The Lemonade Year by Amy Willoughby-Burle
LOVE. LOSS. AND SECOND CHANCES.
Nina's once-sweet life has unexpectedly turned sour. Her marriage is over, her job is in jeopardy, and her teenage daughter is slipping away from her. Then her father dies and issues with Nina's mother come to a head; her estranged brother, Ray, comes home; and her sister, Lola, is tempted to blow a big family secret out of the water. They say the truth will set you free, but first it will make a huge mess of things.
All Nina's got left is her final photography assignment shooting images for the book 32 Ways to Make Lemonade. Well, that and the attention of a younger man, but Oliver's on-again-off-again romantic interest in her ebbs and flows so much she is seasick. And then Jack, her ex-husband, shows up, wanting to get back together.
As Nina struggles to find a way through her complicated relationships and to uncover her true path, she discovers just how valuable a second chance at life and happiness can be.
Be prepared. This book is depressing. It's heart-wrenching. It's downright sad. But there are light, happy parts too. And the story is intriguing and keeps you pulled in, so you need to read just one more page, just one more chapter, even though it's way past your bedtime or you're going to be late if you don't leave right now. It's a hard book to read. But it's also hard to put down. Nina's life seems to be falling apart in every way imaginable. Her marriage fell apart, her teenage daughter hates her, her family is about as dysfunctional as they get, her job is on the line, and her dad just died. This book is about her life, her family's lives and how they all intertwine and work together (or don't.) I admit, I was not happy with how the story was turning out. I got kinda mad about it, really. But thankfully, this story does have a happy ending, even if it's not the one I initially thought would be best. So many great characters in this story. I think Lola and Oliver were probably my favorite, even though it's pretty hard to choose, because there are so many good ones.
Wow! I had so many emotions while reading this book, that it's hard to know where to start. But, first I want to address that I was really caught off guard by the content of The Lemonade Year. Probably 99% of the books I’ve read from this publisher would fall under the squeaky clean category, so reading about someone who was just divorced due to an affair (and the feelings the “faithful” spouse had about that) and then contemplating a one night stand was quite unexpected. That said, once I was past the shock, I thought this was a really good book. It was packed with emotion and something I can see sticking with me for quite awhile.
A lot had happened to Nina’s family while she was growing up and then she was going through so much with her husband (ex) and teenage daughter. Maybe it was a little much for one person to deal with, but it didn’t seem unrealistic. I could relate to Nina in some ways, and I was left evaluating my relationship with my teenage daughter. I really liked Oliver, Ray, and Lola. I liked the message about finding happiness in our current situation instead of always looking for something else. This is a book that takes you on an emotional roller coaster ride. There is laughter next to tears.
I knew this book was going to be sad when I started it, so that didn't surprise me. The content did though. I guess from this publisher I just wasn't expecting talk of affairs and sex, staying over night, drinking, etc.
All that being said as a heads-up kind of way, I also wasn't expecting to enjoy the book. I did. Because it isn't light and fluffy (I swear I went through a box of tissues), I probably won't read it again, but I enjoyed the ride I was taken on in this book, and honestly I loved the ending. I won't say anymore about it because of spoilers, but I loved where it went. I loved all the relationships in this book. The mother-daughter, siblings, husband-wife, friends, all of it. They really made this book. I loved how Nina grew and changed. I loved the support she had, even in places she didn't think she had it.
It might be an interesting book for a book club, but again, just remember the content when figuring if it's right for your group.
Title: The Lemonade Year
Author: Amy Willoughby-Burle Publisher: Shadow Mountain Published: April 2018 ISBN: 1629724114 Source: We received copies from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Purchase: Amazon Deseret Book