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Or perhaps this should read “When a Librarian Gives You Lemon Books…” Regardless, the answer is very similar. In the first, you make lemonade. In the second, you make lemonade and then settle down with one of those lemon books and enjoy a relaxing summer read. I can’t give you the lemons, but I can give you a list of books with “lemon” in their title. Some may be sour, some may be sweet, but I hope you find them all somewhat refreshing (in their own way).

Lemon: A Novel (Kwon Yeo-sun)

Korea, summer of 2002. The whole country is abuzz over the FIFA World Cup, and eighteen-year old Kim Hae-on is killed in what becomes known as the High School Beauty Murder. There are two suspects in the case, rich kid Shin Jeogiun and delivery boy Han Manu. Hae-on was last seen in Jeogiun’s car. And Manu was the witness who saw her there. But, a strong alibi and lack of evidence cannot convict either one and the case goes cold. Seventeen years pass, and the strain of uncertainly grows harder and harder for Hae-on’s family to bear. And finally, her sister, Da-on, takes matters into her own hands, in a twisted attempt to recover what she’s lost.

Lemon Larceny (Jessica Beck)

Please note: This is #15 in the Donut Shop Mystery series. To start at the beginning, please check out Glazed Murder.

When Aunt Jean dies suddenly, shop-owner-turned-detective Suzanne Hart, and her mother investigate what looks to be an accident, but quickly turns out to be murder. The pair never expected to get help from beyond the grave, though! Turns out, Aunt Jean suspected that someone was going to target her, so she left behind a series of clues and hints to help the would-be-sleuths discover who had wanted her dead.

The Lemon Orchard (Luanne Rice)

Julia has not visited her aunt and uncle in Malibu for five years–not since her life was turned upside-down by her daughter’s death. But, a chance to house-sit promises to be a time of peace and quiet, and an opportunity for her to just spend some time alone (or with her beloved dog, Bonnie). But, Julia’s attention is drawn to the lemon orchard, and the handsome man who oversees it. Roberto expertly tends the trees, using the money to support his Mexican family. Then, Roberto shares the secret of his own personal pain and a connection forms between the two of them. Roberto also lost his daughter, but unlike Julia, he has never gotten closure, as she has never been found. And despite the odds, he cannot bear to give up hope. Set in the sea and citrus-scented air of the breathtaking Santa Monica Mountains, The Lemon Orchard is an affirming story about the redemptive power of compassion and the kind of love that seems to find us when we need it most.

Lemon Drop Dead (Amanda Flower)

Please note: This is #6 in the Amish Candy Shop Mystery series. To start at the beginning, please check out Assaulted Caramel.

Baby showers are not an Amish tradition, but Bailey King, owner of Swissmen Sweets, still wants to do something nice to celebrate Emily Keim’s new baby. It’s the least she can do for her hardworking assistant. Everyone in Harvest, Ohio has gathered for the event, and the town’s gazebo is even decked out in lemon-themed décor to add some of Emily’s favorite flavor to the festivities. Then, two surprise guests arrive: first, is Emily’s estranged sister, Esther Esh. Then, a mysterious Amish woman who claims that she knows Emily’s secret shame: a teenage pregnancy and hushed-up adoption. The woman disappears before any questions can be asked, but she’s soon rediscovered–dead in Esh Family Pretzels, with a threatening note from Esther found on her body.

The Lemon Sisters (Jill Shalvis)

Please note: This is #3 in the Wildstone series. To start at the beginning, please check out Lost and Found Sisters.

Brooke Lemon has always lived the life she wanted, wild and free. Some mistakes were made, certainly, but she has few regrets, even if her sister Mindy can’t understand. But, when perfect Mindy shows up on Brooke’s door, on the verge of a break-down with three little kids in tow, Brooke’s absolutely shocked. But, she wants to make amends, so she agrees to swap places with her sister–taking the kids and returning to Wildstone while Mindy stays behind in order to put herself back together. But, what Brooke does not admit is that she’s just as broken, and the trip back home, after seven long years will dredge up all sorts of mistakes from her past, including a tall, dark, sexy one named Garrett. But, Garrett’s no longer interested–so he says. And Brooke starts feeling things that she repressed long ago.

Luck, Love, and Lemon Pie (Amy E. Reichert)

MJ Bourdreaux has a problem. This Milwaukee-area wife and mother has realized as of late that her husband Chris seems far more interested in the casino than in her. But, instead of worrying about it, she decides to pick up poker as a means of them spending time together. But, while the game doesn’t provide the quality time she was hoping for, MJ finds she has a real knack for it. And soon, she’s spending more and more time in the comforting presence of the gambling tables and less and less with her family. A string of great wins lands MJ in Vegas, attracting the attention of a magnetic poker star. But, when she’s forced to choose between her family and her thrilling new lifestyle, the stakes may be higher than she thought, and MJ will have to play her hand carefully or risk losing it all.

Murder with Lemon Tea Cakes (Karen Rose Smith)

This is the first book in the Daisy’s Tea Garden Mystery series.

In an old Victorian in the heart of Pennsylvania’s Amish country, Daisy Swanson and her aunt Iris serve soups, scones, and delicious teas to tourists and locals alike. Daisy, a widowed mom of two teenagers, is used to feeling protective. So, when Aunt Iris starts dating the wealthy and not-quite-divorced Harvey Fitz, she’s naturally worried…especially after Harvey’s bitter ex storms in and causes a scene at the party Daisy’s Tea Garden was catering. Then, there’s the rumor that Harvey’s grown children are to be cut out of his will. Daisy didn’t want her aunt to get her heart broken, but she certainly never expected that Iris would be a suspect in a murder. When Harvey is found dead, Daisy places all her hopes in Jonas Groft, a former Philadelphia detective, to clear her aunt’s name before everything boils over.

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake (Aimee Bender)

In a haunting piece of magical realism, author Aimee Bender presents her readers with a character with a power that she never asked for and does not want. On the eve of her ninth birthday, Rose Edelstein, a young wallflower in both her social and family lives, bites into her mother’s homemade lemon-chocolate cake and discovers that she can taste her mother’s emotions in the cake. And she discovers to her horror that her cheerful, distracted, and good-with-crafts, can-do mother tastes of despair and desperation. And it doesn’t end there. Every time she eats something, she can taste the emotions in the cook or baker’s heart. With one bite, food becomes a peril and a threat to young Rose. Now, she’s cursed with the secret knowledge all families keep hidden, but as she grows up, Rose learns to harness her gift and becomes aware of secrets even her taste buds cannot discern.

Lemon Pies and Little White Lies (Ellery Adams)

Please note: This is #4 in the Charmed Pie Shoppe Mysteries series. To start at the beginning, please check out Pies and Prejudice.

Ella Mae LeFaye’s Charmed Pie Shoppe has become a phenomenon beyond her wildest dreams, provided the enchanted town of Havenwood, Georgia with spellbinding desserts and magical pies (literally!). And Ella’s personal life is heating up, too, as she takes on the responsibilities of leadership within her magical community. In fact, the only thing weighing her down is the fact that the handsome Hugh Dylan won’t return her calls. When Havenwood is rocked by a series of mysterious deaths, Ella Mae must put her romantic longings aside, especially as the mystical symbols at each crime scene are dangerously personal. With a killer to find and an ancient score to settle, Ella Mae is in a race against time before everything she cares about is ruined.

Lemon Meringue Pie Murder (Joanne Fluke)

Please note: This is #4 in the Hannah Swensen series. To start at the beginning, please check out Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder.

Hannah Swensen thought she discovered the recipe for a perfect life. But, her sometimes Beau, Norman Rhodes tosses a surprise ingredient into the mix. He calls Hannah to tell her that he’s just bought a house from the local drugstore clerk, Rhonda Scharf, and he’s going to tear it down to build the dream home that the couple had designed together.

Norman has clearly been planning this for a long time, although to Hannah, it’s all happening rather fast–especially considering that he hasn’t even proposed to her yet. But, she’s momentarily distracted when Norman reveals the house is full of antiques, and Hannah and her mother can take what they like. While exploring their newfound treasures, they uncover a beautiful patchwork quilt, some old furniture…and Rhonda Scharf’s dead body! A little more investigation also turns up the remains of a special dinner for two, and one of Hannah’s famous lemon meringue pies…


I'm the Reader's Advisory Librarian at WPPL. My interests include old horror films, classic novels, manga and anime, paper-crafting, and plants. If you like my suggestions, you can request personalized recommendations from me on My Librarian page.