The Lemon Grove by Helen Walsh
Jenn loves her holidays with her husband, Greg to Deia in Mallorca, to the holiday home and surrounding villages they know so well. For the first time this vacation is going to be different though, her step-daughter Emma had begged and pleaded for her boyfriend to join them and they had eventually given in. Well, Jenn had given in and convinced Greg, a move she hoped would strengthen her and her step-daughter’s strained relationship. Although Jenn was the only mother Emma had known, neither of them could forget that their connection didn’t make it to blood. Emma with her sporadic use of the word ‘mum,’ put into play when useful and taken away to punish and Jenn with her regret of never having a child of her own.
When Emma and her boyfriend, Nathan arrive Jenn is fast asleep, topless on a sun lounger by the pool and Emma is humiliated. She waits for Nathan to leave before waking Jenn to take her revenge in brutal insults. When Jenn meets Nathan for the first time she’s shocked, she was expecting a boy but the chiselled body she sees is most definitely a mans. A flirtation passes between them and as Jenn tries to be polite she makes herself more and more nervous. She can’t help but watch him on the beach, make excuses to talk to him and even become jealous of her own step-daughter. Just when she thinks it’s all in her head, he makes a move…
Set in luscious surroundings, this story of obsession and lies draws you in slowly, setting out the dynamic of the family and then adding Nathan as a catalyst. You can understand why Jenn’s unhappy, reflecting on missed opportunities and feeling past her prime, only to have her step-daughter confirm her own negative feelings about herself. But you also can’t help but dislike her as she dismisses thoughts of harming her family and follows her own lust. As the tale darkens and Jenn and Nathan become closer you can’t help but predict a catastrophic ending but just when you think it’s all over the last few lines of the book pop in another twist to make a superb ending. Dark, sexy and claustrophobic The Lemon Tree is a great read.
Buy The Lemon Grove by Helen Walsh