The Lemonade Year
Amy Willoughby-burle Shadow Mountain Publishing (APRIL) Softcover $15.99 (352pp), 978-1-62972-411-9
Sweet and tangy, The Lemonade Year is a lighthearted romance that takes on heavy issues like divorce, miscarriage, and family dysfunction.
Food photographer Nina Griffin is pretty sure that life after divorce is just the pits. Everything that she was counting on—her marriage, parents, job, and family—is suddenly put in jeopardy. Nina quickly realizes that her usual coping methods, which range from carrot cake to cute guys, aren’t going to dig her out of the hole she’s in, either. As she tries to negotiate the difficult events of her “lemonade year,” Nina must learn to identify what really matters in her life and how far she’s willing to go to secure it.
Relatable, sassy, and genuine, Nina is a wonderful character who lights up the pages of The Lemonade Year. As a photographer, her perspective is visual and adds many fun details to the landscape of the novel. Nina is a keen observer: one day, visiting her sister Lola, she reflects, “She tried so hard to hide the braces on her legs, to walk slowly so she wouldn’t need to limp, but inside her room, she would take off the leg warmers, sit in the sun, and let the light gleam off the metal casings on her ankles.” Nina understands that part of loving someone is paying attention to them. In The Lemonade Year, she discovers the pleasure of finally feeling seen herself.
This deft, quick novel moves easily through Nina’s many ups and downs. It takes on big issues, from losing a family member to coping with a brain injury, but its language remains light and friendly, promising that no matter how bad things get, Nina can still have the life she desires.
The Lemonade Year is a smart, satisfying romance that balances life’s sour moments with its sweet ones.