Fall in love with The Simplicity of Cider, the charming new novel about a prickly but gifted cider-maker whose quiet life is interrupted by the arrival of a handsome man and his young son at her family’s careworn orchard by the author of The Coincidence of Coconut Cake and Luck, Love & Lemon Pie.
Don’t miss Amy’s newest work of women’s fiction: The Optimist’s Guide to Letting Go!
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.
From the warm and funny Amy E. Reichert, The Simplicity of Cider is a charming love story with a touch of magic, perfect for fans of Sarah Addison Allen and Gayle Forman.
|Product dimensions:||5.30(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)|
About the Author
Amy E. Reichert, author of The Coincidence of Coconut Cake, Luck, Love & Lemon Pie, The Simplicity of Cider, and The Optimist's Guide to Letting Go, loves to write stories that end well with characters you’d invite to dinner. A wife, mom, amateur chef, Fix-It Mistress, and cider enthusiast, she earned her MA in English Literature and serves on her local library’s board of directors.
Read an Excerpt
The Simplicity of Cider
Sanna Lund’s thoughts of apple blossoms and new cider blends stuttered to an end with the grunt of her dad’s snore. Einars rumbled from the squashy armchair in front of the huge fieldstone fireplace framed by large picture windows, afternoon sun blanketing him. The stones had come from their orchard, unearthed when the first generation of Lunds began planting the orchard four generations ago. The stones varied in color and shape, from light gray limestone to rusty red granite, each highlighted by the golden light. Above the inset wooden mantel hung a huge collage of watercolor paintings, comprised of six-inch squares, each showcasing a different variety of apple grown in the orchard set against a distinguishing hue.
Sanna closed the refrigerator and set on the kitchen counter the baggie of sticks she’d been retrieving and walked across the huge great room to where her dad slept. His long legs stretched out in front of him, like roots expanding their reach. Everything about him was stretched, like taffy pulled slightly too far. His head tilted back enough for his gaping mouth to emit another snort. An open shoe box full of weathered photos and yellowing paper sat on his lap, while he clutched a single photo to his chest.
An afternoon nap was a common enough scene in other homes, but Sanna couldn’t remember ever watching her father sleep. Einars was a man of action, always in the middle of three different chores at once, making it all seem effortless. Age spots dotted his face from too many years in the sun before sunscreen was as recommended as the proverbial apple, wrinkles traced exactly where his smile would be if he were awake, and fluttering eyelids hid his sparkling blue eyes. Dark smudges pooled under his pale eyelashes, evidence of the late-night pacing that had become a habit during the last year. Sanna shoved away her guilt that she might be partially to blame for that, deep into the mental cave normally reserved for what people thought of her, dawdling tourists, and small talk.
When he’d come in from the trees, he had told her he would start their dinner. That was forty-five minutes ago. Sanna had been so immersed in grafting old branches to new trees, she hadn’t noticed how long he’d been gone. If she hadn’t come in to retrieve the scions—the twigs from older trees she was hoping to graft—from the house fridge, she wouldn’t have found him dozing.
Thinking she should wake him, Sanna smiled down at the man who was her world. He’d taken care of her through colds, puberty, growing pains that would have knocked an elephant to its knees. He taught her how to climb a tree, determine the exact right day to pick an apple, drive a stick-shift truck through the bumpy aisles of an orchard, and dip crispy french fries into her chocolate shakes from Wilson’s. She pulled the picture he was gripping out of his long fingers and glanced at the faded image, then dropped it as soon as she saw what it was, not wanting to hold it even a second longer. The four smiling faces beaming at her fluttered into the battered box. Her father, her brother, Anders, herself, and the Egg Donor. Sanna wouldn’t even shorten it to the friendlier acronym, TED.
She’d often seen the box tucked under her dad’s bed, but she’d never been curious about the contents. Her dad had always respected her privacy and given her space, so she had always offered him the same courtesy. At that moment, though, destructive urges boiled inside her—shoving all else to the side. Merely throwing away the box of photos wasn’t permanent enough. It deserved a more dramatic demise. She wanted to drive it to Gills Rock and toss it into the Death’s Door waters, where it could live with all the other shipwrecks. That’s where that box belonged.
Rational thought prevailed—she didn’t snatch the box and run away to destroy it—but it did little to calm her roiling emotions. She gently lifted the box, but her careful movements caused her dad to twitch awake, his hands pulling the box back to his lap.
“I’ve got it,” he said, the words still mushy with sleep.
Sanna straightened and watched as her dad fumbled to cover the box and pull it close to his plaid-coated chest.
“Why are you wasting time with that, Dad? There’s nothing worth remembering in there.”
He blinked away the sleep still muffling his senses and covered the box protectively with his arms. Einars smiled that annoying grin of elders who know better.
“Happiness is always worth remembering, even when it was temporary.”
• • • • •
Back in her happy place, the barn, Sanna snapped one of the sticks she’d grabbed from the fridge and searched for any sign of green inside. Nothing—only dry, dead wood. She tossed the branch onto her cluttered stainless steel workbench already strewn with beakers, plastic tubing, her journal—tools of her woefully unsuccessful cider-making business. And now, she failed again to graft her beloved heirloom apple trees onto newer stock.
After waking her dad, she’d returned to the safety of her barn, but the pain welling inside her wouldn’t go back down. The barn, complete with the fresh sawdust scent of new construction, was built into a small hill across a gravel-covered parking area from their house. The bottom level was used as the farm stand during the fall and a garage during the winter, while her workspace and cidery comprised the second level. She could get to the bottom story two ways: by taking the spiral stairs in the corner or by exiting the garage door on the opposite wall and walking around the building and down the hill. She’d bounded up the spiral steps two at a time just now, her long legs and resentment carrying her even more briskly than usual. She hadn’t been prepared to see the Donor’s smiling face, though she knew enough to know preparation wouldn’t have helped. Her day had been perfectly scheduled and productive, everything as expected. Awake at six, breakfast by six thirty, in the trees by seven with a thermos of black tea and a packed lunch, then to the cidery after lunch for an afternoon of quiet, peaceful work. That’s where she’d been before she found her dad, in the content corner of her mind full of trees and flavors—when she was ripped out of it like a fish flopping on a hook.
At thirty-two, she knew she should be over the betrayal. And she wanted to forget about the Donor, but, even after all these years, she could never forgive her.
“Didn’t keep?” her dad said, and pointed to where she had flung the branch. He stood in the doorway of her second-story workspace, his lanky frame outlined by the warm June sunlight behind him. Einars wore his usual work jeans and a lightweight long-sleeve work shirt over a tee. The vitality that had been notably absent during his nap vibrated off him now.
“No,” she said. “Not the ones I had in the house, or the ones I stored out here. All dead wood.” She had hoped to graft these twigs onto the root stock she’d been saving, to see if she could foster new trees from the heirloom stock in the back of the orchard. “I was able to graft the Honeycrisps and Galas with sticks I harvested the same day. I don’t know what else to try.”
She threw the twig and a Ziploc full of dead sticks into the large garbage can, then leaned against the counter to face her dad. Her large workbench spanned an entire wall in the mostly empty main room of the orchard’s barn. Later in the season, she’d share the space with giant crates of apples for the visiting tourists shopping their farm stand on the lower level. This early in the season, though, the wooden crates were empty, leaving space for her towers of waiting carboys—the five-gallon glass jugs she used to make her hard cider. Adjacent to her workbench was a refrigerated room and walk-in freezer, where she stored the juice she had pressed during the previous season in neatly labeled freezer bags and five-gallon buckets. Still waiting along one of the walls was the much larger press and new tanks her father had purchased this year, silent judges of her failure. She’d been trying for two years to sell her small-batch hard cider, but only a few locals seemed interested. Instead, the cooler overflowed with her finished products, carefully sorted according to batch.
Einars plucked the broken twig out of the garbage with long, thin fingers speckled from sun and age. He’d be seventy soon, but he didn’t act like it. He could spray a row of trees, trim branches, and make a delicious apple dessert all before one in the afternoon. They worked hard, but Idun’s Orchard thrived under their care—perhaps not as well as when the Lund population topped their meager two, but well enough they could support themselves. It was a decent life.
“You kept it hydrated? But not too wet?” he asked.
Sanna stared back.
“I take that as a yes.” Einars let the twig drop. “Maybe we need some fresh blood around here. You can’t expect the trees to give their best for just the two of us.”
“Pa, we don’t need more people complicating our system. If it’s not broken and all that. Besides, the trees don’t know any better.”
Einars looked out the window behind the workbench at the orchard below them.
“You’d be surprised. They say plants respond to singing and the moods of their owners, why not trees?”
Sanna returned her grafting tools to their proper places and pulled out beakers and measuring cups.
“I’m not singing to the trees.”
Einars stretched his fingers a few times, like a pianist before a solo.
“I need to get the spraying done in the Earlies. Can you run to Shopko to pick up some toilet paper and ibuprofen—just get the store brand.”
Sanna played with her necklace, a flat wooden circle strung on a silver chain, the wood worn smooth from years of twisting it with her fingers. Her mind sought the solitary peace of work to pacify the shock and failure of the day.
“I can’t today, Pa.” She opened her journal to where she had left off. Maybe creating something new would ease the disappointment in her chest. “I need to blend a new cider. I’ll see you at dinner.”
She disappeared into the walk-in cooler to get the juices she would need. When she emerged, her dad still stood next to her bench, now with the bag of sticks in his hands, pulling each one out and inspecting it.
“What if we clipped fresh twigs and did the grafting now?” he asked, then dropped the sticks back in the bin.
“I tried that last year, and they didn’t take. That’s why I used clippings that had a full season of growth in them. I thought they might be more robust.”
Sanna set the frozen juice blocks on the counter, already considering her dad’s proposition.
“How did you graft them?”
“Let’s try the cleft graft on the understock you have, and a few side grafts onto some older trees. Maybe the scions want a more mature tree to grow with. What do you think?”
His idea could work—Sanna wanted to try it. She needed to know she could make more of those trees, that they wouldn’t die out under her watch after living for over a hundred years.
“What about the Earlies?”
“I can spray them tomorrow—this seems more important.”
That was good enough for her. She grabbed her grafting tools and led the way out of the barn, determined to be successful. She would discover the secret to grafting these finicky trees.
Reading Group Guide
This readers group guide for The Simplicity of Cider includes an introduction, discussion questions, and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your readers group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.
For Sanna Lund, change doesn’t come easy.
Sanna is perfectly content with her quiet life, living and working alongside her father, Einars, as a fifth-generation orchardist on her family’s apple orchard in Door County, Wisconsin. Although the business is struggling, she cannot be persuaded to sell the land and start anew somewhere else. Idun’s Orchard is her home and the only life she’s ever known.
For Isaac Banks, change is what he needs.
Isaac is a single dad who has spent years trying to protect his son, Sebastian—or Bass—from his troubled mother. Then when tragedy strikes at home, Isaac and Bass flee, heading off on a road trip with no destination in mind. As luck—or fate—would have it, they end up at Idun’s Orchard.
There, Isaac secures a job, proving himself to be a blessing to the Lunds, and even more so when Einars is injured in an accident. But when an outside threat suddenly infiltrates the farm, surprising revelations are exposed. Just as Sanna and Isaac begin to find solace in each other, their lives become increasingly complicated—and anything but simple.
Topics and Questions for Discussion
1. How does the alternating narrative between Sanna and Isaac influence your understanding of the events and characters in the novel? How did you feel about the few chapters from Eva’s perspective? How would the story have been different if it was just from Sanna’s point of view? Isaac’s? Eva’s?
2. What kind of a father is Isaac? What is his motivation by withholding the truth from Bass regarding his mother’s death? Is Isaac trying to protect his son, or himself, from the difficult reality? Can you understand his choice?
3. The author represents Sanna’s connection to her ancestors through magical realism. In what ways does Sanna feel a strengthened bond to the orchard “like another root digging into the soil, finding nourishment” (p. 17)? Did you find this literary element to be authentically woven into the story? How did it change your understanding of Sanna’s devotion to the orchard?
4. Is there a proper way to grieve after tragedy? Like Isaac, have you ever taken a trip to escape from your troubles? Was it cathartic? Do you think going on an adventure to somewhere new helps the healing process?
5. Why is Bass the only person who’s able to soften Sanna? How does Bass change her impression of children?
6. Examine Sanna’s relationship with her mother. Why does Sanna refer to her as “the Egg Donor”? Despite her mother’s past attempts at reconciliation, Sanna refuses to allow her back into her life. Is Sanna being unreasonable? How would you react if you were in her position?
7. Sanna is very resistant to change, telling Anders, “The changes I don’t plan for are the ones that I hate” (p. 119). How do you react to changes that occur in your own life? Do you understand Sanna’s struggle to sell the land? What would you do?
8. The Simplicity of Cider offers plenty of insight into life on an apple orchard. Have you ever been to an orchard or tried cider? What have you learned about the cider-making process?
9. Why does Isaac describe finding Einars’s fentanyl bottle as “seeing a cobra in a baby’s crib—unpredictable and deadly” (p. 160)? Why is the sight of the bottle so painful for him? Do you think the anguish he feels is something he can overcome?
10. Describe Sanna and Thad’s friendship. Why does Sanna keep him around? Are you surprised by Thad’s disloyalty to the Lunds?
11. Betrayal manifests itself in a few strong ways in the novel: Isaac not telling Bass of his mother’s death; Thad sabotaging Idun’s Orchard; Anders not telling Sanna of his rekindled relationship with their mother; and Einars preventing Sanna’s mother from communicating with her throughout her life. Who has been most affected by betrayal? Can some of these instances also be interpreted as acts of love? Can love and betrayal intersect?
12. Discuss the role Eva plays in the novel. How are she and Sanna similar? Were you surprised by their ability to come to an understanding? How does their new business deal benefit both of them?
13. How do Sanna and Isaac evolve individually, and as a couple, over the course of the novel? How do they each deal with their own fears of vulnerability and disappointment? What have you learned from their experiences?
Enhance Your Book Club
1. Plan an outing to a local cidery or apple farm. Have fun apple-picking and taste-testing all the different varieties!
2. Share with your book club: Do you cherish memories in specific ways, just as Einars does with his shoebox of family photos? Einars says, “Happiness is always worth remembering, even when it was temporary” (p. 3). Do you agree? What can you do to always remember the happy times of your life?
3. Bring your favorite apple dessert to your next book club meeting. Then, choose one of Amy E. Reichert’s other books for your next pick: The Coincidence of Coconut Cake or Luck, Love & Lemon Pie.
4. Bass’s green dragon stuffed animal, Snarf, holds particular significance to him because it was a gift from his mom. Have each member of the group discuss a special gift or keepsake that they treasure. What do these objects represent for them? What memories do they hold?
5. Learn more about the author, Amy E. Reichert, at http://amyereichert.com. Follow her on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/amyereichert) and Twitter (@aereichert) for more updates about her books.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
AudioBook Review Stars: Overall 5 Narration 5 Story 5 My first introduction to Amy E. Reichert’s writing was a favorite story also set in Wisconsin and focusing on a life surrounded by food and friends (The Coincidence of Coconut Cake). I was so excited to have the opportunity to both read and listen to this story, I could hardly contain myself. And, fortunately for us both, I can say that BOTH versions kept me moving forward and engaged, wanting to know what was next, and imagining the scenes so aptly described that the scents nearly wafted through the house. The story is built around Sanna, a fifth-generation cider maker, and quite content in her rather solitary life of tending the orchard and the press, much to the dismay of her brother who would prefer it all be sold. The orchard is again functioning at a loss, and while the orchard and the business are Sanna’s refuge, away from people who may ask more of her than she is willing to share, it is a burden on their aging father Einar, and his health isn’t the best. Enter Isaac and his son Bass: on a retreat from their home in California as Isaac wants to shelter Bass from his rather extreme and troubled mother and the fallout from her actions. While he’s intrigued with Wisconsin, this is simply a pit stop until Einar offers him a job, helping he and Sanna in the orchard and with the press. While their first introduction doesn’t go quite as smoothly as planned, surprisingly Sanna warms to Bass far sooner than Isaac. She’s got walls surrounding walls, and is near single-minded in her determination to keep the orchard alive, despite threats from vandals, her brother’s pushing to sell and her own self-doubts. Throughout the story, even as some threads do meander to nowhere, the gradual connection between Isaac and Sanna, influenced by their friendship and her relationship with Bass the importance of family ties and histories comes to the fore: with good and bad secrets and issues revealed and worked through, Gently winding to a conclusion with atmosphere, emotion and a sense of honest appreciation of the life lived on the orchard allow readers to curl up as if with a warm blanket and warm cider (or an apple cider donut), enjoying every moment. Narration is provided by Rachel Dulude and she brings Sanna to life clearly and simply – a brusque no-nonsense approach to her conversations that gradually softens in tone to show her own growth and comfort in the evolving story. Isaac and Bass also are clearly defined, as were the host of characters that appeared, never losing that sense of intention that the author wrote into the story, but never overworking an accent, affectation or emotion to the negative. Another wonderful story that demands you shut away the world and engage fully with it. I received both an eArc copy of the title from Gallery Books via NetGalley as well as an AudioBook copy from Tantor audio, for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
Life seems to be careening out of control for Sanna Lund, whose sole desire is to live quietly in her ancestral home, creating apple ciders in her unique way of tasting colors. An accident temporarily incapacitates her father Einars, the new hired hand Isaac stirs new feelings she’s not planned on entertaining—his son Sebastion distracts her as well, and her brother Anders, who moved away, urges her to sell the struggling family business. Secrets crack her long-held paradigms and Sanna comes to realize certain truths cannot be ignored, and she opens herself up to more than she imagined was possible, including a mother she’d tried to cut out of her heart. This is a brilliant story of a creative synesthete attempting to sustain her insular world, a young woman forced to trust new people, blur her black and white judgment, and broaden her horizon to survive. Reichert carefully weaves the romantic elements into the story while maintaining the integrity of complex characters and challenging relationship dynamics. Novels offer life reminders, and this story teaches us how to let go and open ourselves up to others in order to keep moving forward. It’s a beautiful theme and a gorgeous cast that includes an orchard with heirloom apple trees.
Unlike the previous novel of Amy E. Reicherts that I have read, The Coincindence of Coconut Cake, there was a sad undertone to this story that held me back from giving it a 5 rating. Isaac was running away from troubles at home and keeping a huge secret from his son Bass. Their relationship had such a great father son dynamic that I really didn’t look forward to his secret being revealed which made me a little uncomfortable. Sanna was a very blunt, straightforward young woman and when her world is threatened by developers she got more stubborn, missing some clues that someone was sabotaging her farm. I was a little frustrated that she stuck her head in the sand for so long! However, I also could identify with her need for her world not to change too fast or too much. Change is hard! When she and Isaac started to work together to help the farm move into this century it gave me hope that both of their characters would grow, and they did, but the pace of the novel remained pretty slow which confused me. Those contradictions of pace and plot made me a little hesitant to commit myself to the outcome of their relationship. The best part of The Simplicity of Cider was how family was such a huge part of both plot points. Isaac’s relationship with his son meant the world to him. He knows the secret he is holding is going to destory his son, and it does, but they are able to overcome his actions through love. Sanna’s family too was at odds, but as the novel went on her family joined together to save their farm. Sanna, too had to forgive and move on, becoming healthier and more ready to accept the changes life may have for her. If you are looking for a romance novel this may not be the right fit for you. Yes, there is a romance but it takes a back seat to the conflicts in both Isaac’s and Sanna’s families. I will say that after all was said and done I did go grab an apple out of my fruit bowl and relish taking that first bite. ❤️❤️❤️❣️
Sanna loves her family’s apple orchard and brewing new cider flavors, the colors of which come to her in her dreams. Isaac just lost his ex-wife, and is struggling with how to to tell his ten year old son, Bass. On a road trip that leaves them at Sanna’s apple orchard, an accident ends in their spending the summer working for Sanna and her father. But Sanna is soon to discover that their finances have been in trouble and her brother has been scouted by a water park builder to buy out and tear down the family legacy. Charming and filled with mouth-watering descriptions, The Simplicity of Cider will make you long for homemade cider and a dance under the apple trees. For discussion questions, similar reads, or a themed recipe for easy apple cobbler, visit: http://hub.me/alImS
Sanna only wants to made the perfect blends of cider. Isaac wants to give his 10-year old son, Bass, a last innocent summer. Their worlds collide when Sanna's father hires Issac to work on their apple orchard. Sanna and Isaac are attracted but with the baggage both carry they try to keep is simple between them. I loved Sanna and Isaac. They are both strong people who are carrying heavy burdens. Betrayals abound in this story--parents and children, husbands and wives, neighbors. Watching how the thinking of each character is muddled until they come clean with the truth is interesting. I liked how the chapters changed between Sanna and Isaac. I also liked how Eva, the real estate agent, also has some chapters from her point-of-view as well as Bass has a few scenes. I liked how Sanna's thinking develops in regards to the orchard and her burdens. I enjoyed this story.
**I was given a digital copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review** This book did not disappoint! She writes the nicest romance stories. The women she crates are strong and independent. The guys are also strong, smart and super sweet. Oh and she writes in the underrepresented mid west. This book is fully worth the price of admission!
NUMBER OF HEARTS: 4 Sanna has always been an island of her own making. Growing up in a broken family didn’t help matters either. So when Isaac and Bass stumble upon their orchard Sanna doesn’t know how to be a civilized person. Another wonderful read from Ms. Reichert. I really enjoyed watching Sanna try to figure out how to be a person. She was great with Bass, even when he messed up and broke things. Sanna and Isaac were wonderful together and the ending!!! There were tears!! I am looking forward to what Ms. Reichert has in store for us next. Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley & Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books in exchange for an honest review. This review is my own opinion and not a paid review.
The Simplicity of Cider was everything I’ve come to expect from author Amy E. Reichert: a sweet romance with heart-warming moments and delicious food. I loved this book! Sanna Lund is content with living on her family’s apple orchard in Door County, Wisconsin and working on perfecting her cider recipe. Along with her father they live a quiet and simple life. That is until single dad Isaac Banks and his son Sebastian “Bass” arrive at the farm. Isaac and his son have been on a cross country adventure that led them to the Lund’s farm. This trip was meant to be an escape from a heartbreaking secret. As Sanna spends more time with Isaac and Bass an unexpected friendship develops that opens Sanna and Isaac to a life they never imagined, filled with laughter and love. The Simplicity of Cider is more than a romance. It is a story of healing. Sanna and Isaac have both been hiding from something painful. They both have been coping with it by putting their full energy into a distraction, for Sanna it is her cider and Isaac it is his son. But their time together opens their eyes and hearts to accepting the pain and allowing others in to help with their healing. I loved Sanna’s transformation from stuffy and anti-social to warm and care-free. Isaac makes some poor choices but as a parent I understood his need for protecting Bass. And Bass is a crazy and lovable kid that warmed my heart. The Simplicity of Cider is a perfect mix of romance, family unity and a little magic that had me wishing the story would not end. I love author Amy E. Reichert’s writing and the charming characters she brings to life (it was fun to see a cameo appearance of characters from The Coincidence of Coconut Cake). Food plays an important role in her stories as they bring comfort and unite family and friends. I was craving cider so I had to run out and get some. I can’t wait to read more books from this author. I highly recommend The Simplicity of Cider to fans of romance that is sweet with family unity and delicious food. 5 Star Audiobook Review This is my first time listening to Rachel Dulude and I really enjoyed her performance. I thought she portrayed Sanna’s annoyed attitude perfectly and loved her performance of Bass’ carefree attitude. She brought the raw emotion to the story and made the authors message of family even more meaningful. I look forward to listening to more audiobooks from Rachel Dulude.
Dollycas’s Thoughts After read Luck, Love & Lemon Pie last year I knew this was an author I would keep me eye on. When I heard about this new book I couldn’t wait to read it. Isaac Banks and his son Bass, short for Sebastian, are on a cross country adventure. Isaac is trying to protect his son from the realities at home. They soon find themselves in Wisconsin’s Door County. A beautiful place full of cherries, a restaurant where goats graze on the roof, Green Bay (not the town where the Packers play), lighthouses and apple orchards. Isaac and Bass soon find themselves at Idun’s, an apple orchard that has been owned by the Lund family for five generations. Sanna Lund and her father now run the place and Sanna has a special talent for making cider. Her father has mortgaged the farm to purchase all the equipment she needs to produce on a large scale. Her brother has nothing to do with the orchard anymore but thinks it needs to be sold to take care of the debt because they have received a huge offer. Issac and Bass agree to help with the chores. It is like fate brought them to this place. Sanna really doesn’t like kids but after a couple of days that changes as Bass finds a way into her heart. She and Isaac also feel a connection neither of them understand. When someone’s actions threaten Sanna’s precious trees and the entire orchard things get complicated. This is such a beautiful story and so well written. The author has a way of writing that pictures of people, time, and place just come alive with such detailed imagery. Maybe it is because I have traveled to Door County several times that I had a crystal clear picture of everything she described but I truly believe it was her words that took me right along with Sanna, Issac and Bass. She gives us a story of family, love, loss, and a little touch of something that “just is” and can only be explained by the belief that love carries through the generations and appears in unexpected ways. These are such special characters. Their hearts are heavy with secrets and vulnerability that ebbs and flows through the entire series, even after some trust has been earned. The relationships built are so unique. The Simplicity of Cider flows at a nice and easy pace. It was a relaxing read. I usually read a book like this in one or two nights but I didn’t want the story to end. I took time to savor every page and word. This book will make my list of Best Reads for 2017. Paradise Rating.
This is a must read this summer if you haven’t already started it. I spent time in Door County as a child and the description of the area in the book the apple orchard brought back memories. The characters are well developed and multi dimensional, which only makes their stories more interesting as they progress throughout the book, and surprising at times. I especially like that Sanna, the main character, isn’t someone that is outgoing and a soccer mom. Quite the opposite. It is nice to see a unique main character in a well written book. I love how Amy E. Reichert focuses on something food related in her books, and although it is part of the story, it is not the entire story. The detail in the process of making cider is exquisite. I felt there was a lot of depth to what was going on with the Lunds, Isaac and Bass, yet it is still an easy read and a page turner. For those of you that loved Coincidence of Coconut Cake, you’ll love a guest appearance by Lou an Al in the Simplicity of Cider.
3.5 stars I wasn't 100% sure about this synopsis, but I really enjoyed Coconut Cake, so I was intrigued. I liked Sanna and Isaac. They're both good people and each has something they're dealing with. She makes him focused and he makes her relaxed. The few scenes with them together were sweet with filled with tension. Plot wise, it was a bit slow. There were a lot of aspects being dealt with and while they were all needed as part of the story, it made everything happen at a snail's pace. I wanted more of Sanna and Isaac together. I wanted more happiness and lightness. And I absolutely wanted more at the end. Overall, it was a good story with characters I really liked. I will definitely read future titles from Amy. **Huge thanks to Gallery Books for providing the arc free of charge**
I must confess this is my first Amy Reichert read, and it won’t be my last. Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for allowing me the pleasure of reading and reviewing it. One temptation for me is the reference to Door County in Wisconsin, a place I’ve always dreamed of visiting but haven’t yet made it there. So, thanks to the author for whisking me away on my dream trip. The Simplicity of Cider combines the contemporary world and a romance, but the romance plays, at least in my opinion, a minor role. Essential to my enjoyment of the book is Sanna, her memories from growing up on the orchard, her continuing love of the orchard, and her success in crafting cider. Sanna is independent, intelligent, and happy. Reviews and comments about The Simplicity of Cider hint at the inclusion of magical realism. There is a blip here and there in my reading, but I think it perhaps is more about the theory of synesthesia, a phenomenon in which people smell, taste, and hear color. Not all at once in every case but usually individually with a specific sense. If this is what the author intended, I applaud her use of it. If not, my apologies to her at my attempt to mix and mingle magical realism and synesthesia. Back to the meat of the story. I’ve just shared Sanna’s independence, intelligence, and happiness. All that is correct until…certain things begin to happen. First, Isaac and his son, Bass, show up while travelling across the country after the death of Bass’s mom, estranged for some time and her passing a secret unknown to Bass until Isaac sorts out how to deal with it. Isaac and Bass’s presence disturbs Sanna’s normal routine, and she finds it difficult to adjust. At the same time, she is struggling with financial problems about the orchard and its potential loss as well as the only home she has ever known. Using a fine brush and palette, Reichert paints a beautifully detailed image of the orchard and te surrounding area. As I said above, I have never visited Door County but now feel as if I have. The smells of an orchard, its apples, and the ciders made there were temptations page-by-page. Character development is equally done well, and I became a champion for Sanna throughout. (Need I say I really like strong female characters?) There is enough tension in the storyline to keep you engaged and wanting to know more. Once the sparks begin to appear on the page between Sanna and Isaac, the relationship hardly takes off like a rocket launch. It’s movements are slow, easy, and respectful of the struggles each are having as individuals. I have no reservation in recommending The Simplicity of Cider to you. It is a delightful story, filled with lovable and enjoyable characters, set in a beautiful part of our country. Amy Reichert is a stellar writer in her ability to draw the reader in immediately and then to keep the reader engaged. You will enjoy this book whether you’re at the beach this summer or thinking about apples next fall. *** Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing a copy of this book for reading and review.
I had a really hard time adjusting to the prickliness of the main character of this book, Sanna. She wore anger like her favorite outfit. She was not approachable, and believe me, no one wanted to. That is until Isaac and his son, Bass show up at her family's orchard. Thankfully Sanna starts to soften and seems to become human again. And lo and behold, she can be and is a nice person. I have no idea how Isaac saw this at the beginning when he met her, but he was stricken with her. SMH. This was a very enjoyable read after I got through these quirky character's different emotions and personalities. It's a story about family, about finding love and there is even a mystery involved. Simply put, you will need tissues in order to finish this book, but it is worth it. An interesting story with an interesting ensemble. Truly entertaining and enjoyable. Thanks to Gallery, Threshold and Pocket Books for approving my request and to Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.
What a marvelous cast of characters! This novel made me want to hop in my car and head straight for Wisconsin until I landed in a family-run apple orchard. Sanna and her father Einars have a simple life. Their days take place in the orchards passed down to them for generations. Everything revolves around the apples, whether trying to figure out how to continue the heirloom trees or coming up with the perfect cider blend. Sanna hides in her work and hides from the townspeople. She's convinced herself that this is enough but the particular ache of never being chosen emanates from each page. Isaac has taken his son Bass (also nicknamed Minnow, Wahoo, etc.) on a road trip across the country for the summer. It is an adventure but it is also a way for Isaac to postpone telling his son that his mother (and Isaac's ex-wife) died. This is a terrible idea but Isaac doesn't see a way forward and he wants to protect his son from grief. When they wind up in Door County, Einars hires Isaac to help out for the season. This disrupts Sanna's quiet life and she has no idea of the ways knowing Isaac will change her. Isaac and Sanna have to find a way to work together once Einars has an accident. Between Einars' recovery and outside forces threatening the farm, this would be enough to move the plot along but Reichert has imbued her characters with unique gifts and opportunities and I was fascinated by the results. Sanna has synesthesia in the form of tasting colors in the apples she uses to make cider. I loved learning more about the process of blending cider and the particular types of apples she used. It's a beautiful art and I only wished I could taste the results. The orchard reminded me of our family farm (my mom's side of the family). While ours was a dairy farm, there's something special about a family working together on the land but with today's generation, it's no longer a given this will continue on. Indeed, it was interesting to see how Sanna's brother Anders chose a different profession and the ways this splintered their relationship. Sanna's character arc was the most compelling to me. Learning about the ways she'd been hurt over the years deeply resonated with me, even though I haven't had the same experiences. I could understand her compulsion to drill her life down the essentials no matter how isolating, to keep her expectations low, to let her work be enough. Watching her take a chance on Isaac and begin to make peace with her past was lovely to see, particularly in how this plays out with her estranged mother. I loved how we got to see Isaac's perspective and how he was immediately drawn toward Sanna in spite of all the reasons why he should not pursue her. I loved how tender he was with her and how he recognized that while she'd been hurt, she was not incomplete and that her independence would make her choosing him that much more special. The scene with the dancing tree was incredible. While Sanna and Isaac's relationship is compelling, it's not the thrust of the novel and I found the family elements, as well as the orchard operations and the efforts to save it, made for such a great reading experience. This would make a great summer (or fall) read. I had a hard time putting it down, even as I wanted to luxuriate over the well-paced story. Disclosure: I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Sanna and her father run an apple orchard. It is a hard job but both of them love it and are tied to the land and the trees. The orchard is in financial trouble. They are also being sabotaged. Issac and Bass are really running away from home. They end up at the orchard and sparks fly. Sanna is a hard working, rough and tough gal. She is not one of the best characters though. I love strong female leads but I am not a fan of her rudeness and her temper. Issac and Bass make up for Sanna, especially Bass. Bass is Issac’s 10 year old son and BOY is he a mess! The setting of an apple orchard is certainly unique. I enjoyed reading about the apple trees and the making of cider. However, the story is not as fast-paced as I like. But, it is a good read, especially for travel. It is simple. I know this sounds like a bad thing, but it is not. Sometimes you need a book like this. It does not take too much focus but keeps you immersed in the story. I received this novel from Netgalley for a honest review.
A great escapism read! I highly recommend if you enjoy a sweet, magical story to go along with a tall, cool glass of cider. Kick your feet up and enjoy Amy Reichert's wonderful settings, well-drawn characters and a story with a lot of heart. Hopeful and bright, this book left me feeling better about the world.
I would like to thank Gallery Books, Simon & Schuster, and Amy E. Reichert for the ARC of "The Simplicity of Cider" by Amy E. Reichert for my honest review. The genres of this novel are Fiction, Women's Fiction, and Romance. There is an essence of a "magical element" to this story. I love the way the author describes the apple orchards, and the intriguing settings of the Midwest and the simple, friendly life of the small community. Everyone knows everyone's business, and is there to help their neighbors in good and bad times. I found that the author's descriptions of the characters are complex, conflicted and complicated. The characters have flaws and do show growth. Most of the characters are likeable, and some really irritated me. Sanna Lund and her father live and work on the family apple orchard In Door County. There are several generations of Lunds that have owned the land, and Sanna feels a special bond with the land that is tied to her familial roots. Sanna's talents are to produce an exceptional apple cider. She has a special place in the orchard that is the oldest,that she tends to. It is no easy task. Sanna's Dad is older,and doesn't want to admit that he can't do certain things anymore. Sanna's brother wants to sell off the orchard and land, feeling that it is not profitable and productive as it is now. Issac Banks is a single dad, and with his son Bass, take off on an adventure together, and wind up working at Sanna's orchid. Issac wants his son to have a wonderful summer before he has to share some difficult news. I appreciate the way Amy E, Reichart describes the fragile family relationships, the secrets, the growth, the love, and the hope. I also love the neighbors,and the sense of the small community!! I highly recommend this book and look forward to reading more of the authors books! Happy Reading!!