Thursday, October 25, 2018

Amy E. Reichert - The Simplicity of Cider

Focused and unassuming fifth generation cider-maker 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 his 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 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 threat infiltrates the farm.

Comment: A few years ago, I've read and loved the debut book by this author and I got really curious about her writing. After she wrote a couple more books, I decided to get them and try to revive my likeness for the writing but sadly I'm starting to believe the first book was a one hit wonder for me.  I mean, this one was not bad, but it was not fantastic either, for me.

In this story we meet the Lunds, father and daughter Sanna, who own a orchard and they have a business with the apples and cider making.
Sanna is a very bitter woman because of how her mother abandoned her, her father and brother. It seems Sanna only lives for her routines and cider making but things change when her father decides to hire Isaac Banks ans his small son Sebastian as temporary help in the orchard.
Isaac is still trying to find a way to tell Sebastian his mother (Isaac's ex) has died and to be distracted by orchard's work seems a good, healthy way to  be with his son while he still can be happy.
However, between problems with the orchard and the slow developing attraction between Sanna and Isaac, is there any way things can be simple again?

As I've said, this was not a bad book. I particularly liked to learn some things about cider making - even if I never manage to remember the details - and also the fact this was a story that reads easily, the writing is fluid. If one were to put all the main details together, there's plenty to make this a successful story but then there other aspects I remember not being as smoothly included in the story...

The basis for this story is Sanna and her attitude towards life. I suppose one of the "lessons" we could gain here is that, as it happens with apples and cider making, everything has a process and we should adapt, we should learn from what goes wrong but not get stuck, otherwise we stagnate and nothing improves. Sanna is the embodiment of this, she is in her early thirties and she has a stagnated life, even if she loves her cider so much. I kind of understand where Sanna is and to be really honest, I felt a little in sync with her behavior... it's a lot easier to just rely on our routine's than put ourselves out there.

Sanna has some emotional wounds to heal and she is also obstinate enough to not see some difficulties in her father's life and their orchard. This change with the arrival of Isaac and his son and I happy enough to see Isaac could be a good guy for Sanna and her relationship with Sebastian was believable, she said she didn't like kids at first so her growing care for the boy was cute to watch. Her relationship with Isaac was more gradual and, in a way, not as romantic or strong as I imagined. Things between seemed to be too easy in how they just accepted it but I'd like to have seen a little more sexual tension or attraction scenes between them.

Part of the problem is Isaac and his wishes to give his son a last summer to remember before telling he doesn't have a mother anymore. I understand this but it felt a little silly and the way this subject was solved proves that, considering Sebastian's reaction.
Another situation that complicates everything at the orchard are the financial problems since Sanna has no head for business deals and her father hasn't got the money anymore to pay the bank. The solution for this is quite modern and believable but, of course, quite convenient too.

I think this novel has good elements but they don't always feel cohesive to me. Too many emotional wounds to heal, too many complicated situations, too much angst to solve (and only at the end), not enough romantic scenes, Sanna is very obstinate in her ways, I liked how she learned to accept help and communicate but...she wasn't always easy to root for. 
I'd say this novel could have been better but there's some pacing that could have been improved to help with the cohesion and, therefore, the "feel" of this book.
Grade: 7/10

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