The Magic of Lemon Drop Pie is emotive, and bittersweet contemporary with magical realism. I sure recommend this if you’re fan of adult contemporary or women’s fiction genre.
The Magic of Lemon Drop Pie by Rachel Linden
Publication Date : August 2nd 2022
Publisher : Berkley Books
Read Date : August 2nd 2022
Genre : Contemporary / Women’s Fiction
Tea for this book : Black + Peppermint
Disclaimer – Many thanks to Berkley for eARC via NetGalley.
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An uplifting novel about a heartbroken young pie maker who is granted a magical second chance to live the life she didn’t choose. . . . from the bestselling author of The Enlightenment of Bees.
Lolly Blanchard’s life only seems to give her lemons. Ten years ago, after her mother’s tragic death, she broke up with her first love and abandoned her dream of opening a restaurant in order to keep her family’s struggling Seattle diner afloat and care for her younger sister and grieving father. Now, a decade later, she dutifully whips up the diner’s famous lemon meringue pies each morning while still pining for all she’s lost.
As Lolly’s thirty-third birthday approaches, her quirky great-aunt gives her a mysterious gift–three lemon drops, each of which allows her to live a single day in a life that might have been hers. What if her mom hadn’t passed away? What if she had opened her own restaurant in England? What if she hadn’t broken up with the only man she’s ever loved? Surprising and empowering, each experience helps Lolly let go of her regrets and realize the key to transforming her life lies not in redoing her past but in having the courage to embrace her present.
bittersweet contemporary with magical realism
There is always regrets in life, lots of ‘what ifs’ and things that we wish we could change or go back in life and do it over differently so we have our dreams come true, eliminate those regrets but decisions and choices in favor of dream or against, always costs in one way or another way. There is always something we are not happy about and the cycle of wishing to change it starts its circle. But what if we are actually given a chance to see the other side of the what ifs and live alternare life for a day with better life choice?
In The Magic of Lemon Drop Pie is Lolly Blanchard gets three chances to visit an alternate reality of life if she could have made different decisions or if things happened in a different way. The story is about regrets, life choices, burden of responsibility, sacrifices, family, love, second chance, and life journey.
I loved the concept of the story and plot is interesting. Lolly had plans, dreams, possible future with love of her life but life went pear-shaped when her mother died a decade ago. She had to let go of her dreams to fulfill her promise to her mother to take responsibility of her younger sister and keep the family legacy by running a Danish family diner with her father. She is content with life but when she finds her journal from her teen years with list of life goals, she is thrown into a pit of regrets and misery of ‘what ifs’. She feel stuck in life and wants to move on but doesn’t know how. Help comes from her eccentric 80 yrs old aunt in form of gift of three magical lemon drops that can make her live the life of her dreams for a day.
It was interesting to see what alternate life she will visit and what she will learn from it, if it will change anything in her present life or help her move on, or how she will figure out how to make lemonade from her lemons of life.
The story is steady to slow paced written in first person narrative from Lolly’s perspective. There are intermittent past chapters that show Lolly’s relationship with her one and only love of life, Rory, and what happened between them. It perfectly balances Lolly’s life journey and helps us understand her feeling and why not being with Rory is her biggest life regret.
I loved the beautiful description of Magnolia and Lolly’s family diner. It was lovely to read importance of setting both to story and characters. Lolly’s friend, Eve, and her goat farm in Vashon island added its own character. Both Eve and Lolly’s businesses are interesting, quirky, and brilliant. All Characters are realistic and relatable.
It was easy to root for Lolly. She is kind, compassionate, lovely, brave, selfless, determined and strong-willed. I loved how driven and fiercely loyal she is to her family, how much she sacrificed for them and never complained about it or showed displeasure even though she felt worn and unhappy. It was like she lived for her family, putting aside her need and want. I could see how helpless and annoyed she felt with father who refused to change things around diner which is quickly sinking and her younger sister, for whom she sacrificed her life, wanted to drop out of her degree course and travel the world and pursue yoga. I could see her edges fraying and understand her desperate need for change.
Sinking to What if is sure inevitable in her shoe and I could see why she was putting faith in magical lemon drop. It was amazing to see how life changing and eye opening they turned out for her. Even though it took her long, I loved how she learned to accept the situation, to not force her sister to go through same thing she did, to let go and let things fall apart and try to create new picture instead of trying to glue broken pieces, move forward in life without looking back at past, and seek the bliss in present life and what awaits in future. I loved seeing passionate side of Lolly in third half.
This is roller coster of emotions and filled with beautiful relationships. Lolly’s friendship with Eve is lovely and soothing. I loved Lolly’s family especially her quirky and feisty aunt Gert who was full of wisdom. It was touching to meet her mother in alternate reality, and heartbreaking to read her break up with Rory.
Romance is important but I wouldn’t say it is at the center of the story. This is story of Lolly’s life journey and second chances and Rory and Lolly’s relationship is filled with those second chances. I don’t know how I feel about Rory though. He is good guy, kind, loyal and passionate but I also feel he could make more efforts.
Turns in the story are good. Some things are surprising while most of things are easy to predict especially after she used her last lemon drop on Rory. Climax is interesting and also satisfying to see Lolly finally coming out of rut. I enjoyed how Lolly turned things around and her business idea is predictable but amazing. It was great the way she realized she actually have accomplished all her goals just not the way she has thought. End is super lovely heartwarming and uplifting.
Why 4 stars
I liked the realistic approach with all the details and close look on emotions and feelings but at the same time it also made the story so very slow. Like I said story is predictable after some point and I don’t know how I feel about Rory (he sure won’t be on the list of book boyfriends!).
Overall, The Magic of Lemon Drop Pie is meaningful, touching, emotive, and bittersweet contemporary with touch of magical realism.
I recommend this if you like,
Slow to steady paced story
Story of second chances
Story that focus on life journey
Touch of magical realism
Realistic and relatable characters
Small town setting
Heartwarming uplifting read
Theme of loss and regrets
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