Like Bees to Honey

Like bees to honey cover

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Nina, her son Christopher in tow, flies to Malta for one last visit with her aging parents.

Her previous attempt to see them ended in tears. Disowned for falling pregnant while at university in England, she was not allowed into the house.

This will be her final chance to make her peace with them.

But Malta holds more secrets and surprises than Nina could possibly imagine. What she finds is not the land of her youth, a place full of memories and happiness. Instead she meets dead people. Lots of them.

Malta, it transpires, is a transit lounge for recently deceased spirits and somehow Christopher enables her to see them, speak with them and help them.

And, in return, they help Nina come to terms with her own loss. One so great that she has yet to admit it to herself.

A major new novel from the acclaimed author of In Search of Adam and Black Boxes. In her third novel, Caroline Smailes draws upon her own family history for a remarkable and unforgettable story. Like Bees to Honey is a story of loss, redemption and ghosts. It is a magical tale that will live with you long after you finish reading.

“Haunting, heartfelt and beautiful.” Chris Cleave, author of The Other Hand/Little Bee.

What People Are Saying About

“This book contains many hilarious scenes between Nina and the spirits! Jesus makes his entrance with a passion for Cisk beer, ruby red toenails and a desire to ask questions about Paul O’Grady. But to get the feeling of the book, one has to read it all.”

The Malta Independent.

“With a Cisk bottle emblazoned on its cover, Caroline Smailes’s Like Bees to Honey is a haunting story set in wartime Malta.”


“As the ghosts on the island try to help Nina find peace and the courage to return to her family in Liverpool, you find yourself lifted by the story…and also strangely craving a Cisk beer.” 


“Unique is a word that gets bandied around far too much, but Caroline’s style, is just that – unique. I can’t imagine anyone else writing the way she does, because I don’t think anyone else could.”

Julia Williams, author of The Bridesmaid Pact.

“I don’t know another writer like Caroline. She is truly gifted and unique, her imagination and originality is boundless…”

Bestselling author Rowan Coleman.

“…tale of trust and belief, a parable of courage and loss, a lyrical ballad with imagery as odd and evocative as Eliot’s ‘unreal city under the brown fog’, a courageous narrative about redemption and existence.”

The Creative Identity.

“Like Bees to Honey brings out Smailes’ true colours as a great painter of words. Images of Malta are burned into our minds with incredible mastery; decadent and dishevelled images of houses, dark atmospheric places of worship and crazy bus drivers. The reader is exposed to an incredible explosion of sensory experiences; from the clammy weather to the delicious smells and tastes of Malta.”

Avrupa Gazete, May 2010

“I loved your use of language, your ability to take me right inside the depths of the emotions that your characters feel. I loved the way you played with our (the readers’) emotions and pulled out the surprises. I loved the new sensuality in the prose – your obvious love for, and appreciation of, Malta. That different environment really brought out something lush and warm in your writing.”

Orna Ross, author of A Dance in Time.

“‘Smailes, is herself quite masterful with language, and has an incredible knack for melding Maltese and English together beautifully.”

Air Malta’s January 2011 edition of Sky Life.

“This is a novel packed with significance, and upon every reading the reader surfaces triumphantly with treasure as meanings broaden and take on deeper significance. In this novel Caroline Smailes has pushed at boundaries of literary fiction and language as her characters explore and break down their own multifarious confines in order to create that essential integral sense of identity that can only exist if we learn to really forgive ourselves the unforgiveable.”

Belletrista (Issue 11)

“‘Like Bees to Honey’ is a didactic story that deals with an array of important issues including family, trust, grief, love, religion and faith – a thought-provoking, intense book that treats the topics of life and death with a serious pen, yet includes a tongue-in-cheek-tone that keeps it from falling into depressing depths.”

The Sunday Times of Malta

“…an up-and-coming author.”

The Times

“… a sparkler in the shape of a fiction book .”

The Times of Malta.

“Haunting, heartfelt and beautiful.”

Chris Cleave, author of The Other Hand/Little Bee.


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