“As a child, she had always been drawn to the oldest trees, the ones from her great-great-great-grandpa. The craggy branches whispered stories of the past as she had scrambled up the limbs, her bare legs scraping against the aging bark.”
-Amy E. Reichert, The Simplicity of Cider
Hey guys! If you’ve been following my blog for a while then you’ll know that I’m a big fan of foodie books; fiction books that have mouth-watering descriptions of food and/or elements of cooking/baking/food critiquing as a key component of the plot. (Who else is like this? Because I know I’m not the only one!)
Anyway, one of my favourite foodie writers is Amy E. Reichert. You can check out my reviews of her previous novels The Coincidence of Coconut Cake and Luck, Love and Lemon Pie here and here. So, when I saw that she had a new book out, The Simplicity of Cider, I just had to get my hands on a copy of it! Thanks to the lovely people at Gallery Books for sending me one!
Check out the blurb:
Focused and unassuming fifth-generation orchardist Sanna Lund has one desire: to live a simple, quiet life on her family’s apple orchard in Door County, Wisconsin. Although her business is struggling, Sanna remains fiercely devoted to the orchard, despite her brother’s attempts to convince their aging father to sell the land.
Single dad Isaac Banks has spent years trying to shield his son, Sebastian, from the boy’s troubled mother. Fleeing heartbreak at home, Isaac packed up their lives and the two headed out on an adventure, driving across the country. Chance-or fate-led them straight to Sanna’s orchard.
Isaac’s helping hands are much appreciated at the apple farm, even more so when Sanna’s father is injured in an accident. As Sanna’s formerly simple life becomes increasingly complicated, she finds solace in unexpected places-friendship with young Sebastian and something more deliciously complex with Isaac-until an outside menace threatens the farm.
Sanna was a great character. I loved her fierce loyalty and her unparalleled sense of belonging in her orchard; of being rooted to her family’s history and absolutely certain of her place in the world and what she wanted to do. Of course, running on the other side of that, she had a bristly edge to her, needing her own time and space, and hated other people coming into the orchard and her business and trying to help or convince her to sell it.
Living alone with her aging father gives Sanna the space and solitude she thinks she wants, but is it too lonely for her? When Isaac and his young son appear into their lives in a ruckus of noise and life, it challenges Sanna’s ideas on what she thinks she wants and introduces friends and romance into her life. Her father was a great character, too, a steady figure at the heart of the home, and Sanna’s life alike. But it was with Isaac and Sebastian that Sanna really starts to reconsider things. Sebastian is a precocious, funny kid, and I really enjoyed reading about his developing friendship with Sanna. The two of them have some great dialogue together, along with some really heart-warming moments. Isaac, although hiding his own secrets, is attracted to Sanna quite early on, but he has a battle on his hands to get through to her! The scenes between them and the brewing tension added a lovely romantic atmosphere against the old apple trees and small town setting.
The plot moved along at a good pace, keeping the novel fresh and interesting throughout, as you’re compelled to find out what will happen to the orchard barely scraping a living, Sanna’s as yet unfounded ambitions of selling her homemade cider, and the outside threats against the farm, putting pressure on Sanna’s father to sell the entire orchard to make way for a new hotel.
I also found the touch of magic a new and lovely addition to Amy’s writing. This was the first book she’s included a little magical touch in, and it was very subtle, but enhanced the gorgeously atmospheric setting really well, intermingling with Sanna’s cider making and the foodie descriptions nicely. I’m interested to see if her next book will have a sprinkle of magic too, or if this was a one off, but it worked very well in this book!
At its heart, The Simplicity of Cider is a warm and charming story, with a heart-warming love story and a touch of magic. I absolutely adored it and flew through the story, as much as I wanted to linger over the pages and savour it, I couldn’t help myself! 5/5 stars from me and a big recommendation to pick this up if you’re looking for something deliciously charming and lovely to read this summer!
Has anyone read this or any other of Amy’s books? What did you think? What have you all been reading lately?