Part of my fall reading challenge was this book, Blessed are the Cheesemakers by Sarah-Kate Lynch. This book made my list because it had a good review in the Chinaberry catalog and because it takes place in Ireland. After our trip to Ireland this past fall, I am in love with all things Irish, so of course I had to read this.
I really admired the talent of this writer, she weaved several seemingly unconnected stories and introduced several different characters in such a congruent fashion. I stood amazed by the writer's ability to bring these very different people together into a magical cheesemaking destiny of sorts.
The story and people in it were quirky but endearing; we are introduced to Corrie and Fee-eccentric old cheesemakers desperately trying to find a cheesmaker to take over the business (they are Irish of course, and a hoot), Abbey-Corrie's grand-daughter, dreaming of cheese on a remote Island; what she is doing there could have been it's own novel...Kit in New York, suddenly an alcholic wash-out after his wife overdosed on drugs, and finally Lucy, music student at Trinity College/now pregnant run-away, who answers a help wanted ad at the cheesefarm.
Sit back and marvel as the author brings all these lives together with a sprinkle of cheese magic.
The telling of this story was so delicious, I found myself reading portions of it outloud to my husband because it was so quirky and funny that I had to share.
The situation Abbey finds herself in is introduced in a hilarious sort of telling, it is too long to quote here, but I read it outloud to hubby, it was that funny. In a nutshell: she ends up on a small remote Island with her new husband who has dreams of doing great things for people in underpriviledged countries. Problem is, after they arrive, the Island people suddenly fall into a windfall and have the savviness to shrewdly manage this new wealth and create trust funds for every villager on the Island. Abbey's husband continues to stubbornly build irrigation canals and a sustainable farming area (by hand), despite the fact that all the villagers now have satellite tv, evian water and cook imported fish sticks in their microwave ovens.
Lucy is a pregnant college student on her own, answering a job advertisement ad for which she perfectly fits all the criteria: "Must have short nails, a good singing voice and enjoy a strict vegetarian diet". She has landed, of course, at the cheesefarm. "We need girls who can hold a tune and who don't eat meat to hand-milk the cows." "The milk, Corrie said, was sweeter that way." Lucy joins 4 other girls on the farm, all desperately needing a place to belong, and all pregnant.
Of course, destiny brings all of these characters together at the cheesefarm, where love, quirkiness, a little craziness, and of course magic reign.
Here is a sample of why I loved this book: "Kit stood next to Avis, refusing to believe what he saw. The morning air in the dairy was thick with the smell of effluent and milk and the sound of raindrops on rosebuds and whiskers on kittens. The Pregnasaurs were milking in time to the soundtrack of The Sound of Music and for a moment Kit thought the cows were actually dancing. On close inspection, they proved to be merely shuffling, but he couldn't be 100 percent sure that it wasn't in time to the beat."
All of this storytelling wraps around a love story, of course. The author also manages several twist and turns that truly left me guessing. I loved reading this book, I loved the characters and I wished for it to not end. The ending by the way, was beautiful. I sobbed through the ending, but it was a poignant, beautiful scene that just made the book so much more wonderful and real than I had thought it was. I cried while smiling as I read the end. I really did not expect to find such a gem of a story. This book should be rated 'R', some language and adult situations, and the beginning with Kit is kind of heartbreaking-just wanted to warn you. I will definitely read this book again soon, and I wish the cheesefarm and the people on it were real, I would love to go visit them. And I know, I will never experience cheese in quite the same way again.