I really loved reading The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd, which came out in 2002. The kernel of the novel is that when people are blessed with inner kindness, they instinctively behave kindly towards other people. If only this were a more common trait! August is the woman who is abundantly wise, kind, and understanding. The novel is wonderful: the story is tough in places and heartwarming in others.
After running away from Lily's home, Rosaleen and Lily have just turned up at the home of August Boatwright and asked for her. They don't even know her but they want to stay with her. They pretend they just want to earn a little money on their way to find Lily's aunt in Virginia.
The narrator is Lily, and August is the first speaker here:
"I'm from Virginia myself," she said, and for some reason this stirred up the current that had moved in my limbs when I'd first entered the room. "All right, then. Rosaleen can help May in the house, and you can help me and Zach with the bees. Zach is my main helper, so I can't pay you anything, but at least you'll have a room and some food till we call your aunt and see about her sending some bus money."
"I don't exactly know her whole name," I said. "My father just called her Aunt Bernie; I never met her."
"Well, what were you planning to do, child, go door to door in Virginia?"
"No, ma'am, just Richmond."
"I see," said August. And the thing was, she did. She saw right through it.
The novel is wonderful