The Lemon Orchard
by Luanne Rice
Why did you choose this book? I saw it on the new book shelf and recognized the author
When did you read this book? Aug 2013
Who should read this book? fans Luanne Rice
In the five years since Julia last visited her aunt and uncle’s home in Malibu, her life has been turned upside down by her daughter’s death. She expects to find nothing more than peace and solitude as she house-sits with only her dog, Bonnie, for company. But she finds herself drawn to the handsome man who oversees the lemon orchard. Roberto expertly tends the trees, using the money to support his extended Mexican family. What connection could these two people share? The answer comes as Roberto reveals the heartbreaking story of his own loss—a pain Julia knows all too well, but for one striking difference: Roberto’s daughter was lost but never 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.
I have read many books by Luanne Rice and enjoyed almost all of them, however the last one I read, The Silver Boat, was a disappointment to me. So I was hesitant when I saw this sitting on the shelf. But it had a pretty cover, and I had recently read a favorable review from another blogger, so I decided to take a chance with it.
This one got off to a slow start for me, but it didn’t take too long before I was into the story and wanting to know what happened! Julia is still in recovery after losing her daughter and husband in an accident five years ago. She is invited to California to house sit while her aunt and uncle are on an extended visit to Ireland. While there, she meets Roberto, an undocumented Mexican who oversees the lemon orchards on Julia’s uncle’s property.
Roberto also is grieving a loss. He llost his young daughter, Rosa, when they were separated on their journey across the border into the United States. Even though this occurred several years ago, he still has not given up hope that he will see her again. Julia and Roberto become close as they bond over their common grieving.
The story has a happy but bittersweet ending and I wish it could have ended differently, but I’m not sure that could have worked. I can’t say much else without giving a lot of spoilers. I can say I wish there would have been a little more to the end; enough to let us know what happened to the characters in the future. I so appreciate when an author writes an epilogue! I have questions, but I can’t tell you what they are! One thing the book does is present an alternate point of view to the issue of undocumented workers, aka illegal aliens. I’m not sure it will change minds, but it wil definitely give you something to think about. That is especially if you are like me; in the middle of the country far from any borders and not likely to run into illegal aliens/undocumented workers on an every day basis. This would be a great book to discuss, making it a perfect selection for a book club!
My Rating: ★★★1/2 3-1/2 Stars