Friday, August 16, 2013

The Grass Might not be Greener

So, if you had to lose your only child, would it be better if "lose" was a euphemism, or if you actually lost your child?  That question is central to The Lemon Orchard by Luanne Rice.  In The Lemon Orchard, Julia moves to Malibu to house sit for her aunt and uncle who own a lemon orchard.  Julia's life has been in turmoil since her daughter and husband died in a car crash 5 years earlier, and she is ready for a change.  In the orchard, Julia meets Roberto, who was separated from his daughter in the desert when he was trying to illegally cross into the US from Mexico.

Although Julia has to live every day knowing that her daughter has died, she doesn't envy Roberto's uncertainty.  Anything could have happened to his daughter, Rosa.  She could have been abducted by a sex trafficker, she could have been eaten by coyotes, or she could have made it safely to the US, but not known how to find Roberto.  Julia is very sympathetic to the plight of illegal immigrants, and wants to help Roberto find out what happened.

The Lemon Orchard was a page turner, and a great summer book.  I hadn't read anything about Mexican immigrants before, and I enjoyed this introduction.  I would think that anyone who liked Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah would like this book as well. 

I read The Lemon Orchard at the request of Lindsay Prevette of Viking/Penguin books.  No promises were made, no payments were received.  One odd coincidence was that there was a character in this book named "Lion", and a character with the same name in the last book that I reviewed on request, My Education by Susan Choi.  According to the Social Security Baby Name Index, Lion has not made their list of the top 1000 baby names any time in the last 100 years, so it's sort of strange that I've read two books with characters by that name in the last two months.  I'm not sure what book I will read as my "industry requested review" in September, but if there is another Lion, I'll take that as a sign.  Of what, I have no idea.

Next Up:  At Last by Edward St. Aubyn

Still Listening to:  The Three Weissmanns of Westport by Cathleen Schein.  I'm not sure I'm going to make it through this one - hopefully it will improve quickly!

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