21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Romantic sounding title but a dark story,
This review is from: The Scent of Lemon Leaves (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.