Tuesday, 11 August 2020

Guest Review: My Lemon Grove Summer by Jo Thomas

Could the lemon groves of Sicily be the perfect place to start over? The irresistible new novel from Jo Thomas, the author of Sunset Over the Cherry Orchard, will transport you to the island of mountains and sparkling blue seas.
When life hands you lemons ... is it ever too late for a second chance?
Zelda's impulsive nature has got her precisely nowhere up until now. A fresh start in a beautiful hilltop town in Sicily looking for new residents, together with her best friend Lennie, could be just what she needs. And who better to settle down with than the person who knows her best?
But the sun-filled skies and sparkling seas can't hide the shadow hanging over Citta d'Ora, which means not everyone is pleased to see their arrival. The dreams Zelda and her fellow new residents had of setting up a new life might be slipping away. But a friendship with restauranteur Luca could be about to unlock the possibilities that lie in the local lemon groves. And there's a wedding on the horizon that might be just what the town needs to turn it around...
Could a summer in Sicily help Zelda learn to trust her instinct and follow her heart?




Review: Although I had not previously read anything by Jo Thomas, I chanced upon a new book from her last year, and have since been reading some of her earlier works. I can honestly say that I have devoured each one of them and looked forward to the next. All of her books that I have read so far have wonderful settings, amazing characters and some delicious food. My Lemon Grove Summer is no exception, set as it is in sunny Sicily among the lemon groves. The book has a wonderful cover, promising a visit to a marvellous sunny island.

The story revolves around Zelda, who is persuaded by best friend Lennie to join a scheme whereby couples and families are invited to settle in the once prosperous Sicilian hilltop village of Citta d’Ora, subsidised rents and travel expenses included. Pretending to be a couple, and hoping for a new start, they set off, but all is not as promised when they arrive at their destination. They, as well as some other couples, find that their accommodation is not ready and that local people are openly hostile towards them. Although the area has once been a wonderful source of lemons, the groves are now untended. The newcomers eventually decide to stick it out and look for ways to make a living with the help of young local restaurant owner Luca, who can see the benefits of these newcomers settling in the village. Zelda soon finds herself drawn towards Luca, and her feelings seem reciprocated. However, she is supposed to be marrying Lennie and superstitious locals are hoping that the happy event may see an upturn in the village’s fortunes. How can this be resolved to everyone’s satisfaction?

This was a lovely story which I would highly recommend. The idea of leaving everything behind and making a fresh start in such an appealing location sounds marvellous, but these poor people had everything against them - a real uphill struggle. I loved the way in which they set to and were determined to make a go of things in spite of the reception they received initially from all but a few of the local residents. There was a great sense of camaraderie. The story is full of sunshine and, of course, marvellous food; there are even a few recipes at the end. I think the message here is: when life gives you lemons, make limoncello!


To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US

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