The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster is a book that had me at hello. The title intrigued me and I liked the sound of it. The word “lemoncholy” was my favorite part. I had never heard that word but I enjoyed saying it over and over. And then once you open the book, the first thing you read is the definition of lemoncholy which made me love the word even more. I can absolutely relate to its meaning, as my life has been in a permanent state of lemoncholy. Anyway, this is a great book title.
Then there’s that bright lemony yellow cover with the turquoise flower flourishes that is impossible to miss. I saw this cover and I knew I had to read this book. The antique mailbox with the 2 birdies is another lovely detail which compliments the cover beautifully. The composition is great and I see how it relates to our 2 main characters. Although having read the book, I think instead of a mailbox, the red door would’ve been better element of choice for the cover, as it is such an important object for the story than the mailbox. But that’s just me being picky. The cover is gorgeous, whimsical and charming.
The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster takes place in Kansas and San Francisco in two different periods of time. It is the story of Annabelle Aster, “Annie”, a peculiar twentysomething woman who loves to dress in vintage Victorian clothes and lives in a purple house in San Francisco in 1995; and Elsbeth Grundy, a widowed retired teacher who lives in a cabin in the plains of central Kansas in 1895.
We meet Elsbeth first, when one morning she finds that a purple house has appeared out of nothing in the wheat fields. A house whose door she can’t knock because every time she tries to do it she finds herself back at the gate of a picket fence. Elsbeth is not thrilled with whoever is invading her property and decides to send a letter with her objections via a brass mailbox on the fence.
Annie is the recipient of said letter. She is also surprised to suddenly have found a wheat field in her garden, a cabin in the horizon and a brass mailbox on a fence. And so begins a correspondence between these two women whose lives are more intertwined than they would know. Two women in you could say “different time zones” that bond via hand written letters and who with the help of loyal friends solve the mystery behind a murder and discover how and why they are able to communicate despite the passing of time.
I couldn’t put this book down. It was fast paced and I had no problem in going back and forth in time as I read. The premise of the story was great. But as much as I liked the premise, in the end I couldn’t quite adore the book. I liked it but not that much, because of the cast of characters, the love stories, the time travel deal, and how a character gets cured. I explain this thoroughly in the full review on my blog.
The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster is a good book. 3.5 / 5 is a good rating in my book. This is a good story that has time travel, murder, mystery, action, friendship, love and family reunions. It makes you think what you would do if you could time travel. I personally think if I could time travel, I would do it just to be a tourist back in time. I would do it just to observe how it all was back then, but wouldn’t dare interfere with events that could possibly change history.
In the end, for me this was not a book about time travel. It is a book about 5 loners who become a family, because a family is not made only of people with whom you share DNA, but of people with whom you share bonds of respect and joy in each other’s lives.
The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster is a good summer read. It is a book that will keep you guessing what will happen next until the end. It is a good choice for book clubs who could discuss on subjects such as homosexuality, drug abuse, homelessness, child neglect and family.