The Lemon Orchard by Luanne Rice is a recent fictional novel about a woman named Julia whose teenage daughter committed suicide 5 years earlier. When Julia goes to Malibu to house sit for her uncle, she meets an illegal Mexican man with a similar tragedy who manages the lemon orchard. Five years earlier, he lost his young daughter while trying to cross the desert from Mexico into the U.S.
This is a summer romance novel/mystery. I didn’t buy the fiery romance between the Julia and Roberto, the illegal immigrant manager of her uncle’s lemon orchard. Grief does draw people together in strange ways, but something about this pairing didn’t sit right with me. The romance was hot and heavy too fast for my liking between people from vastly different worlds. It wasn’t prejudice, just realism on my part.
The story shifts from one character to another in the book. At times, I found it tedious. The story ends on a bittersweet note. I wish I would have found it more enjoyable.