Monday, June 22, 2020

Monday Not-So-Mini Reviews: The Lager Queen of Minnesota

The Lager Queen of Minnesota by J. Ryan Stradel was on my TBR for a long time.  But I picked a few books to read over the summer, and since this is one of the sixteen and I'm feeling some odd sense of responsibility in completing this (it's never happened in previous years), I decided to pick it up.

I've heard many people say that there is no knowledge of beer required to enjoy this book. I wholeheartedly agree (I can't stand beer), and although this was a five star read for me without any background in beer, I do know that my husband who does enjoy a beer from time to time might enjoy this book, but for different reasons than I did.  Because of his knowledge of beers, he will no doubt be able to understand the beer making process that is described in detail.

J. Ryan Stradel's first book, Kitchens of the Great Midwest is a novel in stories.  Although I don't think this sophomore novel is quite the same thing, it does have three narrators.  Edith is the older sister, the responsible daughter who has two of her own children and a husband who is suffering from dementia.  Her sister, Helen, was the one who received the entire inheritance from their parents, beginning a silence between the sisters that lasted for decades, and who operates and owns a brewery with her husband.  We follow Helen from her adolescence when beer brewing was just a dream to her later years when Blotz is no longer a beer making power in Minnesota. The third narrator is Diana, Edith's granddaughter. Edith's parents died in a car accident leaving Diana and Edith to eke out their existence in Nicolett, Minnesota.  Diana has some creative ways to make money (not necessarily legal), but when she meets Frank, a man she tries to steal from, he introduces her to his beer brewing business and she decides to develop a beer of her own to sell. 

Stradel does a great job of bringing this story full circle and I loved all the narrators.  My only wish is that the conclusion with Edith and Helen would have lasted longer.  

I absolutely want to press this into everyone's hands and am so happy I managed to pick this up instead of letting it linger on my TBR for any longer.  


Mystica said...

Thank you for a review of a book that was not known to me. I enjoyed the review.

Ti said...

I didn't pick this one up until just recently. Mostly because of the beer topic. However, I LOVED Kitchens and after reading many reviews of Lager Queen I realize it's gonna be good whenever I get to it.