The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri
This book - recommended to me by a friend - took me on the tortuous journey that bee-keeper, Nuri, and his artist wife, Afra, are forced to make from war-torn Syria to a less-than-welcoming Europe.
They grieve not only for love-ones who have been tragically lost, but also for their fractured country and the lives they used to live there, remembered poignantly as if in a dream:
"the leaves of the trees glistened, the smoke of the shiska rose into the night in ribbons of silk, the plants in the hanging baskets suddenly bloomed with glowing flowers, infusing the courtyard with their sweet scent...a place in a storybook, the type my mother used to read to me in the room with the blue tiles."
The Beekeeper of Aleppo is the moving and compassionate story of two people searching not only for a place of safety, but also for a way to find one another again. It speaks of the need for compassion. For tolerance and understanding. For a world of peace. One as ordered and harmonious as that lived by the bees that mean so much to Nuri.
"In the middle of war he found love. In the midst of darkness, he found courage. In the midst of tragedy, he found hope. What will you find from his story?"
If you buy just one book this Christmas season, for yourself or as a gift, let me urge you to make it The Beekeeper of Aleppo.