Friday, September 2, 2022

Book Review: The Magic of Lemon Drop Pie by Rachel Linden

Pages: 352
Genre: Adult Fiction
Pub. Date: August 2, 2022
Publisher: Berkley
Source: Publisher for review
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Goodreads says, "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."

Lolly is bored of doing the same thing everyday in her life. There's no excitement; she's in a rut.  She is thirty-two years old and helping run her family's diner. Not only does she work there, she also helps bake their famous lemon meringue pies. Her dad, who also runs the diner, is hesitant to make any sort of changes, so the diner is struggling a bit as the culinary world is evolving. One day Lolly comes across her seventh grade journal and she finds a list of life goals.  She hasn't accomplished any of them. Where did she go off course? Since her mother's untimely death, she has stuck around to help her dad with the family's diner and help raise her younger sister.  But what about what she wants? What about her dreams? Lolly's Aunt Gert is a mystical, yet highly educated woman who has lived an adventurous life. She presents Lolly with three enchanted lemon drops that will allow her to live one day in an alternate version of her life to sort of help her figure out what she truly wants. As you might have guessed, these three lemon drops change her life forever. The Magic of Lemon Drop Pie by Rachel Linden is such a heartfelt book that had me tearing up. It included wonderful life messages, beautiful moments, and the kind of situations that gut a reader. I adored it and it's one of my favorite books of the year.

Lolly is a wonderful character in The Magic of Lemon Drop Pie. How could I not like her? She is loyal, dedicated to her family, and a good friend. Told through flashbacks, we get to know what her life was like as a young girl when she meets her first and only love, Rory. She has never really gotten over him and their relationship did get quite serious as the years went by. Slowly, Linden fleshes out the character of Lolly and explains her complicated (yet romantic) relationship with Rory, who is an all-around great guy.  Oh, did their relationship tug on my heartstrings! Which leads me to the lemon drops.

Lolly is faced with the exciting task of deciding where she wants the lemon drops to take her. She definitely has plans to fix things with Rory in one of her alternate lives, but what about the other two lemon drops? She refers to her seventh grade list and is inspired to hit up some of those goals and also spend more time with her mom, who tragically died a few years ago. Oh, my heart! Once again, Linden really cracked it open and I felt so much for Lolly's alternate lives. She travels to Hawaii and England and I loved every second of it all. Linden made it feel real. I didn't doubt it once, which is unusual for a book with magic in it, but I fell for it completely -- hook, line, and sinker. I mean who hasn't thought about an alternate life or a path you didn't take? What would it have been like to not lose a person you loved or to not get seriously sick or to take that job or move across the country? Instead of these questions plaguing us at night, Linden deep dives into them and explores these themes along with the difficult task of letting go. 

What really struck me about The Magic of Lemon Drop Pie was Linden's beautiful writing. She doled out some great advice through Aunt Gert and her mother's musings. I adored it and it really spoke to me. When I first sat down with The Magic of Lemon Drop Pie, I didn't expect to be moved so completely by Linden's words. I paused and really marinated in them; it was truly a pleasure. Here are two of my favorite lines:

    "Happiness is fleeting, fickle, often based on our circumstances."  Aunt Ger waved a hand dismissively. "If you chase happiness, you will more often than not end up disappointed by the very nature of life.  Life is hard, brutal at time, and often unfair.  But following your bliss, that's entirely different.  It means facing your present reality with honesty and courage, and, in the midst of it all, continuing to pursue each spark of joy, even if it is a tiny pinpoint in the darkness of your life. Do not give up.  Continue to look for the light in your life---it is always present somewhere, some small things to be grateful for, something to celebrate, a away to give joy to others, a new way to grow.  Move toward the light in life; seek it out no matter what.  This is the essence of what it means to follow your bliss.  You must be honest. Pay attention.  Seek joy." 


Aunt Gert sat in silence for a long moment, then cleared her throat.  "Some things aren't meant to be mended," she said finally. "Sometimes it's in the breaking that the light can finally shine through."

I highly recommend Lolly's story for fans of books are moving, heartfelt, and employ magical realism. This would be the perfect book to accompany you this Labor Day Weekend and to close out summer. I, for one, will have my eye on Linden's future novels; I'm a fan!

So, have you read The Magic of Lemon Drop Pie? Are you a fan of Rachel Linden? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.  



  1. I love magical realism in books, and this one sounds so special!

    1. It really was! I absolutely adored it. I forgot how fun magical realism can be when done right. Thanks for visiting, Angela!


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