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 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.

Score:  B+

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