Lemongrass Hope by Amy Impellizzeri: A Review

Amy Impellizzeri’s Tall Poppy Writers Page

Amazon Blurb: Set in the past, and present, LEMONGRASS HOPE is a captivating and unpredictable love story, with a dose of magical realism and time travel, that fans of authors such as Audrey Niffenegger, Alice Hoffman, and Toni Morrison will appreciate and embrace. Like Liane Moriarty’s The Husband’s Secret this novel weaves together ordinary lives and events to tell an extraordinary tale of connection, loss, renewal, and of course, hope. As Kate Sutton’s decade-long marriage to Rob erodes and unravels, Kate fears that the secrets she guards from the world, including Rob’s emergency room proposal, and a whirlwind love affair from her past, have always doomed her fate. When she unwittingly receives a glimpse at what her life could have been like had she made different choices all those years ago, it is indeed all she could have ever wanted. A confirmation of her greatest hope, and her greatest fears. LEMONGRASS HOPE will draw you in with characters so relatable and real, you will cheer for them one moment and flinch the next. A tale that invites you to suspend disbelief-or perhaps decide to believe once and for all-in the potent power of love and connection over time and choice. Oh, and the dress. There’s this lemongrass dress . . .


REVIEW: This book has been on my TBR (To Be Read) list since it came out over a year ago. The author is a participating member of a large international online writers group I belong to (Women Writers, Women’s Books, or http://www.booksbywomen.org). Ms. Impellizzeri is a former corporate lawyer, turned fiction and non-fiction writer. She puts her knowledge of the practice of law to good use in exploring the character of Rob, Kate’s husband.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Lemongrass Hope is first and foremost a compelling and relatable piece of contemporary fiction. A twist of plot late in the book provides an unexpected bit of magical realism to the story that makes Lemongrass Hope just that little bit different from other books exploiting themes of “what might have been.” Above all, Kate Sutton is a woman with whom many readers will be able to empathize.

Kate has a deep and passionate affair with Ian, but she takes a safe route into the long term, more practical relationship with Rob. The marriage progresses through many familiar phases: establishing their career(s), kids and moving to the suburbs. With exceptional clarity, Amy captures the duality with which so many women with careers and young children struggle, and zeros in with pinpoint accuracy on the discomfort that often exists between stay-at-home moms and moms that work outside the home. Amy clearly describes Kate’s transition from an academic and intellectual 20-something, enjoying life in Manhattan, to a woman strained to her limits by the demands of her career, being a supportive wife to a partner-track attorney, and being the mother of two young children. Seeing that transition, we are set up beautifully when Kate is confronted with several life altering events, one on top of the next, and she embarks on a Heartbreak Cruise to try to get her thoughts together.

Amy writes Kate’s character in such a way that I was alternatively sympathetic and yelling at her. Kate’s evolution from young adulthood, believing she can control her life, to a wiser woman who knows how to control the things she can, and let go of what she can’t is a commonly told story. In Lemongrass Hope, it becomes remarkable in how simply and beautifully the story unfolded for me. Much of the story arc is predictable with one VERY notable exception. But it doesn’t matter, because the story is so elegantly told.

Lemongrass Hope explores old themes in a new way, offering a fresh view of the question “What if I’d done things differently?” This book was enjoyable, optimistic and fast-moving. I recommend it.

Among the places you can buy this book is
Amazon. Here’s the link.



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Filed under General Fiction, Reviews

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