Author: Scott Wilbanks
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Publish Date: August 4, 2015
Source: I received a copy from the publisher; however, this did not affect my review.
What's the Story?:
From Goodreads.com: "Annabelle Aster doesn’t bow to convention—not even that of space and time—which makes the 1890s Kansas wheat field that has appeared in her modern-day San Francisco garden easy to accept. Even more peculiar is Elsbeth, the truculent schoolmarm who sends Annie letters through the mysterious brass mailbox perched on the picket fence that now divides their two worlds.
Annie and Elsbeth’s search for an explanation to the hiccup in the universe linking their homes leads to an unsettling discovery—and potential disaster for both of them. Together they must solve the mystery of what connects them before one of them is convicted of a murder that has yet to happen…and yet somehow already did."
My Two Cents:
There are a lot of readers out there who find a certain kind of story that they like and they want to stick to it. That's all fine and good but that has never been me. If I read something, I'm looking for a completely different story the next time. The more original a story is, the better. The synopsis of "The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster" sounded interesting to me and definitely off the beaten path, but when I opened this book, I was blown away by how unforgettable the storyline was. This book is perfect for those who are looking for a book that's fully engaging and will stick with you for very long time!
Reading a lot of historical fiction, I'm very used to the trope of letters connecting the present to the past. In the case of Annie, she finds that she can send letters back to a 1890s farmhouse in the middle of Kansas and that Elsbeth can send letters to her from 1890s Kansas to present-day San Francisco. This book uses many magical realism to make Annie and Elsbeth's worlds feel like something that could actually happen. Magical realism continues to be one of my favorite additions to any book and this book has it in spades!
Not only is the story wholly original but the characters are really interesting as well. Annie is incredibly quirky and incredibly smart. She has always felt like an outsider but feeling like an outsider has made her more open to the idea of things not always being the way that they seem originally. Some of the secondary characters also made this book memorable. The author does a great job of using detail in order to make the characters jump off of the page.
There's so many twists and turns in this book and it really kept me on my toes. Every page added a little bit something new to the mystery of what was going on with Annie and Elsbeth's mailboxes. Although that is the main arc, the author had a great way of adding other details and issues to make the characters feel like real people with real lives. This is an incredibly inventive story and I know that I will be thinking about the story for a long time. Although I won't be looking for another book just like this one as I don't like to read the same thing twice, but this book what gives me hope that there are other original stories out there just waiting to be found!