Lemons in the Garden of Love
By Ames Sheldon
A 2021 print release from
She Writes Press
Many prologues to novels are inept means of trying to solve structural problems in the story. Here, that is not the case. Author Ames Sheldon has created a sharply tuned, intensely moving and highly relevant novel. Set in the recent past and on the east coast, Sheldon writes with a keen eye for her setting. And while the novel follows a late Twentieth Century married graduate student named Cassie Lyman and her thesis research, Sheldon has used her settings in careful and evocative ways.
In some ways, Cassie’s journey through the American suffrage movement efforts of the late nineteenth and Twentieth Century, is a model for Cassie’s personal evolution. She’s a bright, hard-working PhD candidate in Women’s History at the university of Minnesota when she comes across a trove of records at Smith College. They chronicle the efforts of her relative, one Kate Easton, to support a local women’s rights organization and move ruling politicians in Massachusetts to pass laws allowing women more autonomy over their own bodies through reasonable methods of birth control
Cassie’s research and her interactions with family members while attending her younger sister’s wedding, help her to resolve personal problems and open positive future possibilities. The characters in the novel are well-defined, the dialogue is always believable as is the blending of influence on Cassie from the letters and actions of her ancestor with her current situation.
Moving, emotional, well and carefully structured, this historical novel could easily find a place in the libraries of thoughtful women and men, and it should.