Reading about strong women and their ability to face adversity and succeed is a dear topic to Jan and I. We found exactly what we were looking for in the book, The Lager Queen of Minnesota with its women being true feminists, standing on their own, and facing the future with courage and bravery and a will to succeed.
“When you see a man falling off a ladder above you, Edith believed, you don’t envision your arms breaking. You just hold them out.”
I’m a Midwesterner, and I know these women intimately. They are my grandmothers, my mother, and my aunts. Women who had their share of heartache and troubles but rose above their setbacks and carried on without complaint. They have all since passed away, but they were the embodiment of stoicism and grit. They didn’t waste time feeling sorry for themselves or bemoaning their fate. And neither did the women in this book.
Adversity can break you or it can make you strong. The author follows three of these strong women, Helen, her sister Edith, and Diana, Edith’s granddaughter, through decades of adversity, joys, and triumphs. And he does it with a lot of heart, warmth, and humor.
I’m a wine gal, and the author took me into a world I knew little about, the world of craft beer. He didn’t bog it down with too much detail I didn’t want to know, and I now appreciate the skill and knowledge that goes into beer-making. Making it even more palatable, underlying the beer-making talk were themes that made the reader care about what happened. I loved that these women broke into what was exclusively a man’s club and through hard work and determination succeeded. They are the embodiment of feminism, showing they can compete in a male-dominated field and do it well.
The author’s talent is not just in telling a compelling story, but making the reader fall in love with the characters. I fell hard for these women and I closed the last page with a warm heart and a tear in my eye.
This was a buddy read with Marialyce and we both agree that next up is Kitchens of the Great Midwest. We hope the author is hard at work on his next book because we can’t wait to see what he writes next.
*I received a copy of the book via Edelweiss for review. All opinions are my own.
Traveling to the Midwest in the book The Lager Queen of Minnesota, we are introduced to three women, Edith and Helen, who are sisters and have not spoken in years, and Edith’s granddaughter Diana. Pictured so well here is small town life with plenty of nods to the making of beer and the love one has for the state of Minnesota. It’s an education reading this non linear book with the concepts of craft beer being made and produced. It’s the story of three women all of them determined in their own way to succeed and be happy with what fate has delivered to them.
We see the toughness and courage of these women although Helen initially seems to be an outlier, taking all the money left to her and bolstering her husband’s failing beer business. It is through Edith we see the power of forgiveness and that “I can do attitude” which she imbues in her granddaughter, Diana. In Diana, we see that strong spirit of resiliency and the power of knowing that hard work and determination often rule the day.
When I think of feminists, these characters are the ones I think of. They don’t moan or whine about their fate, but tackle everything that is thrown at them with resiliency and strength.
The story comes into its own slowly and as we see Edith, a lady who never even tasted beer, become, along with her grandmother type friends, a brewer of beer. We applaud and cheer with pleasure the authentic voice this author gives to his admirable characters.
I highly recommend this book as one that is both rich in detail and characters and satisfying in all its details. Now, I am quite anxious to pick up the author’s Kitchens of the Great Midwest. …and by the way you don’t have to love beer to love this story.
Thank you to J. Ryan Stradel, Pamela Dorman Books, and Edelweiss for a copy of this uplifting story.