Monday, August 31, 2015

Julie's Review: The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster

Author: Scott Wilbanks
Series: None
Publication Date: August 4, 2015
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Pages: 400
Obtained: publisher
Genre:  Fantasy, Mystery
Rating: 4/5
Bottom Line: Magic door = time travel = time well spent
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Grab!
Summary: Annabelle Aster doesn't bow to convention-not even that of space and time-which makes the 1890s Kansas wheat field that has appeared in her modern-day San Francisco garden easy to accept. Even more peculiar is Elsbeth, the truculent schoolmarm who sends Annie letters through the mysterious brass mailbox perched on the picket fence that now divides their two worlds. Annie and Elsbeth's search for an explanation to the hiccup in the universe linking their homes leads to an unsettling discovery-and potential disaster for both of them. Together they must solve the mystery of what connects them before one of them is convicted of a murder that has yet to happen...and yet somehow already did.  

Review: The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster is a fantastical book that uses time travel to solve the a murder. Well that's a one sentence summary of a pretty complex book. I don't tend to read time travel books because frankly I find them confusing at times. It takes a deft author to have it make sense and be plausible. Mr. Wilbanks does this well by using a beautiful red door as the portal. Somehow it ends up attached to the back of Annabelle Aster's house in 1995 and plopped in the back 40 acres of Elsbeth Grundy's farm in 1895. Why are these connected? What is the purpose of these two women to meet?

Annabelle is headstrong and caring. She has a way of making people feel comfortable around her and bringing them under her wing. She is also pretty reclusive for being her age. She has certain places she will go but she doesn't have much of a life. Her best friend Christian is a bit of a loner himself but he's the perfect match for Annabelle.

Then there's Elsbeth who is a bit lost since her husband died and her daughter left home only to never return. She's lonely and a bit stuck in her ways. To say that she was less than pleased to see this door with a letter slot show up in her back 40 acres is an understatement. She begins to come around as Annabelle, aka Annie, and her correspond via letters. They are both a little amazed that the are communicating through time and more than a little curious about how it works.

What unfolds is a story about family, love and figuring out just how you fit into the world. Each character in this book is a piece of time travel puzzle. There were a couple of things I figured out quickly but a few more things that surprised me. Each character is well developed but I wouldn't say that there were any of them I liked more than the other. I was happy that Christian was finally able to accept his past and move on to a future.

I enjoyed how time travel solved the murder-mystery of David Abbott in a creative way. I can't say I always understand time travel but I can at least suspend belief to enjoy it!

Can I just mention the cover? Seriously the picture doesn't do it justice. It is the perfect shade of lemon yellow with the perfect shade of green for the vines. It is simply stunning. Sometimes a book just needs a beautiful cover to get sold.

 The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster is a great blend of wonderful characters and an equally wonderful plot. If you enjoy time travel and murder mysteries, then this one is for you.



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