Set in South Carolina in 1964, The Secret Life of Bees tells the story of Lily Owens, whose life is shaped by her blurred memory of the afternoon of her mother's accidental death. When Lily's black "stand-in mother," Rosaleen, insults three racists in town, they escape to Tiburon, South Carolina.
Lily is lonely at home and feels that she is unloved by her father, T. Ray. However, with the help of August Boatwright, she is able to find that she has many people that love and care for her.
Lily is faced with trying to find out who she is because at her home she is not allowed to ask questions about her past. Lily does this in many ways, such as writing down her thoughts in a notebook, and finding her first love, Zachary Taylor. She finds out who she really is when she learns about her mother's past.