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Little Bee    by Chris Cleave order for
Little Bee
by Chris Cleave
Order:  USA  Can
Simon & Schuster, 2009 (2009)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Joan Burton

Little Bee and her sister Nkiruka are running for their lives. The killers chasing them have just massacred everyone in their village and they have witnessed the deaths of their parents, family, and friends. Big oil companies have moved into Nigeria and are taking over the land for drilling. They are moving across the country, sparing no one.

Running along the beach, the girls meet an English couple wandering away from their hotel. The sisters beg them for help but are soon captured by the men pursuing them. The killers make an offer to the man and wife. The man flat out refuses, but the woman makes a decision that will affect her for the rest of her life.

Andrew and Sarah O'Rourke are in Nigeria for a much needed vacation. Back home in England Sarah manages a magazine while Andrew is a journalist. Their marriage is in trouble when Andrew learns that Sarah has taken a lover. Ready to call it quits they reconcile for the sake of their young son Charlie. When Sarah obtains free tickets to a resort in Nigeria they decide to accept the offer, not knowing how their lives will be impacted.

Two years have passed since that terrible day in Nigeria and Sarah is planning a funeral for her husband. Little Bee has turned up on her doorstep with Andrew's driver's license and tells a frightening story of survival. She escaped the men who raped and tortured Nkiruka and became a stowaway on a cargo ship to England. When she was discovered she spent two years in a refugee detention centre with other woman from around the world.

Now Sarah feels that she can help Little Bee gain refugee status, but when she hears her shocking confession she doubts whether she can stand behind this young woman and help her attain her freedom. Little Bee is a remarkable story of two women from two different worlds. When facing tragedy, they manage to move forward and support one another.

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