The Lemon Orchard is a beautifully written book with a touch of mystery and a touch of romance.
There are basically two stories here— the romance between Julia and Roberto and the mystery surrounding what happened to Rosa.
The romance bloomed due to Roberto and Julia both losing their daughters five years before–Julia’s daughter, Jenny, to death–a possible suicide–and Roberto’s daughter, Rosa, being literally lost in the desert as they tried to reach the US. This creates a bond that surpasses the differences in their backgrounds. Julia is the niece of Roberto’s boss and she’s housesitting while her aunt and uncle are in Ireland.
The strongest part of the story is the mystery about what happened to Rosa. The detail Ms. Rice goes into and the research she has done on illegal border crossing is evident.
The character development is beautifully done– not only the main characters but the secondary characters as well–even the ones that are not present such as Julia’s aunt and uncle. I would love to read their story. I would also like to see more of Jack Leary, the retired border control officer who plays such a large role in solving the mystery of Rosa’s disappearance.
Told in first person from Julia’s perspective and in third person from other characters’ perspectives, The Lemon Orchard is an easy book to read and get involved in.
Editor's note: This article was originally published at Long and Short Reviews. It has been republished with permission. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.