The Unlikely Bookworm

Review: The Lemon Grove – Helen Walsh

The Lemon Grove

It’s a very rare occurrence that I read a book whose prose is quite so poetic, whose plot is quite so compelling, that the second I finish it I want to read it all over again. This happened with The Lemon Grove.

Written by Helen Walsh, whose controversial first novel Brass won the Betty Task Prize in 2005, The Lemon Grove is set on the rugged west coast of Mallorca, and will be published to a legion of fans in February 2014.

The novel takes place one hot summer in Deia, a small coastal village in Mallorca where forty-something Jenn and her husband Greg holiday each year. Having spent a week enjoying lazy afternoons by the villa’s pool, the dynamic is upset by the arrival of Jenn’s hormonal step-daughter Emma, and her sultry boyfriend Nathan.

As soon as they arrive there is a palpable frisson between Jenn and Nathan and the atmosphere is charged with passion, desire and obsession as the line between flirtation and liaison becomes dangerously blurred.

The mountainous Deia offers the perfect backdrop to this sultry, fast-paced tale about boundaries crossed, relationships jepordised and a family dynamic irrevocably changed. Beautifully written and hugely atmospheric, this is a rare gem of a novel whose tempting tones will stay with its reader long after the final page.

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