The Secret Life of Bees, written by Sue Monk Kidd, is set in South Carolina during the 1960s at the time of the Civil Rights Movement. It is the story of 14-year old Lily Owens and her quest for love and freedom. After her mother tragically dies, she is left to live with her abusive father, T. Ray, and eventually runs away with the housekeeper, Rosaleen.
They search for a city named Tiburon which they see on a jar of honey. In this city are three beekeeping sisters -- May, June, and August -- who own and operate a beekeeping business. On this farm, Lily finds new meaning in her life as she rediscovers secrets of her past.
Prior to reading the novel, it is important that you familiarize yourself with the history of the Civil Rights Movement. The document entitled "Civil Rights: Events and Features" (to the left) will provide a brief summation of events and people you should know.