Every now and again, my social media and bookworm feeds go crazy for a particular book. The book not only gets glowing reviews but such relentless hype, that it becomes a necessity that I investigate further.
When it comes to books, I like to do my own thing and not necessarily follow the crowd, but at the same time I hate the idea of missing out on the next big read. It happened with Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn early last year, and then a little later I jumped on The Humans by Matt Haig bandwagon.
Whether it’s the work of an amazing publicist, the merit of the story itself or a winning combination of both, sometimes a book can infiltrate your world to the point where not seeing what the fuss is about is just plain rude!
The Lemon Grove is one such book that I hadn't really thought of to read, but with relentless shout outs and mentions, I couldn't take any more and got myself a copy. Jenn and her husband Greg have travelled to Deia, Mallorca, where they go every summer to get away from the trials and tribulations of everyday life. But this year things are different. Jenn’s teenage step-daughter Emma is coming and she brings her boyfriend Nathan with her.
At first Jenn takes him for a sullen, brooding teenage, but as Nathan is introduced properly into their little holiday bubble, she finds herself at close quarters with dark and desirable young man. With tensions running between herself and her husband and at almost constant odds with Emma, Jenn is drawn to the mysterious man that promises youth and reckless abandon.
The familiar equilibrium of their family holiday is shattered, as Jenn struggles between the new dark feelings towards Nathan and old feelings of inadequacy of a husband stuck in his ways and a step-daughter who will never truly be hers. The Lemon Grove was a truly unexpected delight for me and I was quite surprised in the direction the storyline took.
Helen Walsh doesn’t shy away from controversial subjects. The forbidden passions as well as the family strains are built up so subtly and intensely, that you become hooked. The Lemon Grove is wonderfully descriptive of the setting with simple characters facing intense issues.
A sexy, slow sizzler of a story, The Lemon Grove is a great example of a summer read; a novel full of heat and intrigue, perfect for a beach chill out or warm evening thrill.