Sunday, July 7, 2013

The Lemon Orchard-Luanne Rice

The Lemon Orchard

Luanne Rice

Pamela Dorman Books/Viking, Jul 2 2013, $27.99

ISBN: 9780670025275

In 2007 in New England, sixteen year old Jenny drives while her dad Peter sits in the passenger seat. In another car are Jenny’s mom Priscilla and the family dog Bonnie Blue. Staying with the family is Priscilla’s aunt and uncle from California as he is a guest lecturer at Yale. Peter plans to move out of their home in Black Hall. Instead, an accident leaves Jenny and Peter dead.

Five years later, Julia still grieves her loss. Currently she resides with Bonnie Blue at the Malibu estate of her aunt and uncle while they are away. A migration anthologist, Julia is an expert on the Irish movement to America in the nineteenth century. She meets undocumented Mexican immigrant Roberto, who is the estate manager. They share in common the loss of a child as his daughter vanished during their illegal crossing. His efforts to find her while staying beneath the ICE radar have proven futile. Meanwhile Julia studies the underground Mexican migration and sees similar trends and patterns to that of the Irish; she also concludes Roberto’s child is alive.

The Lemon Orchard is a fascinating drama that combines a wonderful refreshing romance with a deep look at nationalities’ migratory movements; the comparative analysis between the Irish and Mexican migration over a century apart is incredibly interesting. Though there is some unnecessary padding to add tension, fans will enjoy the profound The Lemon Orchard.

Harriet Klausner

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