Shannon here: Amish romance author, Kelly Irvin shares the inspiration for her latest title, The Beekeeper’s Son. Comment or answer the question at the end of any post dated March 18 – 20 to enter the drawing for a copy. Deadline: March 28th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Kelly:
The story behind the story: Beauty in the Eyes of the Beholder by Kelly Irvin
In The Beekeeper’s Son, the story behind the story began with a trip to a small Amish community in south Texas that is nothing like the idyllic scenes we see in Lancaster County. I took a trip to Bee County thinking I would pitch it as the setting for a new series. Texas’s only Amish community. It’s not a pretty place. The community is small and self-sufficient and the folks are not much on cleaning up. I was put off by that at first, but then as I drove home I started thinking about what the world considers beautiful and what’s God’s definition of beautiful is. From that seed grew the love story of Deborah Lantz and Phineas King.
Deborah is new to Bee County and she is not impressed. She can’t understand why they don’t spruce up the place. She can’t understand why they try to make crops grow in such a barren, bleak land. She’s homesick and heart sick.
Phineas King has lived in Bee County his entire life. He loves taking care of the apiaries. He finds solace in the isolation of the windswept, desolate countryside. He enjoys the solitary pursuit of bird watching. He’s no beauty and he figures he fits right in. Scarred physically in a van accident that took his mother’s life, Phineas has convinced himself no woman will ever love him. How could a woman love a flawed man with an ugly mug like his? The scars on his heart are far more crippling than those on his face.
The Beekeeper’s Son explores the question of how anything God creates can be considered ugly. How can we look in the mirror and see a fat, ugly, short, skinny, too tall woman with thighs that are too big or a behind that sticks out too far or feet that are simply gigantic? Weren’t we created in God’s image? God loves us just as we are. We are his children. He would never find you or me ugly. We are his love story and we should be able to find beauty in every circumstance.
When Deborah sees the Gulf of Mexico for the first time, she trails after Phineas trying to talk to him. He fascinates her for a reason she can’t understand. He’s afraid to let himself feel anything, especially for a beautiful woman like Deborah. He stops, picks up a broken sand dollar, and hands it to her. She says, “It’s perfect.”
We’re all broken and yet, perfect in God’s eyes.
Deborah and Phineas have to learn to accept who they are and what they are and the circumstances of how they arrived at this moment in their lives, before they can believe themselves worthy of receiving love. Then it falls right their laps. All they have to do is raise their arms and embrace it. Those of us who have ever felt less than worthy can do the same.
About Kelly: Kelly Irvin is the author of the critically acclaimed The Beekeeper’s Son, called “a beautifully woven masterpiece” by Publishers Weekly. The book is the first of three in The Amish of Bee County series from Zondervan/HarperCollins. Kelly also penned the Bliss Creek Amish series and the New Hope Amish series, both from Harvest House Publishers. She has also authored two inspirational romantic suspense novels, A Deadly Wilderness and No Child of Mine.
The Kansas native is a graduate of the University of Kansas School of Journalism. She wrote nonfiction professionally for more than thirty years, including ten years as a newspaper reporter, mostly in Texas-Mexico border towns. She has worked in public relations for the city of San Antonio for twenty-one years. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and serves as secretary of the local chapter, Alamo Christian Fiction Writers.
Kelly has been married to photographer Tim Irvin for twenty-seven years. They have two grown adult children, two grandchildren, two cats, and a tank full of fish. In her spare time, she likes to write short stories and read books by her favorite authors.
About the book – The Beekeeper’s Son:
Sometimes it takes a barren landscape to see the beauty of God’s creation.
Phineas King knows better than to expect anything but shock and pity wherever he shows his face. Horribly scarred from the van accident that claimed his mother’s life, he chooses to keep his distance from everyone, focusing his time and energy on the bees his family raises. If no one sees him, no one can judge him. So why does he start finding excuses to seek out Deborah Lantz, the beautiful new arrival in town?
Deborah can’t get out of Bee County, Texas, soon enough. Once her mother and younger siblings are settled, she is on the first bus out of this dusty town. She is only waiting on the letter from Aaron, asking her to return to lush Tennessee to be his fraa. But that letter never comes. As she spends time getting to know Phineas—hoping to uncover the man beneath the scars—she begins to realize that she no longer minds that Aaron hasn’t sent for her.
As both Deborah and Phineas try to come to terms with lives that haven’t turned out the way they imagined, they discover that perhaps Gott’s plans for them are more extraordinary than they could have dreamed. But they need to let go of their own past sorrows and disappointments to find the joy and beauty that lies just ahead for them both.
Question: Have you ever picked up seashells along the shore? If so, where?
Come back March 23rd for Connie Stevens!