The Lemon Orchard by Luanne Rice

July 3rd, 2013 Kimberly Review 81 Comments

3rd Jul
The Lemon Orchard by Luanne Rice
The Lemon Orchard
by Luanne Rice
Genres: Women's Fiction
Source: Publisher
Purchase*: Amazon *affiliate

In the five years since Julia last visited her aunt and uncle’s home in Malibu, her life has been turned upside down by her daughter’s death. She expects to find nothing more than peace and solitude as she house-sits with only her dog, Bonnie, for company. But she finds herself drawn to the handsome man who oversees the lemon orchard. Roberto expertly tends the trees, using the money to support his extended Mexican family. What connection could these two people share? The answer comes as Roberto reveals the heartbreaking story of his own loss—a pain Julia knows all too well, but for one striking difference: Roberto’s daughter was lost but never found. And despite the odds he cannot bear to give up hope. Set in the sea and citrus-scented air of the breathtaking Santa Monica Mountains, The Lemon Orchard is an affirming story about the redemptive power of compassion and the kind of love that seems to find us when we need it most.

I was delighted when the opportunity presented itself for me to review The Lemon Orchard and I moved my schedule around to accommodate it. I am so glad that I did because Luanne Rice delivered a beautifully poignant tale about loss, love, and hope. From the very first page, I was enthralled by the author’s voice and her characters. Three-word review: heart-breaking, captivating and beautiful.

The tale begins with a first-person prologue that immediately draws the reader in, and then we fast forward five years later as Julia agrees to house sit her aunt and uncle’s home located in the coastal foothills of Malibu. The tale is then told in the third person and broken up into different perspectives by chapter. Julia and Roberto share the bulk, but we also get a few others. Together with her dog, Bonnie, they enjoy the solace of the beautiful home surrounded by lemon orchards. She is drawn to Roberto the handsome overseer and she recognizes a similar pain in his eyes. As the two become friends she shares her grief and he shares the story of his missing daughter. Julia decides to help find her and the tale that unfolds is breathtakingly beautiful, suspenseful, romantic and completely captivating.

Rice created characters that are well rounded and completely realistic. I immediately connect with them and felt their emotions. Julia keeps everything bottled up just below the surface and you can see them clearly in her eyes and brow. Rice portrayed her struggles and grief in a way that felt real and I could almost imagine myself in her shoes. Roberto’s story captured my heart and made me look at illegals from their perspective. Lion is a friend of the family and famous movie star whose love story we become privy to and was one that I enjoyed. He helped give us some outside perspective regarding Julia and Roberto. Jack Leary is a retired Border Patrol Officer and a true man of honor who filled in clues and helped further the suspenseful plot. I admired the man. We meet other characters who help further the plot and give us insight.

The Lemon Orchard flows beautifully as Rice paints both the beautiful coastal community and the characters. All of the characters from the smallest to the main characters were fleshed-out and felt realistic. I love when I can immediately identify with them and understand what drives them. Julia’s loss and the road to healing were remarkable in itself and then Rice weaved in Roberto’s tale and I came undone. Her perception of loss and parenthood was profound. The romance that developed was sweet, believable and heartbreaking. I was glad to have been a part of and experience the change it brought about. I enjoyed the first half of the book as I watched things unfold but the second half held me captive and would not let me go. As a result, I sat up very late reading to find out what happened. I closed this book with tears in my eyes as I experienced both sadness and joy.

The Lemon Orchard is a powerful tale of love and compassion. Rice shows us that you can move forward and make peace. This was my first Rice book but it won’t be my last.

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About Kimberly
Kimberly is a coffee loving book addict who reads and listens to fictional stories in all genres. Whovian, Ravenclaw, Howler and proud Nonna. She owns and manages Caffeinated PR. The coffee is always on and she is ready to chat. Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

81 Responses to “The Lemon Orchard by Luanne Rice”

  1. Debbie Haupt

    Kim I’m glad you like Luanne, she used to be one of my go to authors, however it was her Seventh Heaven I was reading when I learned about my husband’s cancer. One of these days I’ll be able to go back to her but not yet. Isn’t it funny how the mind works.

    Great review and I agree that her novels are very poignant and memorable.

  2. Natasha

    I haven’t yet. This one sounds like a great read!!
    Thanks for the chance to win!

  3. kindlemom1

    I haven’t tried this author yet but this sounds like a great emotional read! Lovely review Kim!

  4. cabingoddess

    I love Luanne, this is one of my dirty little secret authors. Her writing is elegant and I am itching to read this one when I have more time!

  5. Diana

    I love her books. The characters are real & the settings just wonderful. It’s like traveling but I am still in my reading chair at home. Reading Cloud Nine right now.

  6. Aurian

    Great review Kim, thank you. It is not a book for me though, too much real life drama and heartbreak. I want to escape with my books.

  7. Nick

    I love that cover, Kim! I’ll admit this is not the book for me but you sound like you really loved it. Your review really shows how much you enjoyed the book, Kim!
    Any book that can make you cry by the end is a good book! Lovely review, Kim!

  8. Erin F

    I haven’t read this author yet and this book sounds awesome! Thanks for sharing!

  9. Laurel-Rain Snow

    Great review, Kimba….and this book is definitely on my wish list. Can’t wait to read it.

  10. Laurel-Rain Snow

    And yes, I have read and loved other books by Rice.

  11. Andrea

    Wow! It is so clear how much you enjoyed The Lemon Orchard. I love that you were so drawn to the characters. I will definitely add this to my tbr!

  12. Dena

    I haven’t read anything by this author before. This book sounds lovely. Sometimes I like reading books that make you cry.

  13. kimbacaffeinate

    I understand, I tend to read lighter books this time of year as well. My next Caffeinated Confession is all about that. LOL

  14. Jenea Whittington

    I am so glad you enjoyed this so much. i sounds emotional and romantic at the same time. Wonderful review.

  15. Giselle Cormier

    This sounds like a cute read. I’ve never read anything by this author before BUt I have come upon her name once or twice. I do like how dramatic it sounds!

  16. Tammy

    I haven’t read anything by this author yet but I love finding new authors to read.

  17. Heidi

    I was immediately drawn to this one when I saw the cover. It sounds like an amazing read and one that I would certainly enjoy. I am going to have to try and make room for this one! Have a Happy Fourth!

  18. Melissa (Books and Things)

    This sounds like one of those reads I stay away from because of the tears but end up reading it and loving it. I haven’t read her before, but I’ve always wanted to! This does sound like something I would enjoy!

  19. Lisa Richardson

    I love Luanne Rice’s books, and have read them for many years. Would love to win this!

  20. Ty Wilson

    I have not read anything by Luanne Rice, but I hope to rectify that soon. This one looks great.

  21. Kristin Clifton

    I have not read Luanne Rice yet but she is another author who is ALL OVER our library!!! I know a lot of the other girls read her, though. I should pick up one of her books! Especially how well you say she writes; that she was able to write emotions so well. Yikes, need to stock up on Kleenex! Great review!

  22. Jillyn

    I have not, but I’ve seen her name all over the place lately!

  23. Trish Hannon

    A new author for me but one I’ll keep an eye out for now. Sounds heartbreaking but beautiful. Lovely review, I love when an author can make you happy and sad.

  24. Jessie L

    I haven’t read LuAnn Rice before but I’m looking forward to finally getting the chance. Thank you for the post for this book. I’m looking forward to reading it soon.

  25. Laura

    how beautiful is that cover! I have never read anything by Luann Rice before and I love to read new things from new authors. Would love a chance to read

  26. alisa

    I have not read Luanne yet. But I will now. Looks like a great book. Thanks for sharing.

  27. Denise

    No, I haven’t read any of hers before. This looks good!

  28. Danielle Chapman

    I haven’t read any books by Rice before but I have heard about her. Thanks for the giveaway!

  29. Anita Yancey

    I haven’t read any of Rice’s books yet, but this one sounds really good and I’d love to read it. Thanks for this chance.

  30. Gin's Book Notes (Ginny)

    Oh, this book is on my Amazon Wish List! I have read all of Luanne Rice’s older books. I went through a spell where I checked every book of hers out at the library and I have to say I enjoyed them all. 🙂

  31. Belle Read

    This sounds like a beautiful read. I have been wondering. The cover certainly is lovely. Thank you for your review and for the giveaway.

  32. Sam

    This sounds like an emotional read! It’s probably not something I could take right now (I get so incredibly lazy during summer), but I love the sound of it and will definitely check it out at a later date. I’m glad it managed to draw a response from you. Beautiful review, Kimba!

  33. Mary Hill

    Hi, You have big following. I really enjoyed reading your review of Luanne Rice’s book. I will have to check it out. Thanks for sharing.