I regularly consult Holiday Insights dot com when trying to come up with wacky, bizarre, and entirely off the wall book recommendations when I throw it back each week. For a short month, even with the added leap year day, February has an interesting array of holiday options, some more recognizable than others. Of course, we have Black History Month, American Heart Health Awareness Month, but did you know February also gives us, Children’s Dental Health Month? What about Canned Food Month, Grapefruit Month, and my personal LOL moment, “Spunky Old Broads Month”? I can’t make stuff like that up, folks! Even though the thought of searching my reading logs for books that could fit the “spunky old broads” category, I landed on one somewhat tamer but hopefully interesting recommendation idea for you. February is also Great American Pie Month. I know, I’m just as surprised as you, February, with its chocolate hearts and molten lava cakes, seems like an odd time to celebrate pies, alas, here we are!
I am incapable of reading the word “pie” without thinking of a book I read back in 2016 by Amy E. Reichert, Luck, Love & Lemon Pie. This book is classified as Women’s Fiction, but it has solid elements of romance, and after much deliberation, hand wringing, and heartache, we do get a very satisfying HEA. Reichert is a writer with a foodie’s heart of gold, and by gold I mean butter, it’s probably made of glorious butter. So many of her stories weave in the delicious details of foods. Sometimes the food is a bit of a secondary character, and sometimes it a setting with lots of local delicacies for us to discover. If you haven’t read The Coincidence of Coconut Cake, I highly recommend it, and the secret recipe at the end – it’s delicious, but we can save that discussion for another day! I’m sure there’s a Coconut Cake Day somewhere on the strange holiday list! Let’s take a closer look at Luck, Love & Lemon Pie.
MJ Boudreaux and her husband, Chris of twenty some odd years have fallen into a rut. They’ve given so much of themselves to raising their family and their careers, they’ve lost sight of the good things that initially brought them together. As a somewhat spunky old-ish broad, I can attest to the fact that it is easy to do. Set in Milwaukee (who knew Milwaukee is such a foodie mecca?!!?), MJ is feeling neglected in her marriage. She takes up poker, Chris’ favorite hobby, as a way to spend more time together. Unfortunately, her plan backfires, and MJ’s poker skills don’t give her more quality time with Chris, but it does give her a seat at one of the top poker tournaments in the world. MJ has some serious poker skills, and when she taps into them, they take her places, places that get her out of her unhappy home. Is she finally carving out a space for herself that is outside of her role as wife and mother, or is she running headfast into trouble by attracting the attention of a world-renowned card shark? A fella with all the time in the world to shower her with the attention she’s been lacking at home. And is their failure to communicate, causing MJ to miss the fact that Chris is feeling neglected as well? I’m telling you, Reichert gives you a brutally honest look at long term relationships, the good, the bad, and the lemon pie sweetness. Sometimes a good old fashioned near-death experience – and by near-death I mean relationship-wise not actual death, it’s not that kind of book – wakes you up to the realities of life and gives you the fight you need to reclaim what was yours all along.
I will not lie, Luck, Love & Lemon Pie is absolutely a cautionary tale of what can happen when we stop taking care of our relationships. Marriage is hard and requires effort and compassion pretty much every single day. I found this story entirely too relatable, and it made me take a long hard look at my own situation. Give your kids a solid foundation, give your job the attention it requires but never forget about the person you chose to spend your life with. If it’s a good match, it’s worth all of the work because when the kids are gone, and the job is retired, that person will still be there, if you’re lucky.