Book Review: The Last Beekeeper by Julie Carrick Dalton

Posted March 6, 2023 by WendyW in Uncategorized / 52 Comments

The Last Beekeeper
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

by Julie Carrick Dalton
Publication Date March 7, 2023
Published by Tor Publishing Group
Purchase Here Buy on Amazon US - Buy on Apple - Buy on Kobo - Buy on Google - Buy at Barnes and Noble - Buy on Audible - Buy on Amazon UK
Genres: Fiction / Nature & the Environment, Fiction / Thrillers / Suspense, Fiction / Women
Pages: 336
Format: ARC

***I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.***

Julie Carrick Dalton's The Last Beekeeper is a celebration of found family, an exploration of truth versus power, and the triumph of hope in the face of despair.

"Fans of Delia Owens will swoon to find their new favorite author.” (Hank Phillippi Ryan)

It’s been more than a decade since the world has come undone, and Sasha Severn has returned to her childhood home with one goal in mind—find the mythic research her father, the infamous Last Beekeeper, hid before he was incarcerated. There, Sasha is confronted with a group of squatters who have claimed the quiet, idyllic farm as their own. While she initially feels threatened, the group soon becomes her newfound family, offering what she hasn't felt since her father was imprisoned: security and hope. Maybe it's time to forget the family secrets buried on the farm and focus on her future.

But just as she settles into her new life, Sasha witnesses the impossible. She sees a honey bee, presumed extinct. People who claim to see bees are ridiculed and silenced for reasons Sasha doesn't understand, but she can't shake the feeling that this impossible bee is connected to her father's missing research. Fighting to uncover the truth could shatter Sasha's fragile security and threaten the lives of her newfound family—or it could save them all.

Julie Carrick Dalton's The Last Beekeeper is a celebration of found family, an exploration of truth versus power, and the triumph of hope in the face of despair. It is a meditation on forgiveness and redemption and a reminder to cherish the beauty that still exists in this fragile world.

Also by Julie Carrick Dalton:
Waiting for the Night Song

The Last Beekeeper by Julie Carrick Dalton is a book set in a dystopian future after an agricultural crisis has hit the world.  This gripping story follows one woman who must make a choice to save the world or save herself.

Story Recap:

Years after the world’s food supply collapsed, Sasha Severn returns to her childhood farm to find the research her father had completed before he became incarcerated.  

When Sasha arrives at her family’s farm, she finds a group of squatters who have claimed the farm as their own.  At first, she’s terrified, but eventually, she becomes one of them and together they form a family that works together for survival. 

But, when Sasha finds the impossible, a bee, she has to decide whether to break up her stability or fight for a better world for everyone. 

My Thoughts: 

The Last Beekeeper shows us what could happen to the world without pollinators and how our food system could collapse without them.  I love that the main character is a courageous young woman with determination and grit.  I loved Sasha and sympathized with her fear as well as her tenacity to find her father’s research and find the bees.  

The story is set in two timelines.  Sasha when she was 11 and working with her father and Sasha at 22, now an adult working to survive.  In this case, the timelines were both important.  I loved the earlier timeline where I could see the father and daughter working together and I could see their love for each other as Sasha’s father taught her about the bees.  And then the later timeline where Sasha has to navigate the world without him and find a way to continue his research and save the world.  


I highly recommend The Last Beekeeper to anyone who enjoys speculative fiction. I received a complimentary copy of this book.  The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

About Julie Carrick Dalton

Julie Carrick Dalton is the Boston-based author of The Last Beekeeper and Waiting for the Night Song, named a Most Anticipated 2021 novel by CNN, Newsweek, USA Today, Parade, and others, and an Amazon Editor’s pick for Best Books of the Month. A Bread Loaf, Tin House, and GrubStreet Novel Incubator alum, Julie is a frequent speaker on the topic of Fiction in the Age of Climate Crisis at universities, conferences, libraries, and museums. Her writing has appeared in Chicago Review of Books, Orion, Newsweek, The Boston Globe, Electric Literature, Lit Hub, and other publications. When she isn’t writing, you can usually find Julie digging in her garden, skiing, kayaking, or walking her dogs.

Have you read The Last Beekeeper?

52 responses to “Book Review: The Last Beekeeper by Julie Carrick Dalton

  1. This looks good and I love the look of the cover. I haven’t read much dystopian fiction and this is definitely an interesting take.

  2. This is scary because it could actually happen. We need bees to survive. I’m not afraid of bees and I try and plant things they like. Sounds like a great story. I’ll check this one out.

    • Thank you, Rachel. My husband has a beehive in our backyard and I’m not afraid of bees anymore now that I’ve been around them a lot.

  3. I love a good found family book. And I echo the comment above about bees- they’re fascinating but I’m a little leery of them after getting stung like 30 times as a kid. It was my fault though- I got way too close to a nest lol.

  4. I don’t think I have ever read a book like this before, especially when it comes to the topic of bees and pollination. They do play an important role in our system! Great review!

  5. This sounds fascinating! I’m absolutely terrified of bees (like, the way some people act with spiders and snakes – that’s me with bees. I can’t handle them at ALL), so maybe this book would help me appreciate them a little more? Haha! It certainly has an interesting plot. I loved reading your thoughts about it!

  6. I didn’t realize that this was a dystopian novel when I saw it. It sounds like a wonderful story. Excellent review!

  7. This sounds like a great story, Wendy. It is also very scary to think that this really could happen, especially with the decline we have had with bees over the last few years. Great review.

  8. Jenny+McClinton

    I have read more dystopian fiction lately, although I find them very scary a lot of the time, as it makes you think about how different life could be, great review 😊