Monday, May 15, 2017

The Simplicity of Cider by Amy E. Reichert

Amy E. Reichert is an author that I associate with summer.  She writes foodie fiction tossed with a dash of magic, along with strong female protagonists who fight for the life they want to live, even if it may mean giving up their chance on love.  

I've read all three of Amy's novels:  The Coincidence of Coconut Cake; Luck, Love, and Lemon Pie, and now The Simplicity of Cider. They all take place in the Midwest, which of course is very appealing to a Midwest gal like myself.  Cider takes place in Door County, WI.  If you've never been, please go.  It's so gorgeous; Wisconsin was the location of many wonderful family vacations during my childhood.  

Sanna Lund runs the family apple orchard business along with her father, Einars. Her brother Anders has left the farm and lives in the city with his wife and two daughters. He would love to sell the farm, and a water park company is sniffing around.  Sanna's orchard is the perfect place to build a tourist mecca, sure to make a lot of money in a place where tourism is a big deal.  Einars is getting old, and the orchard is too much for just Sanna to run on her own. She's determined to graft the oldest trees to new trees, thus keeping the very best cider making apple trees from one day dying.  Those trees have been on the property for decades. Sanna's gift is being able to blend apple juices perfectly to create different ciders. She can see, in her mind, the colors each blend will make.  It's a form of synesthesia, and a few other people in her family have had the same gift.  

Along comes Isaac and Bass, his son. Isaac has traveled from California, seeking to escape a family tragedy and protect his son.  They wind up on the Lund apple farm, and Einars hires Isaac to help out. Isaac is immediately attracted to Sanna, but she's too busy running the orchard and being stand-offish to realize that she's attracted to him, too.  

Meanwhile, the pressure is on to sell the farm. Anders returns to the farm, and along with her prickly relationship with Anders, she's forced to finally come to peace with "the egg donor"; aka her mother. Poor Sanna has a lot of stuff going on in her life.  Can she navigate safely through troubled waters and find happiness with Isaac?  And Isaac; well, he's got a few big issues to face as well.  

I was very excited to read Amy's latest novel. She's an author that I won't hesitate to read or recommend to friends.  This was a refreshing setting, with some pretty fantastic apple trees and a wonderful, cranky old truck as supporting characters.  Little Bass was a delightfully sweet addition to the mix, and helped soften Sanna's prickly exterior. 

A big thank you to Gallery Books (Simon & Schuster) for an advanced copy of this novel.  It is being released in paperback on Tuesday, May 16th in the U.S. 

Rating:  4/6 for a perfect summer read set on an apple orchard in Door County, WI.  A strong, prickly female protagonist carries the story to a satisfying and happy ending.    

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