Jan says, Another great story from one of my favorite writers. He has such a knack for encapsulating life in a small town. During these times of divided communities, it is fun to step back and see the joys and challenges of living in rural America. As always, J. Ryan Stradal brings his characters to life and lets the reader become a part of the story. Having grown up in a Scandinavian household in Iowa, relish trays filled with pickled herring, radishes, and sweet pickles were the norm. Stradal’s descriptions of the town and people helped me conjure so many warm and wonderful memories.
Sally’s thoughts: I loved J. Ryan Stradal’s first two novels and couldn’t wait to get my hands on this one. It’s as fun (with some some truly sad parts) and Midwestern as the others. He creates characters I can
almost hear talking – and they sound like Minnesotans.
A story of a couple from two very different restaurant families in rustic Minnesota, and the legacy of love and tragedy, of hardship and hope, that unites and divides them.
Mariel Prager needs a break. Her husband Ned is having an identity crisis, her spunky, beloved restaurant is bleeding money by the day, and her mother Florence is stubbornly refusing to leave the church where she’s been holed up for more than a week. The Lakeside Supper Club has been in her family for decades, and while Mariel’s grandmother embraced the business, seeing it as a saving grace, Florence never took to it. When Mariel inherited the restaurant, skipping Florence, it created a rift between mother and daughter that never quite healed.
Ned is also an heir—to a chain of home-style diners—and while he doesn’t have a head for business, he knows his family’s chain could provide a better future than his wife’s fading restaurant. In the aftermath of a devastating tragedy, Ned and Mariel lose almost everything they hold dear, and the hard-won victories of each family hang in the balance. With their dreams dashed, can one fractured family find a way to rebuild despite their losses, and will the Lakeside Supper Club be their salvation?
In this colorful, vanishing world of relish trays and brandy Old Fashioneds, J. Ryan Stradal has once again given us a story full of his signature honest, lovable yet fallible Midwestern characters as they grapple with love, loss, and marriage; what we hold onto and what we leave behind; and what our legacy will be when we are gone.