The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri – Review

Title: The Beekeeper of Aleppo

Author: Christy Lefteri

Genre: Fiction

Publisher: Zaffre

Publication Date: 2nd May 2019



Nuri is a beekeeper; his wife, Afra, an artist. They live a simple life, rich in family and friends, in the beautiful Syrian city of Aleppo – until the unthinkable happens. When all they care for is destroyed by war, they are forced to escape. But what Afra has seen is so terrible she has gone blind, and so they must embark on a perilous journey through Turkey and Greece towards an uncertain future in Britain. On the way, Nuri is sustained by the knowledge that waiting for them is Mustafa, his cousin and business partner, who has started an apiary and is teaching fellow refugees in Yorkshire to keep bees. 

As Nuri and Afra travel through a broken world, they must confront not only the pain of their own unspeakable loss, but dangers that would overwhelm the bravest of souls. Above all – and perhaps this is the hardest thing they face – they must journey to find each other again.


I don’t think anyone is unaware of the refugee crisis that has gripped the word due to conflicts like the one in Syria. However, I think many, including myself, probably haven’t quite been able to completely grasp just how incredibly devastating it must be for the people who have had their lives destroyed. Reading books like The Beekeeper of Aleppo really drive home just what it must be like to have the home and country you love implode.

I found this story both very upsetting and yet still full of hope for the future. There is a great deal of sadness in the lives of these characters but they manage to find the small rays of hope that allow them to carry on their tortuous journey. The beekeeping aspect of the story was especially lovely – I thought the care Nuri and his cousin Mustafa take with their precious bees demonstrated the warmth certain people are able to retain even when they have been through hell. I also loved the relationship between Afra and Nuri which has been fractured due to events in Syria. Reading about how they find their way back to each other had me in tears more than once.

Overall, this is a timely and important novel which, although not based on real people, is a story that shows the true cost of war and violence. The author had worked as a volunteer in a refugee centre in Greece and she has brought to life the devastation she must have experienced and created a beautiful novel about love, loss and the cost of survival.


The Beekeeper of Aleppo

I received this book through Readers First. My review is my own honest opinion.

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