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The Lemon Groveby Helen Walsh
Synopses & Reviews
Helen Walsh was born in Warrington, England, in 1976. Her second novel, Once Upon a Time in England, was the winner of a Somerset Maugham Award. She now lives in Liverpool.
"From the start, English married couple Jenn and Greg expect their annual summer holiday to Majorca to be different this year, with their 15-year-old daughter, Emma, joining them along with her new boyfriend, 17-year-old Nathan. They don't yet know, though, just how different things will be. Jenn, as the reader soon learns, is actually Emma's stepmother, but she is also the only mother Emma has ever known. The close relationship between the two, however, is not enough to prevent the unexpected attraction Jenn feels for Nathan, which, apparently, is mutual. This novel from Walsh (Once Upon a Time in England) is driven by her awareness of the connection between lust and romantic love, natural beauty and artifice, and passion and regret. Equally compelling is the honesty with which Jenn confronts her own aging and the knotty emotions that this awareness triggers. Though Jenn's preoccupation with Nathan is necessarily myopic, it's unfortunate that the book doesn't provide much sense of her before this reckless May-December romance. While some brief sketches of the family's history are provided, the picture never becomes clear enough to fully illuminate Jenn's compulsions. Agent: Deborah Schneider, Gelfman Schneider. (July) " Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
A highly charged, sultry, beautifully written and compulsive one-sit read, The Lemon Grove is an intense novel about obsession and sex—the perfect summer book.
Jenn and Greg have been married for fourteen years, and, as the book opens, they are enjoying the last week of their annual summer holiday in Deia, a village in Majorca off the coast of southern Spain. Their days are languorous, the time passing by in a haze of rioja-soaked lunches, hours at the beach, and lazy afternoon sex in their beautiful villa. It is the perfect summer idyll . . . until Greg's teenage daughter (Jenn's stepdaughter), Emma, arrives with her new boyfriend, Nathan, in tow.
What follows, over the course of seven days, is a brilliantly paced fever dream of attraction between Jenn and the reckless yet mesmerizing Nathan. It is an intense pas de deux of push and pull, risk and consequence . . . and moral rectitude, as it gets harder and harder for Jenn to stifle her compulsion.
This is a very smart novel about many things: the loss of youth, female sexuality, the lure of May/December temptation, the vicissitudes of marriage and the politics of other people's children. It is simultaneously sexy and substantive, and Helen Walsh's masterful, even-handed tone can't help but force the reader to wonder: "What would I have done?"
Beautifully written with the tension of a rubber band just about to snap, The Lemon Grove is a book that will have people talking all summer long.
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