If you were to judge this book by its cover, you wouldn't be blamed for thinking that you would be in for quite a romantic, atmospheric book. You would only be half right. It is certainy atmospheric, but there is nothing romantic about it. THE SCENT OF LEMON LEAVES definitely has atmosphere, but this atmosphere is a brooding one.
I won't go into the synopsis of the novel, that has been done already, what I will say is that this novel is very well written. All of the characters are well drawn; some are actually based on real people. Julian, especially, really touched me. I desperately wanted to protect him, but I also admired him for how he went about his task. This is one literary character who certainly has courage. So, although he is vulnerable due to his age and physical state, you are also able to see that he has strength; in fact, at times, I had to remind myself that he was an elderly man. Sandra is also vulnerable, but in very different ways. Her character is the complete opposite of Julian. She has a naivety to her, as she has never experienced the atrocities that Julian has. For the book to be so successful, it needs both of these characters to juxtapose each other.
THE SCENT OF LEMON LEAVES is a beautifully written book about memory, justice, revenge, retribution and love, to name a few. The central exploration of how, after performing so many atrocities in the past, can or should those same people then go on to live a 'normal' life, remains a relevant and intellectually stimulating debate. I would recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys literature with depth and soul.