***Originally posted @ ReadingDiva's BlogREVIEW:
The Lemon Orchard is the first book I read by Luanne Rice and it will not be the last. This story is fascinating, a story that we see reflected in the lives and faces of so many immigrants that travel around the world or just across the border in search of a better life.
The Lemon Orchard is the story of Roberto & Julia, both characters touched by tragedy in different ways but both suffered great loss. For Roberto life was always difficult, born and raised in a poor town in the south of Puebla Mexico, worked since childhood and slaved to poverty. Like for many immigrants, his decision for traveling to the United States was based on desperation and the need to help his family and provide for his daughter Rosa. Roberto’s life is a tragedy on its own, his childhood marred by poverty, unable to attend school because his responsibilities grew with him. His childhood marked, and his path already set by a destiny he had very little or no control over it. Roberto’s story is one that can rip your heart apart and make it whole all at the same time. The author did a superb job when exposing his feelings and emotions, his tragedy, his pain, his agony and his love.
Julia, what an amazing character. Her tragedy felt just as deep as that of Roberto even when it was quite different, yet it was no less great. Julie is the kind of soul we also come across but the kind of person who we don’t see or find often. Julie was loved since childhood, privilege and full of life, as an adult she married and became a mother, though her life wasn’t always an example of happiness, she made sure she gave her heart and soul to her family. Julia’s life took a turn for the worse when her daughter Jenny passed, her grief and pain for her daughter’s death brought tears to my eyes. Years later she finds herself visiting her uncle in the heals of Malibu, she was house sitting while her uncle travel throughout Ireland. While Julie wasn’t looking to find love, her encounter with Roberto left her wondering if it was even possible, the connection between them was instant, their grief brought them together and their pain turned into love. The Lemon Orchard is compelling, heart wrenching and all around amazing. I can’t help but encourage everyone to read it.
These characters come together, their pain and loss created a path that would soon become and develop into more than a friendship, giving us the hope and the certainly that love and support can help mend broken hearts. Their friendship exemplary and pure, their love and understanding didn’t need explanation or words, their lives entwined and their past brought them an unexpected future. I loved The Lemon Orchard, a heartbreaking story of love, discovery, friendship and understanding. A story that suppresses the need for words and open the heart to possibilities. Love found when it was unexpected, support offered by the person who needed it most, and a friendship that broke boundaries and prejudice. This book has it all.