- Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books
- Format: Hardback | 286 pages
- Dimensions: 157mm x 231mm x 28mm | 499g
- Publication date: 2 July 2013
- Publication City/Country: New York
- ISBN 10: 0670025275
- ISBN 13: 9780670025275
- Sales rank: 940,604
From bestselling author Luanne Rice--a captivating and sexy novel of love, both enduring and unexpected Year after year, Luanne Rice's fans eagerly await her next book. Their enthusiasm is soon to be rewarded with "The Lemon Orchard," Rice's romantic new love story between two people from seemingly different worlds. 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.
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Luanne Rice is the author of thirty-one novels including "Little Night" and "The Silver Boat." A native of Connecticut, she divides her time between New York City and Southern California.
By Julie Smith 29 Jun 2013
A lightning-fast read, The Lemon Orchard is a perfect summer title.
The book opens with a heart-breaking tragedy. Five years later, our protagonist Julia is house-sitting for her aunt and uncle who own a lemon orchard in Malibu, California.
Roberto is an illegal immigrant who oversees the orchard. Raised by his grandmother in Mexico, he crossed the border to provide a better life for his daughter, but in crossing, his young daughter Rosa was lost.
There are quite a few great secondary characters as well.
Lion Cushing is a 75-year-old retired actor who still nourishes a flame for Julia's Aunt Graciela. He is sort of a surrogate uncle to Julia.
Jack Leary is a former Border Patrol agent who has a heart of gold.
As Julia and Roberto become friends and maybe more, the reader is drawn into the tragedies that occur during border crossings - the dangerous "coyotes" who charge a lot of money for increasingly dangerous crossings, the fact that about 1/2 of those attempting to cross die in the 120-degree heat of the desert before they even reach the border, the heartlessness of some of the border patrol agents. We also read about those who attempt to help by supplying water stations and attempting to reunite those who died or were lost with their family members.
This was a sweet, kind of sad, read - my first (gasp!) by Luanne Rice. I can see how she has gained such a loyal following.
Every place in the world owed its identity to the people who had moved there from somewhere else.
"I'd seen the bodies in the desert, and I knew there had to be a way to match them with their families. So I joined up with other anthropologists working on similar projects in Texas and Arizona."
Roberto wanted to tell him. He was bursting, but he knew to keep it inside. His father would warn or belittle him, tell him to stay away from Julia, did he want to lose his job, what i something went wrong and she told her uncle?
Writing: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Plot: 4 out of 5 stars
Characters: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Reading Immersion: 3.5 out 5 stars
BOOK RATING: 3.6 out of 5 stars
Sensitive Reader: A couple of brief, not graphic, sex scenes.
Book Club Recommendation: I give this a solid maybe. I think the best books for a book club are those that stimulate discussion and various opinions. There's a sweet romance here, but I think the discussion issues would likely center around illegal immigration.
Praise for THE LEMON ORCHARD "Entrancing." --"People "(***) "Rice here takes her signature themes of family and loss into the difficult and enigmatic landscape of illegal immigration to powerful effect . . . . An engaging and texturizing Southern California backdrop also subtly spotlights the struggle of land development and the environment as well as the fairy-tale atmosphere of Hollywood, and the book seamlessly includes details and plot points that both ground and enrich the story through its setting. Lovely and compelling, with quiet yet brave social commentary that enhances the book's impact." --"Kirkus" "Trust Rice ("Little Night", 2012), known for fiction that explores the power of family, to find the humanity in illegal immigration, a topic too often relegated to rhetoric and statistics. . . . An unexpected plot turn will leave readers begging for a sequel." --"Booklist" "Rice's fans will appreciate the evocative setting and unconventional romance, as well as the harrowing . . . depictions of border crossing and the fascinating parallels drawn between Julia's research interests (she studies the Irish who arrived in America over a century ago) and modern-day Mexican immigrants." --"Publishers Weekly"