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Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite
Lemons in the Garden of Love is a historical drama novel by Ames Sheldon. It's the year 1977. Cassie Lyman -- a Smith College student pursuing a doctorate in women's history -- stumbles upon a painting of a naked woman on a cross, leading her to make the artist, Kate Reed Easton, the subject of her dissertation. After discovering a bunch of suffrage cartoons, diaries, and letters penned by Kate, Cassie develops a strange kinship with the fiercely independent woman. It turns out Kate was a distant aunt of Cassie's who advocated for women's rights during a time when women were deemed inferior. As Cassie delves deep into Kate's life story, she finds parallels with her own that she struggles to shrug off. With her marriage in disarray, can Cassie get her life back on track?
With the recent overturning of the Roe Vs. Wade ruling by the Supreme Court of the United States, books like Lemons in the Garden of Love seem all the more relevant. Author Ames Sheldon tells a captivating tale of a young woman facing similar hurdles that her distant relative navigated half a century ago and finding herself having to overcome them. Cassie is a realistic protagonist, with inner conflicts and struggles that make her thoroughly compelling to read. You sympathize with her plight and root for her until the very end. Sheldon's prose is as smooth as melted butter, making the narrative breeze past without a single hitch. I am glad that I read this book and highly recommend it.