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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A sizzler of a book
This book has received very mixed reviews, I expect because of the fairly distasteful story and the thoroughly unlikeable characters. Having said that, I enjoyed reading it.

Jenn and her husband, Greg, holiday every year in a villa in Deia, Mallorca. This year is different though. They've gone at the height of the season and are to be joined for the second...
Published 27 days ago by Nicola

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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Uncomfortable reading
Helen Walsh is an author who certainly doesn't shy away from difficult subjects. I thoroughly enjoyed her previous novels, Once Upon A Time in England and, in particular, Go To Sleep, but unfortunately this one didn't engage me in quite the same way.

Jenn is enjoying her annual holiday in Spain with her nice but rather dull husband Greg. They're awaiting the...
Published 5 months ago by Denise4891


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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Uncomfortable reading, 23 Mar 2014
By 
Denise4891 (Cheshire) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Lemon Grove (Hardcover)
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Helen Walsh is an author who certainly doesn't shy away from difficult subjects. I thoroughly enjoyed her previous novels, Once Upon A Time in England and, in particular, Go To Sleep, but unfortunately this one didn't engage me in quite the same way.

Jenn is enjoying her annual holiday in Spain with her nice but rather dull husband Greg. They're awaiting the arrival of their 15 year old daughter (actually Jenn's stepdaughter) Emma and her new boyfriend Nathan. When the young couple arrive Jenn is immediately overwhelmed by her strong feelings for Nathan, and from then on we just know it's not going to end well!

What follows makes for uncomfortable reading at times as Jenn embarks journey of sexual discovery with her young and very eager new lover. It's pretty graphic, but I can't say I found it particularly sexy. I think in Walsh's previous novels I've found something in the characters with which I could identify, or at least understand. My difficulty here was that I didn't like any of them (not that that's essential in a novel) and just found their actions frustrating and annoying.

I did wonder whether I would have enjoyed the book more if I'd read it over a hot summer holiday (rather than a damp March commute) - the steamy, oppressive atmosphere is certainly well conveyed. Overall a disappointment then, but based on her back catalogue this slight blip certainly won't deter me from reading more from this author in future.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars not lemonade..., 13 April 2014
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This review is from: The Lemon Grove (Kindle Edition)
I wanted to enjoy this book more than I did. Walsh's beautifully evocative descriptions of Mallorca immersed me in the sights, sounds, scents and flavours of a Mediterranean holiday. The relationships were exquisitely painful, each encounter slicing and drawing blood like a sharp knife. The unpredictable undercurrents of danger were ever present and perfectly played to maximum effect. I should have loved it, but the end. I just didn't like the characters enough to care what happened to any of them. Their deceit (and self deception) and their selfishness - without any real redeeming features- just left me cold. To really love a book, I need some level of emotional engagement with key characters,; I didn't have that so the book didn't quite do it for me.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Give it a miss, 22 July 2014
This review is from: The Lemon Grove (Paperback)
I was seduced into buying this book by the wonderful cover picture, the title and the synopsis. Unfortunately, although I stuck with it, I was very disappointed. I didn't particularly like any of the characters. I didn't feel it was well-written; it didn't flow all that well and at times I was rather confused - not knowing how many days had passed, or when one day had ended and another had begun. I thought "he" and "she" were a bit over-used, and occasionally I was left wondering who exactly the author was talking about. Did not like the language used - it seemed to come from nowhere (pardon the pun); none of the characters really swore so couldn't imagine why the author had decided to include such graphic words. Thought the whole thing was a bit unbelievable. However, I did like the very end. Such a pity the rest of the book wasn't as good as the final three pages.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Women's literary fiction meets bonkbuster, 30 July 2014
By 
Love Books "Jessie" (Durham, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Lemon Grove (Hardcover)
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This is a tough review to write! I loved this book but at the same time it annoyed me no end. It's part women's literary fiction, part bonkbuster. I've read the reviews in the upmarket newspapers and no, it's not the literary masterpiece they say it is. It has a female protagonist who is utterly convincing, and a male who is even less real than Christian Gray. Arrgghh!!!

Firstly what I liked: The descriptions of Mallorca, its restaurants, its beaches, its countryside, its holiday villas. They are utterly convincing, compelling, beautiful. I was there, by the pool, I was sweltering in the car, I was wondering through the market and the monastry.

I also thought Jenn was brilliantly drawn. I believed in her and her relationship with her nice, but dull husband. She drove me mad but she made me laugh - at least for the first three quarters of the book.

What I didn't like: Nathan, the 17 year old boyfriend of Jenn's stepdaughter. For most of the book he behaved like somebody far, far older. And if he's just 17, surely Jenn should be regarding him as a child. He is far too sexually confident and accomplished for someone his age, did not believe in him, or in their 'relationship' for a single nanosecond. Didn't Jenn have a duty of care towards him? She showed not one jot of concern towards him.

Ditto her 'relationship' with her stepdaughter. Although some aspects, such as the jealousy and irritation, felt convincing, I can't believe she could have raised this girl from a baby and been so uncaring.

Three quarters of the way through the book, all the characters start behaving differently. It's really annoying!

What I also didn't like was the stupid lie Jenn tells in order to bring the book to its conclusion, which would have been clever if the lie were necessary in the first place. It wasn't. As soon as I read it I thought: Why did she say that? and realised it must be a plot contrivance. So clunky!

I don't know. Parts were five star, parts were one star. So I'm giving it three. It annoyed and entertained me in equal measures.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A sizzler of a book, 25 July 2014
By 
Nicola "nicola_in_southyorks" (UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Lemon Grove (Kindle Edition)
This book has received very mixed reviews, I expect because of the fairly distasteful story and the thoroughly unlikeable characters. Having said that, I enjoyed reading it.

Jenn and her husband, Greg, holiday every year in a villa in Deia, Mallorca. This year is different though. They've gone at the height of the season and are to be joined for the second week by Greg's 15 year daughter, Emma and her 17 year old boyfriend, Nathan. Jenn finds herself dangerously drawn to Nathan with shocking results.

I read this during some very hot weather and could almost imagine I was on holiday myself from the descriptions in the book - it sizzled in more ways than one! It's a heady, intense and claustrophobic story, yet easy to read and I found myself turning the pages very quickly as the story headed towards an inevitable meltdown. Great read but maybe not for everybody.

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for allowing me to read and review this book.,
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed with this one ..., 12 Aug 2014
By 
jaffareadstoo (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Lemon Grove (Kindle Edition)
Jenn and Greg’s holiday idyll in Villa Ana on the island of Mallorca has been both a refuge and a retreat from the cares of the world but anticipating the arrival of her fifteen year old step daughter and her new boyfriend, Jenn is unusually apprehensive and fears, somewhat prophetically , that the status quo is about to be spoiled. When Emma and Nathan arrive in Mallorca, Jenn is immediately aware of Nathan’s overt sexuality and as an unspoken challenge is issued, Jenn finds herself caught in a maelstrom of illicit desire and unbridled lust.

The book draws you into a ménage seething with undercurrents of emotion. Greg, a frustrated writer and university lecturer, seems to be struggling with some inner turmoil, whist Emma newly precocious and in thrall to the older Nathan, flits between little girl vulnerability and sex siren. Caught in the middle and by far the most interesting of the foursome, is the burgeoning sexual attraction between pretty boy, Nathan, and world weary Jenn.

For me, the best writing of the book came in the descriptions of the island, the cloud shrouded mountains, the shimmering warmth of sun and sea, all etched against the languorous heat of uncontrolled sexual attraction. Jenn, the quintessential unstable narrator, is caught between her duties as a responsible adult and yet, seething with unexpressed desires, she flits uncomfortably between her role as mother and femme fatale.

Overall I was really disappointed with this one, I expected more and I’m not sure that I found the book terribly realistic, for me, there was something quite distasteful about the speed of Nathan and Jenn’s attraction, so much so, I found Jenn’s fall from grace implausible. And that’s not because I find the idea of an older woman/ teenager relationship abhorrent, but because neither Jenn or Nathan were likeable enough for me to invest any emotion in their characters.

I read the book quickly, not because it was unputdownable, but more because I wanted to reach the book’s conclusion, to see if any of the characters would become more congenial, and I’m afraid by the end I was appalled by their selfishness, and didn’t really care what happened to any of them.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Too Hot to Handle ?, 15 Aug 2014
By 
Jo D'Arcy (Portsmouth, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Lemon Grove (Paperback)
This is the epitome of a summer read - a sizzling summer read. Although that is not a prerequisite of when you read this novel.

Jenn and Greg are on the island of Mallorca. This is their annual holiday, they have been year after year and have built up memories of the place they have shared together and also with Greg's daughter Emma. This year is going to be different though, Emma is bringing her boyfriend, Nathan.

This is the holiday that is going to change the dynamic of the three of them forever.

The weather is hot, the temperature in the air and between all four of the characters is somewhere just below boiling point. Greg is uncomfortable with his 15 year old daughter and her 17 year old boyfriend. Jenn has assured hin that it will be alright. But then Jenn had only ever seen Nathan, at a distance in the back seat of a car but now he is in front of her....

"...wearing a pair of plain blue swimming shorts, otherwise, he is naked before her. He is muscular, but graceful with it, balletic. He is shockingly pretty......"

The temperature of the book rises yet again. The actions of the characters seem to be reckless. They are on holiday of course when everything seems to merge into a haze. The beauty of bodies and the beauty if the landscape are intoxicating for Jenn, in fact for all of them. You cannot help notice, everything around you in this place.

Helen Walsh has created a novel which has you turning the page in trepidation and disbelief as well as in the deep desire to experience the warmth on your skin and the pleasure of being away from it all. All a combination of such desires and emotions.

The ending was not as anticipated and if you are looking for such a neatly wrapped ending then you will be disappointed, as the holiday draws to a close, real life beckons and in rather starker terms for them all. However, the holiday will never be forgotten and could like returning to those favourite places always be simmering away underneath the surface.

Worth a read, if only to give an opinion on a book which I can see is dividing its readers.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Lemon Grove, 15 Aug 2014
This review is from: The Lemon Grove (Kindle Edition)
This book is tense with a capital 'T', Helen Walsh begins building the tension from the very beginning and simply does not let up. The front cover of this book is stunning but don't be fooled by the blurb; it could come across as a bit of a beach romp but it is far more complex than your average holiday bonk buster.
Jenn and Greg holiday each year on the beautiful west coast of Mallorca, this year is going to be different as Jenn's fifteen year old step-daughter is bringing along her new boyfriend, 17 year old Nathan. Emma and Nathan's arrival awakens several different feelings in Jenn; a resentment of Greg; a sadness over what life could have been, tensions and deep-rooted issues with her step-daughter and more importantly, a deep desire for Nathan which she is unable to ignore.
The tension between Jenn and Nathan is immediately palpable. Helen Walsh is so good at building up the little details, a glance here, a touch on the arm there; it all builds up to several very passionate encounters. The author is quite explicit in her descriptions of Jenn and Nathan, she shows the carnal need of both of them but then we learn of Jenn's feelings about it; how she feels about being the older woman; how she views her body and these new feelings that have possessed her.
The Lemon Grove can be quite an uncomfortable read at times but I don't think Helen Walsh had any intention of putting her readers at ease. I can't say that I particularly liked any of the characters; they all seemed incredibly selfish in their own ways.
This is the first book that I have read by Helen Walsh, I found it riveting and would highly recommend The Lemon Grove.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Boring reading, 10 Aug 2014
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This review is from: The Lemon Grove (Kindle Edition)
Ok know
I day read but rather a predictable and disappointing storyline. I am a mature woman so maybe I saw it as a bit silly! I found it boring and don't really want to finish the book. I did however, do so. If you enjoy Mills and Boon type books then this is for you.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars dont get the hype, 12 July 2014
This review is from: The Lemon Grove (Kindle Edition)
first saw this book in whsmith and was intrigued by the story and the quotes on the cover. after reading many reviews in newspapers and online, i downloaded it. nothing amazing, if im honest. nothing really happens, apart from jenn and nathans antics. none of the characters are likable and there was too much description of their surroundings. personally, i thought the scenes with jenn and nathan were pretty tame. going on reviews on here and elsewhere, they were nowhere near as explicit as i was expecting. i just found it all a bit 'blah' im glad i only spent 2.99 on it, although that seems steep after finishing it.
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