Saturday, June 29, 2013
The Lemon Orchard by Luanne Rice
This book starts really, really well. The opening chapter is likely to leave few parents dry eyed ....but I won't spoil it.
It's a tear-jerker; very over the top emotional in the Nicolas Sparks vein. And I like Sparks and have written about him. Women targeted, politically correct, it touches on a child's death and possible suicide, a lost immigrant girl (of 6...in the desert) and a romance between the two surviving parents. One, our heroine, Julia, married a lawyer and has a glamourous aunt and uncle pair (famous both...actress and writer). And her flame, Roberto, is a poor Mexican immigrant in charge of her aunt and uncle's Malibu estate and lemon orchard.
You either like this kind of book or you don't.
Add in an aging actor, a forest fire and a retired INS border agent and you can see where the story leads. I live locally so like the touches of Los Angeles and environs sprinkled in. I didn't like the politically correct angle...why can't we all just get along...thrown in. The latter detracted from the believability of the story. Prejudice does exist; writing about it can easily sound stereotyped and just as condescending.
But I really enjoyed this story. And I wanted our heroes to win in the end. To her credit, Rice skips some obvious ending plot turns and lets her characters suffer...which makes for a better book. She's also got a great visual sense.