you:
- Ravenna, Meridia’s mother, with her high-necked, long-sleeved, black dress and iron knot of hair at the back of her head;
- Gabriel, her father, sitting at his baronial desk when he isn’t accompanied by a blue or yellow mist to and from his home;
- Daniel, her love and husband, who was weak but became strong; and
- overshadowing them all is Eva: Malin, Permony and Daniel’s mother, Elias’ wife, Patina’s daughter, and Meridia’s mother in law.
Such a powerful creature of greed and control, selfishness and deceit, she is able to manipulate everything and everyone. She turns her mother’s feet to goat hooves so that Patina hobbles humbly in serving the family. She turns one daughter against the other so skillfully it isn’t until the eldest is an adult that she realizes how cruelly she treated her little sister. Eva tries, time and time again, to manipulate, Meridia. But, she cannot do it.
Not even her bees have power against Meridia’s strength. Her bees can fill a room with their stinging needles and buzzing hisses, her bees come forth when she beckons them to do her will. But, Meridia has seen her mother seize a chair and break the window panes to pieces in order to let the bees escape. She knows of other tactics, most particularly that of fortitude, which will not permit the bees to have their way.
I loved, loved, loved this book.