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The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  2,422 ratings  ·  546 reviews

Annabelle Aster doesn’t bow to convention—not even that of space and time—which makes the 1890s Kansas wheat field that has appeared in her modern-day San Francisco garden easy to accept. Even more peculiar is Elsbeth, the truculent schoolmarm who sends Annie letters through the mysterious brass mailbox perched on the picket fence that now divides their two worlds.

Annie an

Paperback, 379 pages
Published August 4th 2015 by Sourcebooks Landmark
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Average rating 3.71  · 
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 ·  2,422 ratings  ·  546 reviews

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Scott Wilbanks
Mar 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Well, I do love my own book! :)
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
Full review, first posted on

In May 1895, Elsbeth Grundy, a crotchety widow living in a cabin on the Kansas plains, sees a purple and gold-painted Victorian home that has unexpectedly appeared in her wheat fields. Elsbeth determinedly stalks over to the home to demand an explanation of this irksome addition to her back forty, but every time she goes to knock on the door, she’s immediately displaced back to the gate around the home. Incensed, she leaves a letter in the m
Diane S ☔
Aug 10, 2015 rated it liked it
3.5 This is a romp, a fast paced mad-cap adventure story with some utterly enjoyable characters. I kept asking myself how I would feel if I woke up one morning and looked out my bedroom window and instead of my garden and flowers I saw a cornfield. Would probably think my medication was getting to me. But, that is what happens here to Annie.. Besides that there is a mysterious door, (and no this is not The Lion, The witch and the wardrobe) a magician, a delightful young man who stutters unless h ...more
❀Aimee❀ Just one more page...
4 1/2 STARS
I finished this magical book last week and my mind keeps going back to the characters and story line.

The characters were so endearing to me. They are quirky, flawed, and carrying their baggage in their own way. Like a slowly opening flower, their story and depth of character come out petal by petal. I could tell early on that their stories would come to be interconnected in special ways.

One day Annabelle Aster looks out her back door in modern San Francisco and sees what turns out to
Jeannette Nikolova
Apr 16, 2015 rated it it was ok
Read on the WondrousBooks blog.

What happened with this book is simple: It didn't tickle my fancy. I can't pinpoint the exact reason for it and because of that I'd assume that it was not so much as one thing, as it was all of the little things that I didn't particularly like.

The good part of The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster is that it has a good idea behind it. Who doesn't love time travel, paradoxes and magic?

Unless - after the author gets his great idea, he or she fails to deliver. Becaus
Meg - A Bookish Affair
There are a lot of readers out there who find a certain kind of story that they like and they want to stick to it. That's all fine and good but that has never been me. If I read something, I'm looking for a completely different story the next time. The more original a story is, the better. The synopsis of "The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster" sounded interesting to me and definitely off the beaten path, but when I opened this book, I was blown away by how unforgettable the storyline was. This boo ...more
I was lucky enough to get an ARC/be asked to blurb this thoughts:
Readers will adore this heartfelt, one-of-a-kind debut and the charming, quirky characters tramping through its pages. Written in sly, quick-witted prose and filled with soul, THE LEMONCHOLY LIFE OF ANNIE ASTER will have you thinking, smiling, and wondering if you can find your own magic door.
MM Finck
Mar 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
To say that THE LEMONCHOLY LIFE OF ANNIE ASTER is a whip-sharp, zany adventure is an undeniable truth, but what made the ride so all-encompassing for me are Wilbanks’ thoroughly unique characters. Christian, a handsome, awkward stutterer with a heart of gold and an angel on his shoulder, elevated every page on which he appeared (which is many). I want an entire novel of Cap’n and her gang - the tough, little pickpocket who knew “every hidey-hole” in the city. Brazen yet conservative Annie with a ...more
Mar 05, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster starts with the eponymous Annie Aster opening her door, recently installed in her 1995 kitchen, and finding herself in an 1895 Kansas wheatfield. She promptly begins a pen-pal relationship with her spunky 1895 neighbor. As the story develops, Annie and her friend Christian begin to explore the history of the door, attempt to stop a murder, and find themselves dragged into a time-hopping adventure.

I really, really wish I could have liked this book. I’m sorry, L
Kelly Byrne
Aug 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: highly-recommend
I just finished this book about an hour ago, and I feel a bit scrambled in the heart and mind right now. I blame this wholly on Scott Wilbanks. His debut novel, this one here you’re reading about and trying to decide whether to pony up the cash to buy, is brilliant. I’ll give you some reasons why you absolutely must read it now.

The Language

It seems so often when I read contemporary works these days that writers have forgotten the poetry and flow of language. The grand and beautiful topography o
Aug 15, 2015 rated it liked it
Let me see, we have mystery, magic and mayhem. A setting in Kansas, a house that doesn't belong there and even a dog. Sounds like a book I would totally love...but I didn't.

I really liked parts of it and the characters, but, there were times when I felt that it was disjointed. I even re-read passages a few times because I thought I missed something. I think that if it was just tweaked a little more it would be a more stand-out book. Such a shame really, it has so much potential to be more that i
Talk Supe
Aug 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015
Beautiful and highly entertaining, The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster not only inspired me to be lemoncholy, it's also one of the best paradox novel I've read in a long time. Bravo Mr. W for writing a time travel piece that isn't boring and snobbish as its Sci-fi counterparts. ...more
Heather McCorkle
Mar 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely artful characters possessing an honesty and depth the likes of which can be hard to find, compelled me through a mesmerizing and magical plot. The writing is exquisite, reminiscent of how beautiful writing used to be before it was stripped bare by the modern novel, forming scenes that you fall right into and feel as though you are experiencing. With all the twists and threads it is one to take your time with and savor like a fine cup of complex coffee. Each character is developed to t ...more
Mar 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I had the privilege of reading an advance copy of this delightful story. Without posting spoilers, I will say that ANNIE ASTER has mystery, fantasy, time travel, and romance - my favorite kind of book. I couldn't put the book down and at the same time, I took my time reading because I didn't want it to end. In a skillfully woven tale, the author took me on a journey of twists and turns, surprises, and unpredictable events, often wondering along with Annie what would happen next. It was a great r ...more
K.L. Romo
May 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: wfwa-reading
Annabelle Aster, known as Annie, loves anything Victorian – vintage clothing, antique tea cups, hairstyles. She even lives in a Victorian house. Her best friend, Christian, loves her quirks and eccentricities, for he’s never fit society’s mold either. They seem to have been made for each other.

On May 17, 1995, Annie goes through her back door and is shocked to see a Kansas wheat field and cabin where her San Francisco neighborhood should have been. As she marches to the house to investigate, she
Jun 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
My interview with Scott Wilbanks can be found here!

This review can also be found here on my blog.

*I was fortunate to receive an eARC of this book via NetGalley and SOURCEBOOKS Landmark, thank you!*

It's happened again: I'm in love with a book. I laughed, I cried, I suffered a major book hangover, I tweeted Scott Wilbanks telling him how much I cried, and then I cried some more.

The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster is, unsurprisingly, about Annie Aster, a young woman who loves turn-of-the-century clo
Ian Snowdon
Apr 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
What a surprise to read this charming adventure. At first the characters seem quirky, even odd: Annie who dresses in Victorian clothes, Christian who finds it hard to speak without stuttering, and Elsbeth, a lonely old widow from a century ago.
But along with a group of other delightful characters, who travel through a mysterious door and try to solve a murder that may not yet have happened in the past, they come together and support each other against the calculating evil of Mr Culler and his bl
Eden Butler
Dec 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This was a fantastic debut and one that stuck with me for weeks afterward. I totally fell in love with Annie and Christian and all the colorful characters that make up Wilbanks' beautifully imagined world. Cannot wait for the next installment in Annie's journey! ...more
Zan Marie Steadham
Aug 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is a book for fans of Science Fiction, family sagas, women's fiction, and just plain good storytelling. Scott Wilbanks' debut is wonderful. ...more
Jul 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
I really wasn't expecting The Lemoncholy of Annie Aster to be as good as it was. I'd initially requested a review copy based on the gorgeous looking front cover, and intriguing title, but put it on the back burner to read later. However the publisher asked me if I'd like to take part in a 'book tour' for the title and I said that I would. I'm so glad the book leaped to the top of the list as I simply loved its charm and innocence from the outset.

The characterisation in The Lemoncholy of Annie As
Sep 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015-reads, netgalley
When you open a door you always expect it to lead you somewhere. When Annie opens her red door I was as surprised as Annie to discover exactly where this door led.

It was fate or happenstance or whatever name you may choose to use to explain Annie’s discovery of the red door in the antiquities shop. She saw it and knew this door absolutely had to be the new back door to her house. She had no way of knowing that she and this intricately carved door already had a history – but she was sure about to
Anne Pisacano
Nov 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Favorite book of the year so far!

Do you like a bit of a murder mystery? This book has it.
Do you like time travel? This book has it.
Do you like romance? This book has it.
Do you like suspense? This book has it.
Do you like quirky, loveable characters? This book has it in spades!

Is there anything Scott Wilbanks can't do? I think not.
Oct 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I picked this up on a whim at Chapters. So glad that I did! I loved it.
Sharon Browning
Dec 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
Annabelle “Annie” Aster is, by choice, a most singular young lady. Or, “a sincere woman in every particular” as she wrote of her hopeful self when she was 12 years old, in an attempt to mimic her favorite author, Jane Austen. By the time Annie was “twentysomething”- specifically, by May 17, 1995 – she is “undeniably lovely, a fragile beauty, possessing a face that looked as though it had been lifted from a cameo.” Still, it has to be mentioned that Annie is, well, a bit strange – but in a totall ...more
Jennie Shaw
Mar 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
From writing my own manuscripts and reviewing books, I learned early on that some authors are writers, while others are storytellers. And after reading the first page of Scott’s work, it was clear that he is the latter. His creation of a world that’s partly based in San Francisco during the mid-nineties and simultaneously in Kansas, a century earlier, flows seamlessly. As a literally-minded gal, I can get lost easily in complex plot, so adding a time-travel element could have been the kiss of de ...more
Apr 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
I received a copy from Netgalley for an honest review.

Sometimes, the sentence above means I force myself to struggle through a book I don't like, because I promised to write a review. Sometimes it means the opposite: those books are better than I could've imagined from a brief description and a picture on my pc. As you could guess from my star-rating, this book falls under the second group of books.

First of all, Annie is mostly the kind of woman I'd want to be when I'm grown up. She knows what s
Sep 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Annabelle Aster is kind of a woman-out-of-her-time. She may live in San Francisco in 1995 but she dresses in vintage clothes, takes tea and not just the drink but the whole British tea-time ritual, and she lives in a big aubergine (don’t call it purple) Victorian house. Then she installs a particularly ugly red door with interesting carvings on the back of her house and her whole life is transformed. When she walks through the door, instead of her garden, she discovers a small farmhouse amid a K ...more
Jun 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
There is an adventure waiting at every door!

Annabelle Aster doesn’t bow to convention—not even that of space and time—which makes the 1890s Kansas wheat field that has appeared in her modern-day San Francisco garden easy to accept. Even more peculiar is Elsbeth, the truculent schoolmarm who sends Annie letters through the mysterious brass mailbox perched on the picket fence that now divides their two worlds.

Annie and Elsbeth’s search for an explanation to the hiccup in the universe linking thei
Aug 24, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, reviews
This book is a wonderfully written, multilayered story. The characters are well developed and interesting. I enjoyed Mr. Wilbanks's writing style. The pace and construction kept me hooked so I didn't worry about when or how other aspects would come together. I did find myself flipping back at times to double check details because I got a little lost, but that didn't detract terribly from the overall story. I recommend this for some good fall reading; I think it's a fantastic read to curl up with ...more
Nov 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Great story that reminded me of pieces of several other very good books that I've read along the way, but still manages to hold its own. A few small issues in the plot (one seemingly unnecessary plot piece and one that was handled a bit awkwardly) that kept me from giving it a full five stars, but still a very good read. This one kept me up until 2am just so I could finish it. Cover to cover in one sitting. Obviously it did quite well at holding my attention. I look forward to reading his future ...more
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They say, “Write what you know.” Who ‘they’ may be still remains a mystery, but I took the advice to heart when I wrote a book about five misfits who found themselves walking a path I trod daily, seeking understanding in an indifferent world, but more on that later.

With my life constantly pushed and pulled by a pair of opposing bugaboos—ADD and drive—I surprised myself by graduating summa cum lau

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