Ellie "Lemon" Manelli has finally realized her lifelong dream of owning her own restaurant. After years of working her way up in the business, her skills as a chef are being recognized throughout New York City. Even working seven days a week with a group of talented staff, Lemon feels like she's barely keeping her head above water, but she's loving every minute of it.
Lemon's boyfriend of five years, Eddie, celebrates success with her. He is everything she's ever wanted in a man, but Lemon is not quite ready for marriage even though Eddie has proposed a number of times. All of Lemon's carefully laid plans are thrown out the window when she discovers she's pregnant. What will happen to the restaurant? How will Lemon and Eddie decide to handle this unexpected news?
Luscious Lemon is a surprisingly poignant chick-lit novel. I almost even hesistate to call this chick lit because the subject matter is much more touching and deep than the cover art and back cover blurb make it seem. Above all, this is a story about an unplanned pregnancy and the effects that has on all of the people it touches. Author Heather Swain deals with the subject of loss in a way that only someone who has been there can.
Lemon is a woman who has worked very hard for her achievements. She apprenticed with chefs in Europe and worked her way up in restaurants when she returned to the U.S. Her parents died when she was fairly young, so she's been raised by her Italian grandmother and aunts, all of whom offer and give advice, when it's desired and mostly when it's not. Yet it is these women who help Lemon to realize why she's so fearful of marriage and commitment. Eddie is a sweet man, quite supportive of Lemon and her business but unsure of what to do when things begin to fall apart.
The exquisite food references, deep emotional resonance, and an intriguing plot all make Luscious Lemon a delight to savor. Lemon is such a well-drawn character that readers will be convinced she's a real person. Her reactions and thoughts ring true and brought tears to my eyes more than once. Ultimately, the humor and compassion Swain brings to her story uplifts rather than drags the reader into depression. For a heartfelt look at life and love, Luscious Lemon is one to move to the top of your list.