by Barbara Stark-Nemon
***Publication date 18 September 2018***
Where some books almost feel difficult to read, Hard Cider is a joy. A book about a woman going through her mid-life change of direction (not a crisis at all.) Abbie Rose has made choices about the rest of her life that affect her husband and kids, but she makes no apologies for those choices. She is a woman who knows what she wants and is going to have it.
Set in northern Michigan, mostly, the story revolves around Abbie Rose’s purchase of an old farm where she intends to start a hard cider business. Abbie Rose was mesmerized by hard cider while living abroad. She now wants this to be her second career/existence and has gone to great lengths to facilitate it.
Abbie Rose’s husband is a busy lawyer in Ann Arbor, and her three children are grown and moved away. As in most families, there is always that one child who demands just a bit more attention and nurturing than the others, and this is found in Alex. Much of the story is about the children, as Abbie Rose struggled to have kids.
The other prominent characters in the book are her northern Michigan neighbors and friends. Abbie Rose is a knitter (something I was drawn to) and she meets up with Julia through the knitting shop. Julia is young and spending the winter housesitting for a family down the road from Abbie Rose’s own farmhouse. Julia becomes a central figure in the story with her mysterious ways.
The description of the scenery and life in northern Michigan was beautiful. While I’ve never visited that locale, Ms. Stark-Nemon makes it sound enchanting. The idea of building a cider business also sounds fairly fun, though a lot of work. I loved the way this story drew me in and made it difficult to put down. It’s a wonderful novel with themes of family and love and acceptance, all things that every family should strive for.