When I began reading blogger friend Susan Flett Swiderski's Hot Flashes & Cold Lemonade, I was immediately drawn to the opening scene where Pearl's father drives away with a mysterious stranger leaving her oddly accepting mother behind. I quickly read on to find out her father's motivation for leaving, but the author slowly takes us there on her own terms introducing us to Pearl's colorful friends and family along the way.
Hot Flashes & Cold Lemonade is the perfect title for a story that unwinds easily like a warm summer day one moment, and turns stormy the next. Pearl is a multifaceted character who can make you laugh hysterically and cry like a baby when you least expect it. I'll never forget the heart-rending scene where her successful son invites her to a dinner party. She always puts her family first which often comes back to haunt her.
Susan Flett Swiderski's novel is something that we can all relate to. Each character has a new layer that is slowly peeled away throughout the story. For example, Pearl's mother and husband have a special relationship that Pearl doesn't even begin to appreciate until later in the novel. She is so busy trying to be a supportive wife and mother that she forgets to be a more accepting daughter. We all struggle with these issues at some point in our lives.
I was sad when Hot Flashes & Cold Lemonade came to an end, not because I was disappointed with the ending, but because I didn't want to say goodbye to this wonderful family. Susan's quick wit, and attention to detail made me want to spend more time with these amazing characters. It also made me appreciate my own family, flaws and all.