- Book: The Orange Grove
- Location: Seville
- Author: Rosanna Ley
Seville: “It’s a beautiful city. It’s warm , sunny and has a wonderful sense of history”
I have pretty much ‘been’ to Seville these last couple of days, enjoying a short trip with Holly and her mum, Ella, as they travel around the city looking for goods to stock in Holly’s new shop “Bitter Orange”.
Oranges have always been a delight for Holly and now she is determined to make a go of her shop. How inspired is that? A shop that stocks all things oranges in Bridport in West Dorset from marmalade to cake, and cosmetics to wine and liqueurs; I can only imagine what a treat for the eyes and the olfactory senses that such a shop would be (has anyone actually done it, is there such a shop in the UK?)
As the novel opens, Holly is baking an Orange and Almond cake, a family recipe it seems but how it came to be part of her family’s traditions, she doesn’t know. Yet. Now in 2018 mother and daughter head off to beautiful Seville and take in the sights and the detail of description and atmosphere is wonderfully transportive. The neroli oil (the essential oil produced from the bitter oranges which grow in Seville) just seeps and flows through the pages of the novel..
Mum Ella is clearly anxious and it becomes apparent that she has secrets from a trip she took with her husband (and Holly’s father) back in 1988. Secrets both at home and in Seville start to unfurl and tensions start to ride high.
There are so many wonderful elements and lovely layers sewn and into this novel, but of course one of the real stars is the city. The experience of seeing flamenco is summed up in the feeling of ‘duende’, a heightened sense of emotion (very simply put) that goes hand in hand with this dance form. Ella, in fact, is described as recently having read a novel that was set in Seville and it had contained a passage about flamenco that had given her goosebumps (that’s a fabulous example of #literarytourism, isn’t it?)!
The orange and its blossom assault the senses as the two women negotiate their business terms with various enterprises dotted around the city. They pass Papelería Ferrer in Calle Serpies (definitely worth a visit for anyone descending on the city) and with a great history as it dates from 1856. This is a novel you need to read if you are heading to Seville, it’s a great way to feel inspired by the city through the eyes of this creative author.