*I received a free copy of Luck, Love and Lemon Pie from Gallery Books via Netgalley. This has in no way influenced my voluntary review, which is honest and unbiased *Luck, Love and Lemon Pie by Amy E Reichert
Published by Gallery Books on 12 July 2016
When Milwaukee-area wife and mother MJ Boudreaux notices her husband Chris seems more interested in the casino than her, she’s more bothered that she isn’t upset than by her husband’s absence. She picks up poker as a way for them to spend more time together—and reignite their marital flame.
Although the game doesn’t give her the quality time with Chris that she’d hoped, MJ finds she has a knack for it. Increasingly unhappy at home, she turns to the felt top of the poker table for comfort. Intoxicated with newfound freedom, MJ begins spending more time at the gambling tables and less with her family, finally carving out for herself a place outside her role of wife and mother.
After a string of great wins, MJ finds herself in Vegas, attracting the attention of a certain magnetic poker star. But when she’s forced to choose between her family and her new exciting lifestyle, the stakes may be higher than she thought and MJ will have to play her hand carefully…or risk losing it all.
Luck, Love and Lemon Pie deals with what happens after years of a mostly happy marriage, when boredom sets in and the two people who were always there for each other start to grow apart.
MJ and Chris have been married for 20 years, but for their 20th anniversary, Chris doesn’t show up at the restaurant for their celebration lunch. In fact, he’s playing poker and forgot all about MJ… Luck, Love and Lemon Pie starts pretty strongly , placing the reader firmly on MJ’s side, as she was having a whole meal alone, including the famous lemon pie Chris had always made for their anniversary in the past. Because Chris enjoyed his poker games at the local casino, MJ figured they could play together – having their date night doing something he liked might re-ignite the romantic flames of their relationship… Of course, things didn’t really work out that way.
There is a lot of poker in Luck, Love and Lemon Pie, and it was very interesting to see how MJ lost herself in the game. A way to think logically, to figure out the other players all the while forgetting about the shortcomings of her own life. Between her children, the household chores and Chris being absent more often than not, MJ had started to feel slightly invisible, but that was not the case once she started with the poker games. And when there was a tournament where the first prize was the entry to a bigger tournament in Las Vegas, she went for it.
I really enjoyed how the game became a metaphor both for life in general and marriage in particular in Luck, Love and Lemon Pie, and the way MJ reflected on her life and what she really wanted moving forward is something that we all have to do from time to time. Re-evaluating things, figuring out how to make some adjustments in order to keep the love alive after a long marriage is never easy. And it really seemed as if it might be too late for MJ to save what was important to her. Written in third person past tense, the narration was nicely paced and included enough dialogues to get to know the side characters well, too. With the flashbacks into MJ’s and Chris’s past, it was also easy to cheer for them to work things out.
She picked up Chris’s clothes from the floor in their shared bathroom and shoved them into the laundry basket. How was a man who so precisely lined up his toiletries on the bathroom counter incapable of getting his dirty underwear into the hamper?