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The Scent of Lemon Leaves Paperback – 21 Jun 2012


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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Alma Books Ltd (21 Jun. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846881854
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846881855
  • Product Dimensions: 21.1 x 13.5 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 917,422 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'Part thriller, part love story, and with beautifully evocative descriptions, this is a fascinating read - with a completely unexpected ending.' --We Love This Book magazine

'This is a wonderful novel... it hides the dark story of deceit and hidden secrets. The characters of Sandra and Julian are engaging and while we become absorbed in their plight and actions, we are left feeling satisfied at the unexpected ending... The book reads at a good pace and that is partly due to the excellent translation which also gives a believable sense of time and place. It is a book I shall remember for a long time.' --York Press

About the Author

Born in Guadalajara, Clara Sanchez is the author of eight novels including Ultimas noticias del paraiso (2000) which won the prestigious Alfaguara Prize in 2000. She is a newspaper columnist for top-selling Spanish newspaper El Pais and has been an occasional contributor for national television. Her books have all been translated in several languages.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By I Readalot TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 4 July 2012
Format: Paperback
`The Scent of Lemon Leaves' has already been a bestseller in Spain and Italy and in spite of her being considered to be one of Spain's most accomplished authors Clara Sanchez is an unknown quantity in the UK, hopefully this novel will redress the balance. The title has a romantic ring to it but don't let that fool you; this is not a lightweight tale of a woman's experiences on the Costa Brava.

The story is told in the voices of 2 characters Sandra and Julian. Sandra has reached a turning point in her life, she is 30, pregnant and unmarried and decides to take some time to sort out her life. She goes to stay in a village on the Costa Brava where she meets an old Norwegian couple, Karin and Frederik, on the beach and they become friends. Julian is a Nazi Hunter, now in his 80's and living at home in Argentina. A letter from a friend that he met in the Mauthausen concentration camp persuades him to travel to the Costa Brava. Sandra and Julian meet and Sandra discovers the true identities of her Norwegian friends, members of an organization known as `The Brotherhood'.

`The Scent of Lemon Leaves' is an exploration of history but it is also a compelling thriller with an unexpected ending. The characters are engaging and the descriptions beautifully evoke the area in which the novel is set. In fact the beauty of the area, like the title of the novel, provides a complete contrast to the darkness of the story which is all the more frightening when you know that much of the novel is based on fact.

I look forward to reading further translations of this authors work, hopefully there is already another one on its way.
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44 of 49 people found the following review helpful By June Doll TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 1 July 2012
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This novel was originally written in Spanish but has now been translated into English. It is well-written and the translation is skilful. It is an intriguing and thought-provoking merger of fact and fiction. The story is set in a Spanish Costa. There are two central characters and each tells their story in the first person, each person taking alternative chapters to speak. Firstly we have Sandra, a young Spanish woman. She has discovered she is pregnant and has come to stay in her sister's holiday home until she decides what she intends to do. She is immature, indecisive, feckless and has never had to take any responsibilty in her life so far. Secondly there is Julian, an elderly Spanish gentleman, now living in Argentina who returned to Spain to visit a friend of his, who unfortunately had died by the time Julian reached Spain. Julian and his deceased friend were survivors of a Nazi concentration camp and after the war both had dedicated their lives to tracking down Nazi war criminals and ensuring they were brought to justice. Julian's friend had written to him tellimg him that he had discovered a pair of Nazis - a husband and wife - living close to him in Spain. Although he is now 80 years old, Julian is determined to expose them.

Sandra becomes involved with the Nazi couple after they help her when she is taken ill on the beach. Completely unaware of their past, she thinks of them as the grandparents she doesn't have. Julian feels obliged to warn Sandra of the couple's true identity. To Sandra, the war and the Holocaust are ancient history and she doesn't know what to believe. However, she watches the couple closely and realises that Julian is right. She and Julian join forces to bring the couple to justice.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By freerangehips on 3 Oct. 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a good, thought provoking and entertaining read. Elderly concentration camp survivor and some time Nazi hunter Julian, and Sandra - a younger, commitment phobe who is coming to terms with her unplanned pregnancy - form an unlikely alliance in an attempt to flush out a group of Nazis who are living out their old age in the relaxed and luxurious atmosphere of the beaches, golf club and villas of one of Spain's holiday costas. Sandra is living in her sister's small holiday house to get away from the bustle of Madrid and await the birth of her baby but is unwittingly drawn into the social circle of these WW2 fugitives from justice after a chance meeting on the beach with an elderly couple. They seem caring and harmless, no different from the many other foreign nationals who retire to the area for a relaxing old age, but who exactly are they? She finds out when Julian arrives from Argentina, acting on information he has received from his friend Salva who had recently died in a local old people's care home. Just how much danger is Sandra getting into by allowing the old Norwegians to take her under their wing and become like surrogate grandparents to her? Could the kindly old couple really be Norwegian Nazis who had carried out medical atrocities on the concentration camp inmates? And what of the other elderly expats in the town?
Time is running out for Julian as he is old and frail but his quest to unmask these supposedly respectable people is the thing that keeps him going. Sandra's advancing pregnancy means that her time is limited, too - what will the future hold for her baby if she allows herself to be drawn further into this dangerous situation?
This novel is both a good page-turner (or Kindle-clicker!
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