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Novel set in Mallorca (a sexy time in Deià)

10th March 2014

The Lemon Grove: novel set in Mallorca.

Is this going to be one of the top, must-reads for Summer 2014? The reviews to date certainly rate it highly.

IMG_1095The Lemon Grove has the sultry setting of Deià to warm the reader’s heart, and the storyline certainly bowls along the winding country roads in this part of the island, with effortless prose. The pungent smells, the food, the sounds and images of the edgy countryside reverberated around my consciousness, a job very well done in terms of TripFiction! The author is clearly familiar with the setting and takes the reader’s hand very firmly in hers as she circumnavigates the lanes and hilly paths. The beaches, the cafes, the cicadas, the lapping waves (“white heads of the waves slamming into the cliff”…) and the lemon and olive groves in the background, cocoon the action, as it moves back and forth from the Villa Ana, where Jenn, Greg, Emma and Nathan are all staying. If you are familiar with Mallorca, then this book will absolutely transport you there, just for the purchase price!

A definite 5* rating for location. However the storyline, can, in part feel rather shaky. Greg and Jenn are a couple, holidaying with their 15 year old daughter and her new boyfriend Greg, who is a veritable cuckoo in this particular nest. As a family, they have come on holiday to Mallorca every year but this one turns out very differently. The relationship ‘fit’ of the two adults is never really explored, therefore it comes as something of a surprise when Jenn has an apparent mid life crisis and succumbs to overwhelming lust for the younger man (seemingly triggered when he sees her naked breasts on arrival). A right raunchy Mrs Robinson climbs out of her chrysalis. But perhaps such is life on this heady island. Sexy scenes ensue, there are quite a few dollops of mummy porn, peppered with phrases like she ‘feeds him into her core’ or the main character is described as feeling ‘woebegone’ (which took me straight into the realms of the less sexualised but nevertheless equally flirtatious characters of a Jane Austen novel).

Relationships change definition as the story progresses, and illicit activities serve to further undermine the increasingly disharmonious ambience of the household. It is fair to say that I read this novel over a 24 hour period, because it is gripping, you do want to know how it ends, but the characters and their relationships aren’t sufficiently fleshed out to carry the sometimes insouciant actions, the questionable parenting decisions (yes, we all say things in the heat of the moment but there is clearly an unexplored area around Motherhood in this book) and the relationship dynamics.

A small issue about style for me was the prolific use of personal pronouns and at times I had to do a bit of mental gymnastics to ascertain which character was in the spotlight at any given moment.

The jacket, however, with its lush setting and holiday feel will undoubtedly swing you in favour of purchase, when all is said and done. Buy it. It is billed as THE Summer Read of 2014. It totally evokes Deià. Make up your own minds and let us know!

Tina for the TripFiction Team

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