The Lemon Grove

Helen Walsh. Doubleday, $24.95 (224p) ISBN 978-0-385-53853-4
From the start, English married couple Jenn and Greg expect their annual summer holiday to Majorca to be different this year, with their 15-year-old daughter, Emma, joining them along with her new boyfriend, 17-year-old Nathan. They don’t yet know, though, just how different things will be. Jenn, as the reader soon learns, is actually Emma’s stepmother, but she is also the only mother Emma has ever known. The close relationship between the two, however, is not enough to prevent the unexpected attraction Jenn feels for Nathan, which, apparently, is mutual. This novel from Walsh (Once Upon a Time in England) is driven by her awareness of the connection between lust and romantic love, natural beauty and artifice, and passion and regret. Equally compelling is the honesty with which Jenn confronts her own aging and the knotty emotions that this awareness triggers. Though Jenn’s preoccupation with Nathan is necessarily myopic, it’s unfortunate that the book doesn’t provide much sense of her before this reckless May-December romance. While some brief sketches of the family’s history are provided, the picture never becomes clear enough to fully illuminate Jenn’s compulsions. Agent: Deborah Schneider, Gelfman Schneider. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/19/2014
Release date: 06/03/2014
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-345-81396-1
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