Two of my favorite things in the world are craft beer and books. On the last Thursday of every month I pair a women’s fiction novel I love with the perfect pint to sip while reading it, under the theory that there is a perfect beer to compliment every book.
Kristin Contino’s debut, The Legacy of Us, is really three books in one. Seriously, as a writer, I have no idea how she did it. As a reader, it’s the best thing ever, because three stories about love and forgiveness and strength– so much better one.
The novel opens with Liz discovering that her grandmother, Ella has passed away. In her will, Ella leaves Liz an old desk, in which she discovers a locket with a mysterious marriage proposal inside and an old diary. Liz traces the origin of the necklace through her grandmother’s diary entries, to her great-grandmother circa 1905, in Florence, Italy. (Think ball gowns and elaborate dinner parties and general Gatsby-esque opulence.) While delving into the past, Liz simultaneously navigates her own rocky love life and late-twenties discontent. Contino expertly weaves these stories together, and somehow seamlessly navigates mixed first and third person narratives (insert total writer jealousy here).
I’m pairing this book with a Kronenbourg Blanc. It’s French, not Italian, but it’s light and well-carbonated, almost like a nice sparkling wine. This makes it feel as fancy as the Florence scenes in The Legacy of Us. Also, it has history; the Kronenburg brewery opened in 1664. A story that artfully spans generations deserves a beer that does the same.