Hard Cider

Bar­bara Stark-nemon She Writes Press (SEPTEM­BER) Soft­cover $16.95 (240pp), 978-1-63152-475-2

Foreword Reviews - - Reviews Adult Fiction - MEG NOLA

In Bar­bara Stark-nemon’s Hard Cider, a midlife de­sire to pur­sue a dream comes to lit­eral fruition—but not with­out per­sis­tence, re­sis­tance, and re­search.

Ab­bie Rose Stone is a wife of thirty years, a mother, and a true lover of the Great Lakes re­gion “at the pinky fin­ger of the Michi­gan mitt,” where she and her fam­ily have a lakeside cot­tage. Ab­bie finds her­self in­creas­ingly in­trigued by the process of mak­ing hard cider, a fas­ci­na­tion that be­gan decades ago in Eng­land, where she lived be­fore mar­riage and fam­ily be­came her fo­cus.

Now ap­proach­ing her mid-fifties, Ab­bie is ac­cus­tomed to putting the needs of oth­ers be­fore her own. Ab­bie’s plan to start her own cider press in Michi­gan is not met with en­thu­si­asm by her hus­band or her three adult sons. They nee­dle her with ques­tions about fi­nances, time de­mands, and the vi­a­bil­ity of such a ven­ture, sur­prised that she would step be­yond her nur­tur­ing role into the realm of be­com­ing a small-busi­ness owner.

For­tu­nately, Ab­bie re­fuses to have her hopes quashed. She con­tin­ues to re­search lo­gis­ti­cal and hor­ti­cul­tural de­tails, learns about the wide va­ri­ety of ap­ples, trav­els to New Eng­land to visit other cider presses, and seeks out lo­cal busi­ness al­lies. Be­yond all this is some fam­ily drama and a mys­te­ri­ous young woman who will come to play an un­ex­pect­edly larger role in Ab­bie’s life.

The novel soars with pas­sages about up­per Michi­gan’s unique beauty, as well as through Ab­bie’s in­stinc­tive love for na­ture and her cap­ti­vat­ing ex­cite­ment as she steps into a cider house, with its “sweet dank warmth and the pow­er­ful smells of a packed earth floor, crushed ap­ples, and hay.” Hard Cider is a story about fol­low­ing a dream, but not with­out the plan­ning and per­spec­tive needed to turn pas­sion into re­al­ity.

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