Tuesday, May 1, 2018

The Lemonade Year by Amy Willoughby-Burle

The Lemonade YearThe Lemonade Year by Amy Willoughby-Burle
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Source: Received complimentary review copy.
Genre: Women's Contemporary Lit


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.

My thoughts: When I started this book I thought that I could get it read quickly. This is not a book that reads quickly! There are so many things to take in. Basically it is a story of love, loss, grief, forgiveness, and second chances. The family dynamic is complex, this is a dysfunctional family who have just lost their father. He was part of the glue that kept some of them together. They have to learn to work together as a family unit, instead of individuals.

Lola is the youngest sister and is probably the best of the bunch. She is dealing with an accident from her youth that still causes her problems as an adult. I won't say too much on this subject, because it is a huge part of the reason the family is struggling. Her story is revealed a little at a time.

Nina is the MC and the voice of the book. She has a lot on her plate, a job that is in jeopardy, a failed marriage, problems with a teen, infertility, attraction to a younger man, angst for her mother, and a brother that needs a lot of TLC. It really isn't unrealistic for a woman to be dealing with so much. I could empathize with her emotions, but she is a hard character to embrace.

I don't want you to think this is a book about doom and gloom. The emotions are real, the drama is realistic, and we all have hard things to deal with. One thing this book does give you is hope. Life does not work out perfectly, but it does get better.

The book deals with substance abuse, trauma, adultery, infertility, and dysfunctional relationships.

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Amy Willoughby-BurleAbout the Author:  (Taken from her WEBPAGE)  Amy Willoughby-Burle grew up in the small coastal town of Kure Beach, North Carolina. She studied writing at East Carolina University and is now a writer and teacher living in Asheville, North Carolina, with her husband and four children. She writes about the mystery and wonder of everyday life. Her contemporary fiction focuses on the themes of second chances, redemption, and finding the beauty in the world around us. Sara Gruen says of The Lemonade Year, “When life gives you lemons, read this book. It’s a delicious glass of humor, heart, and hope.”  Amy is also the author of a collection of short stories entitled Out Across the Nowhere and a contributor to a number of anthologies.

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