Tag Archives: Helen Walsh

The Lemon Grove – Helen Walsh

  • TLGTitle: The Lemon Grove
  • Author: Helen Walsh
  • ISBN 0345813960 (ISBN13: 9780345813961)
  • Series: Stand Alone
  • Published: February 25th 2014 by Random House Canada
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Genre/s: Literary Fiction
  • Print Length: 288 pages
  • Source: Publisher
  • Rating: B-

The Lemon Grove was a sultry, decadent read that immediately put me in mind of indulgence of all manner. Despite the excellent writing and exquisite descriptions I found I had trouble empathising with Jenn’s character.

Taking place over the course of one week, The Lemon Grove lands in the heat of Deia, a village on an island off the southeast coast of Spain. Jenn and Greg are on their annual holiday to enjoy languorous, close afternoons by the pool, and relaxed dinners overlooking the rocks. But the equilibrium is upset by the arrival of their teenage daughter, Emma, and her boyfriend, Nathan. Jenn, in her early forties, loves her (older) husband and her (step)daughter and is content with her life, she thinks. But when this beautiful, reckless young man comes into her world, she is caught by a sexual compulsion that she’s seldom felt before. As the lines hotly blur between attraction, desire and obsession, Jenn’s world is thrown into tumult-by Nathan’s side, she could be young and carefree once again, and at this stage in her life, the promise of youth is every bit as seductive as the promise of passion.

For all intents and purposes Jenn is happily married, she and her husband Greg have visited Deia many times. What sets this visit apart is the impending arrival of their fifteen year old daughter with her boyfriend. While this occurrence is not in and of itself so very unusual, doing so at the relatively young age of fifteen did give me pause particularly with a boy they have not met before. Emma pleaded and cajoled Jenn into encouraging Greg to allow her to bring her new older boyfriend along. As a parent I am familiar with the “playing both ends against the middle tactic”, what was more discordant was the depiction of this mother daughter relationship. Jenn married Emma’s widowed father when she was just a toddler making Jenn the only mother Emma would have ever known. However, Emma and Jenn’s actions throughout the novel were more characteristic of a more traditional antagonistic step-parent child relationship with that largely unspoken division of “you’re not my real parent”, where the biological parent is still living or at least has lived long enough to act as a parent to the child in question. Emma’s mother died when she was still in infancy and Jenn’s work as a care giver should have made her a natural adoptive mother to Emma. This not the case though, Jenn allows Emma and Greg both to exclude her from their relationship instead of demanding her parental rights.

Nathan’s arrival highlights Jenn’s largely unrecognized mid-life crisis and she is painfully susceptible to his machinations. Jenn seems to view Emma more as a rival rather than feeling guilt for her actions, if not in undermining her daughter then I would think out of loyalty toward her husband. Perhaps I am idealizing the relationship between parent and child and while I acknowledge that rivalry does exist between some mothers and daughters. Jenn’s almost complete disregard of Emma’s feelings seemed particularly out of keeping even considering they were not in fact blood relations. Nathan’s singular appeal also escaped me beyond his physical beauty, which seemed not to be compelling enough for Jenn’s to take the risks that she does.

Ultimately, while I question the veracity of Jenn’s actions particularly her lack of empathy or really even remorse The Lemon Grove is a quick, compelling read that made me heartily wish for a pitcher of Sangria, Mediterranean food and the opportunity to sunbathe.

HWHelen Walsh was born in Warrington in 1977 and moved to Barcelona at the age of sixteen. Working as a fixer in the red light district, she saved enough money to put herself through language school. Burnt out and broke, she returned to England a year later and now works with socially excluded teenagers in North Liverpool.

Disclaimer: ARC was kindly provided by the publisher for an honest review.

 

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Still Waters – Spring Preview

shining“He would write it for the reason he felt that all great literature, fiction and nonfiction, was written: truth comes out, in the end it always comes out. He would write it because he felt he had to.”
Stephen King, The Shining    

 

Perhaps I am dating myself, but is there anyone who doesn’t recognize that iconic image of Jack Nicholson playing the part of Jack Torrance from Stephen King’s classic novel The Shining? I felt that it was particularly fitting given my excitement about upcoming posts. Despite the relative quiet recently, due to some unfortunate personal scheduling conflicts, there is a great deal to look forward to in the coming weeks. For a sampling read on!

Book Talk & Interview – Alena Graedon

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I recently had the great pleasure of speaking with Alena Graedon, author of The Word Exchange. A truly disturbing dystopian thriller featuring a daughter’s search for her father, which may or may not be tied to an insidious virus attacking technology and persons alike.

Author Feature & Retrospective  Simone St. James

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Having just finished her most recent work Silence for the Dead, I can state unequivocally that Simone St. James never disappoints. In fact, she just gets better and better, if you haven’t read her yet, don’t hesitate, just buy them all…but be prepared to sleep with the lights on afterward!

GUEST POSTElise de Sallier, author of Innocence will be writing about her follow up Protection.

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PROTECTION (A Forbidden Love, Book Two) – In the much awaited conclusion to Innocence, (A Forbidden Love, Book One) Nathaniel, the Marquis of Marsden, is left reeling at the revelation of Lisa’s royal heritage. Keeping her safe has always been his priority, and he is determined to protect her . . . from the King’s machinations, their enemies, and her own overly generous nature if necessary.

BLOG TOUR & GIVEAWAY – Just One Night by Lauren Layne

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UPCOMING REVIEWS

The Deepest Secret by Carla Buckley – Eve Lattimore’s family is like every other on their suburban street, with one exception. Her son Tyler has a rare medical condition that makes him fatally sensitive to light, which means heavy curtains and deadlocked doors protect him during the day and he can never leave the house except at night. For Eve, only constant vigilance stands between an increasingly restless teenage son and the dangers of the outside world.

Until the night the unthinkable happens. When tragedy strikes, it becomes clear that this family is not the only one on the quiet cul-de-sac that is more complicated than it appears. And as Eve is forced to shield her family from harm, there are some crises she cannot control—and some secrets that not even love can conceal.

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Exactly Where They’d Fall by Laura Rae Amos – With vivid characters, generous doses of humor, and palpable emotion, Exactly Where They’d Fall is a story about three friends forced to explore the complicated and fragile bonds of friendship and love. Fans of heartfelt, witty literary fiction, and smart women’s fiction will enjoy this charming and honest debut.

GSGolden State by Michelle Richmond – Doctor Julie Walker has just signed her divorce papers when she receives news that her younger sister, Heather, has gone into labor. Though theirs is a strained relationship, Julie sets out for the hospital to be at her sister’s side—no easy task since the streets of San Francisco are filled with commotion. Today is also the day that Julie will find herself at the epicenter of a violent standoff in which she is forced to examine both the promising and painful parts of her past—her Southern childhood; her romance with her husband, Tom; her estrangement from Heather; and the shattering incident that led to her greatest heartbreak.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black – The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is a wholly original story of rage and revenge, of guilt and horror, and of love and loathing from bestselling and acclaimed author Holly Black.

Tana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is, once you pass through Coldtown’s gates, you can never leave.

 

The Sum of All Kisses by Julia Quinn – Sarah Pleinsworth can’t forgive Hugh Prentice for the duel he fought three years ago that nearly destroyed her family, sent her cousin fleeing, and left Hugh himself with a badly injured leg. That’s fine with Hugh, who can’t tolerate Sarah’s dramatic ways. But when the two are forced to spend a week together, they find that unexpected kisses, and mutual passion, may have the power to change both of their minds.

Written with Julia Quinn’s trademark style, The Sum of All Kisses is a witty and lighthearted Regency romance.

Sea of Shadows

Sea of Shadows by Kelley Armstrong –  In the Forest of the Dead, where the empire’s worst criminals are exiled, twin sisters Moria and Ashyn are charged with a dangerous task. For they are the Keeper and the Seeker, and each year they must quiet the enraged souls of the damned.
Only this year, the souls will not be quieted.

Ambushed and separated by an ancient evil, the sisters’ journey to find each other sends them far from the only home they’ve ever known. Accompanied by a stubborn imperial guard and a dashing condemned thief, the girls cross a once-empty wasteland, now filled with reawakened monsters of legend, as they travel to warn the emperor. But a terrible secret awaits them at court–one that will alter the balance of their world forever.

The Lemon Grove by Helen Walsh – Set on the rugged, mountainous west coast of Mallorca, this taut, sultry, brilliantly paced novel is an urgent meditation on female desire, the vicissitudes of marriage and the allure of youth.

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The Here and Now by Ann Brashares An unforgettable epic romantic thriller about a girl from the future who might be able to save the world . . . if she lets go of the one thing she’s found to hold on to.

Last but not least

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