Review: Whole Latte Life by Joanne DeMaio
Rachel DeMartino and Sara Beth Riley have shared a special friendship – as well as wishes, dreams, secrets, and plenty of coffee – for twenty-five years, and now they’re celebrating their fortieth birthdays with a weekend getaway in Manhattan. For Rachel, the perfect celebration takes a disturbing turn when Sara Beth excuses herself during lunch at a small café and doesn’t return. Leaving nothing but a note and a thousand questions, Sara Beth makes the decision to finally take her life into her own hands. Grieving over the loss of her mother, reeling from the tense state of her marriage, and mourning her shattered dreams for starting her own antique business, Sara Beth’s midlife celebration quickly escalates to crisis. But while Sara Beth indulges herself in a moment’s recklessness to salvage her life, Rachel is left with nothing but a note and a crack in an otherwise seamless friendship. Rachel’s own fortieth year is not what she anticipated: widowed, with a college-bound daughter, her strongest dream is for a little cottage by the beach, and plenty of inspiration to pursue her sketching. As she scours Manhattan to find Sara Beth she enlists the help of mounted police officer Michael, who helps her to realize that hope for a magical time in the city may not be lost after all. As Rachel and Sara Beth separately embrace this new chapter in their lives and eventually reunite to repair their shorn friendship, they discover the power of change and how some things – like conversation and coffee with a friend – are unwavering in the face of it.
Joanne DeMaio’s Whole Latte Life is a rich blend of poignancy and charm; the perfect recipe for a heartwarming debut novel. Bursting with memorable characters and thought-provoking commentary on the lives and feelings of modern women, the novel touches on all of the important pillars of the contemporary fiction genre, and DeMaio’s writing carries it beautifully. Whole Latte Life is a very full novel, moving at a pace that works wonderfully for it, but not caring to rush any faster; because DeMaio knows that if you move too fast, you risk not catching the light. And that, to me, is what much of the experience of Whole Latte Life is about: catching the light. For Rachel, discovering the secret stories of Manhattan’s history with her very own handsome guide, to Sara Beth, tapping into the fire of her own spirit and living life, finally, on her own terms; each woman’s struggles are vastly different, their journeys diverse, but both come to the same understanding: that life is beautiful, dreams are strong, and true friendships are vigorous, unstoppable things.
I was drawn to both Sara Beth and Rachel, comfortable in the shifts between their stories, and I found a piece of myself in each of them. I felt very strongly that their stories transcended age and reached to the core of femininity, to the impossible power and the unique blessing of womanhood. Deeply, the plights of each woman, their worries and trials, resonate with the reader, and their triumphs are felt with just as much substance. Whole Latte Life is at once breezy in its applicability and absorbing in its perception, weaving itself into a beautiful patchwork of life, love, friendship, and everything in between.
Title: Whole Latte Life
Author: Joanne DeMaio
Genre: contemporary fiction
Publisher: Joanne DeMaio
Release date: March 12, 2012
Source: Mary DeMaio (c/o)
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