Though I am not from Minnesota, I have spent some quality time living there—in college and then afterwards so reading this was both fun and a little nostalgic. The small details, both comical and kind, are what really make these characters come alive. Also, I was already missing spending quality time inside my town’s two local nano-breweries and this made me miss them even more (even as I drink their beverages at home).
This novel tells the story of two sisters, Edith and Helen, whose lives take very different paths, partly because their father leaves the farm to one sister and not the other. Helen, the younger sister, dreams of brewing beer and makes many choices, some questionable, to make that dream a reality. Edith marries, has two children, and a grandchild and works at a local nursing home, making pies that eventually bring her and the nursing home some local fame. However, Edith has not spoken to her sister since the 1960’s, when Helen inherited the farm and did not give her sister any of the proceeds when she sold it.
It is Edith’s granddaughter, Diana, who creates the possibility for the sisters to reconcile, by becoming a brewer of beer herself. However, the fun of this novel is seeing the winding path that both sisters (and Diana) take to reconnect and how beer and brewing play a role.
I devoured this book in about 24 hours; a lovely escape (with beer) from all the crap playing out in the world right now. If you want a book that both loves and gently pokes fun at Minnesotans (both rural and urban) as well as makes you thirsty for good beer, I highly recommend it.