Downtown, Oct 2004, 13.00, 320 pp.
Ellie Manelli has gone around the world tasting exotic food everywhere, but now in her twenties she opens up an East Village restaurant she names after her nickname, Lemon, which is a success. Ellie relishes her work as a chef and enjoys rooftop sex with her boyfriend Eddie. Life is terrific and gets better when she becomes the centerfold of Manhattan dining.
Her Brooklyn based Italian family could care less about Lemon as they want her to come home to her roots, marry, and have children. Eddie wants to be that man having proposed several times, but Ellie puts him off having commitment problems traced back to her deceased wanderlust parents who dumped her on relatives when she was a child. However, the dynamics change when Lemon hit the roof once too many and becomes pregnant. Eddie is thrilled and wants to do the right thing although he doubts his wealthy Georgia family will welcome an Italian person into their blue blooded lives. Her family led by her overbearing drill sergeant aunts pushes her to wed the father though he is not Italian. However, before she decides, the dynamics change when she miscarries. Depressed will Ellie marry Eddie, a Brooklyn Italian, or stay single?
This is a gloomy look at the single life in New York though readers will appreciate Ellie's lust for life. The story line is obviously character-driven, mostly by the lead protagonist, but also by her family, her boyfriend, and her employees. Though the miscarriage puts a damper on this tale, readers will appreciate this well written urban drama and look forward to the next fruitful Heather Swain novel.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner