The Memory of Lemon returns readers to Rainbow Cake, the winsome bakery opened by Claire “Neely” Davis in Millcreek Valley, Ohio. Neely is an exceptional pastry chef; not only because of the results she can produce but also because of her remarkable flavor intuition. It’s an ability that allows her to tap into the emotions of her clients, creating confections that are not only tempting and delicious but also personal and memorable. However, Neely may have met her match in Lydia and her mom, Cadence. It seems as though the bride-to-be and her high-society mom are immune to every sweet offering Neely puts forth.
But The Memory of Lemon is more than a story about a cake maker and her clients. It’s also about Neely creating her own way forward after leaving her unfaithful husband, Luke. Neely dreams of a successful business, the ability to care for her grandmother, who is residing in a care facility, a new start for new love with an old flame, and the chance to reconnect with the father who left her life when she was a teenager.
I took my time with this book. It’s true that I didn’t find it to be a spellbinding and compelling can’t-put-it-down novel. However, what The Memory of Lemon lacks in a page-gurning sense of reading urgency, it makes up for in a quiet, understated grace. This is a story that doesn’t demand to be read so much as it tempts and entices readers with a lingering feeling of curiosity to discover what’s after the next turn of the page. What author Judith Fertig does so well is weave together strands of the page with threads of the present to create a stunning view of the future. Her stories feel immersive and intimate; they are expertly created gifts for readers and, as such, are not to be missed.
About the Author
Novelist and cookbook author Judith Fertig grew up in the Midwest, went to cooking school in London and Paris, and now lives in the Kansas City area. Described by Saveur Magazine as a “heartland cookbook icon,” Fertig debuts a new novel that engage the mind, the heart, and all five senses—and celebrates cookbooks that reflect her love of bread, baking, barbecue, and the fabulous foods of the Heartland.
Novels you can read like cookbooks. Cookbooks you can read like novels. That’s what you get when an English major studies at École de Cuisine La Varenne (formerly in Paris) and The Cordon Bleu in London plus The Iowa Writers Workshop. Fertig often weaves storytelling into her books.