Of Bees and Mist by Erick Setiawan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
From birth Meridia seemed different. She sees ghosts in the mirrors of her magical and mysterious home, and her parents treat her oddly for reasons unknown to her. Gabriel her father resents her, never allowing the girl to speak unless spoken to, while her mother, Ravenna, forgets she exists. Even her nurse acts weird and won’t let her out of the house much, for fear of infections and a mist that never leaves their front door. Oh, how she longs to escape her miserable life.
When Daniel enters her life it’s a magical moment of true love, and they soon marry, but with marriage comes another odd family, and poor Meridia seems to leap from one strange household to another; swarms of bees appear at will, along with that colour changing mist again, but worse of all her mother-in-law, Eva, appears to only be happy when making Meridia and Daniel’s life hell. Both sets of parents are as bad as each other, and will use whatever method they can to get what they want, regardless of the mental torture and troubles they put Meridia and Daniel through. How many secrets can these two families hold? Can Meridia fathom out what is going on, and stay one step ahead, before her own marriage is destroyed? And what will become of her own child who doesn’t seem to stand a chance?
If anyone believes themselves to have Mother-In-Law problems and they read this book, I guarantee they will feel so much better about their lives. Both Meridia’s parents and her In-Laws wore me out with their conniving, scheming ways that almost tear the young couple apart, but that’s what made me read faster in order to find out how the story ended. This is a story of love overcoming everything, while at the same time it’s also heart breaking. I found it to be something of a cross between a modern fantasy and a Grimm fairytale, which is down to the author’s wonderfully bizarre imagination and his unusual upbringing; Born in Jakarta, Indonesia, to Chinese parents. Of Bees and Mist is an atmospheric epic of a story. I loved the way Meridia and her husband learn to overcome the two forces that try to break them up and the clever techniques that the young girl is forced to put into place to protect her family from the atrocities thrown at them from both sides.
Overall: This engaging plot, along with Setiawan’s captivating descriptions and ability to make the story flow in such a mystical and strange world, makes this tale one to recommend.
Review posted on Amazon UK.