The Lemon Grove by Helen Walsh
Release Date - June 2014
Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth
I knew the premise of The Lemon Grove going in. Jenn, the main character, and her husband Greg have been married for over a decade and Jenn sees the magic is waning. Regardless, they head off to a charming Majorca village for their annual vacation. This time, Greg's daughter is bringing her boyfriend, despite Greg's unease.
I admit, I was fooled here. Greg's daughter (Jenn's stepdaughter) is not as old as I was expecting. Emma is 15. They don't trust her to live alone when they head out to Majorca before her, they have her stay with her grandmother, yet it's okay if she brings a boyfriend on the trip and flies alone with him.
Would I let my 18-year-old daughter bring her boyfriend along on a family vacation? Yes. Would I have let her when she was 15? Never! Now, the characters are British, so there is a difference. At 15, British kids are finishing up school and can then progress to continuing education, but I stop and think of my cousins at that age, and all still were not in that kind of relationship until they were at least 17. I admit, even if this bias is unfair, I started disliking characters early on. Emma is spoiled and whiny. Greg is easily twisted around Emma's finger. Nathan is creepy. Jenn is just not enjoyable either.
This leads to the true plot of the story. Once Emma and her boyfriend arrive, he turns out to be a bit of a perv and definitely into Jenn. Jenn is fascinated with Nathan and begins to cross boundaries, all while trying to keep her attraction to Nathan from gaining the attention of Greg or Emma.
The setting of The Lemon Grove is gorgeous. The author captures Majorca beautifully. That's about where I found the book to be worthwhile. Jenn is late 30s, Nathan is 17, and the relationship between them repulsed me.
I've seen reviewers rave over this book. I really can't. Maybe it's the mother in me thinking that if my neighbor, who was Jenn's age when my son was 17, tried to seduce my son, I'd have her arrested. It's no different than if an almost-40-year-old man tried to seduce my daughter. I'd be in court pushing for castration!