Title: Once in a Blue Moon Lodge by Lorna Landvik
Publisher: University of Minnesota Press
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Romantic Elements
Length: 312 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
Set adrift when her mother sells the salon that has been a neighborhood institution for decades, Nora Rolvaag takes a camping trip, intending to do nothing more than roast marshmallows over an open fire and under a starry sky. Two chance encounters, however, will have enormous consequences, and her getaway turns out to be more of a retreat from her daily life than she ever imagined. But Nora is the do-or-die-trying daughter of Patty Jane, who now must embrace the House of Curl’s slogan: “Expect the Unexpected.”
With her trademark wit and warmth, Lorna Landvik follows Nora and an ever-growing cast of characters between city and wooded retreat, Minnesota and Norway, a past that’s secret and a future that’s promising, but uncertain. Responding to a mysterious letter with a Norwegian postmark, Nora’s grandmother Ione travels to her native land to tend to a dying cousin and her husband—two people who played a painful, pivotal role in her past. Nora accompanies her and is surprised by her grandmother’s long-ago love story—but even more surprised by the beginning of her own.
A book about making new beginnings out of old endings, Once in a Blue Moon Lodge invites readers to check in, set down their baggage, and spend time with the kind of people who understand that while they can’t control all that life throws at them, they can at least control how they catch it. And as anyone who has stopped in at Patty Jane’s House of Curl will tell you: you’re in for a rollicking good time with characters whose strengths, foibles, and choices will have you laughing and crying. Hankerings for coffee and gingerbread cookies may also be experienced.
Once in a Blue Moon Lodge by Lorna Landvik is an absolutely delightful multi-generational novel starring the ever charming Rolvaag family and their friends. Following the family for over two decades as they traverse life’s numerous ups and downs, this captivating follow up to Patty Jane’s House of Curl is a light but emotional read that old and new fans are going to LOVE.
Nora Rolvaag is a little lost after her mom, Patty Jane, decides to sell the family owned business. Craving a little solitude, she sets off on a weekend of camping that leads to some very unforeseen life-altering changes. Her unexpected encounter with eccentric Nellie Freeburg leads to an unanticipated opportunity that comes along just as she needs a new direction for her life. An out of character decision also changes the course of her life and could derail Nora’s burgeoning romance with a wonderful new man. Luckily for Nora, her close-knit and loving family is always ready to provide her with the support she needs as she embarks on the next phase of her life.
Just as Nora is facing new challenges, her beloved grandmother Ione receives news that takes her back to Norway. The impending death of her estranged cousin Berit is the impetus for the trip and their first face to face meeting in decades is surprisingly healing as old secrets are finally revealed. However, there are more welcome surprises awaiting Ione as she becomes reacquainted with her first love, Edon, and readers will be completely enchanted by this luminous couple’s second chance at love courtship.
Patty Jane is also featured heavily throughout the story as she and the love of her life Clyde Chuka celebrate his commercial successes as a revered sculptor. Their unusual relationship is an absolute delight and although their happiness is also mixed with the tiniest bit of sorrow, their commitment to one another and compassion for others is one of the highlights of the story.
Once in a Blue Moon Lodge is a warmly inviting story of family and friendship that is incredibly heartwarming. The cast of characters is eclectic but immensely appealing and watching them navigate all of the joys and sorrows of their lives is an emotionally-charged experience that will bring readers much laughter and a few tears. This absolutely marvelous follow up to Lorna Landvik’s divine Patty Jane’s House of Curl can easily be read as a standalone, but I highly recommend both of these heartfelt novels.