The Lemonade Year by Amy Willoughby-Burle


Nina’s once-sweet life has unexpectedly turned sour. Her marriage is over, her job is in jeopardy, and her teenage daughter is slipping away from her. Then her father dies and issues with Nina’s mother come to a head; her estranged brother, Ray, comes home; and her sister, Lola, is tempted to blow a big family secret out of the water. They say the truth will set you free, but first it will make a huge mess of things.

All Nina’s got left is her final photography assignment shooting images for the book 32 Ways to Make Lemonade. Well, that and the attention of a younger man, but Oliver’s on-again-off-again romantic interest in her ebbs and flows so much she is seasick. And then Jack, her ex-husband, shows up, wanting to get back together.

As Nina struggles to find a way through her complicated relationships and to uncover her true path, she discovers just how valuable a second chance at life and happiness can be.

My take:  I think anyone who has waded through grief will, on some level, be able to relate to the characters in Amy Willoughby-Burle’s novel. Whether it’s the loss of a loved one, a relationship, or an expected life path, the characters in The Lemonade Year must come to terms and move forward in their new reality. Nina’s internal dialogue moved the plot along as she acted and then questioned those actions. It was an honest and straightforward perspective of people who learn to slowly face their fears with the goal being the possibility of getting a second chance – even though it might not be the second chance they expect. Recommended to fans of novels involving messy family dynamics.

“The Lemonade Year is a smart, satisfying romance that balances life’s sour moments with its sweet ones.” –Foreword Reviews 

Amy Willoughby-Burle is a writer and teacher living in Asheville, North Carolina, with her husband and four children. She writes about the mystery and wonder of everyday life. Her contemporary fiction focuses on the themes of second chances, redemption, and finding the beauty in the world around us. She is the author of a collection of short stories entitled Out Across the Nowhere and a contributor to the anthology Of Mist and Magic.

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by Amy Willoughby-Burle
(Shadow Mountain/Deseret Books, 4/3/18)
Purchase Links


13 thoughts on “The Lemonade Year by Amy Willoughby-Burle

  1. I might be in the mood for a book like this at some point. I’m discovering that changing up what I read now and then keeps me on a better path. And I like the sound of this one. Looks like a good one for summer reading.


  2. No matter how good somebody’s life looks from the outside, there are most likely issues that the person is facing. We all have to face messy. I like the sound of this one.


  3. When I read the words “messy dynamics,” I immediately wanted to know more. I prefer those dynamics in my books and movies instead of my real life, lol, but sometimes we can learn ways to muddle through, too.

    Thanks for sharing.


  4. This sounds like a good book.

    I agree with Lloyd. No matter how good a persons life looks to you, there is sure to be some messy you have no clue of. Also, like Laurel-Rain, I don’t like drama in my life, I do like it from time to time in books and movies.


  5. This one appeals to me Mary as I like that kind of messy dynamic, well in books of course not necessarily real life! Adding it to my list.


  6. Messy family dynamics normally add to a great story as long as there aren’t too many involvements. It can get complicated to follow then.


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