One hot week in Mallorca. Jenn and Greg’s annual holiday is a time for relaxation and indulgence, but this year, the peace is broken by the arrival of Emma and her boyfriend Nathan.

It would be easy to do The Lemon Grove an injustice in its description. A family on holiday in Mallorca, a forbidden attraction between a step-mother and her daughter’s boyfriend, sun, sand and sex. There is a little bit of smut of course, but it’s so much more than a frivolous beach read.

Like in Helen Walsh’s Go To Sleep, this tale explores another side of motherhood, one that would be disapproved of but shows that mothers are still human beings, still capable of mistakes and bad judgement. Jenn’s relationship with Emma is that awkward one of stepmother and there are notes of resentment that creep in on both sides, but overall she is a character you can empathise with.

The writing itself is wonderfully evocative. Reading it during a cold, damp winter, will certainly make you want to head to warmer climes. You are drawn into the family’s holiday, the warm water and hillside trails. As the tension rises, so does the temperature, the emotion and the weather, cleverly intertwined.

As Jenn looks upon Emma and Nathan, she’s reminded of her aging body. Her descriptions of the teenagers lead her to nostalgia and regret. I think this is something many of us can relate to…not appreciating youth at the time. I’m not sure if Greg’s side story was too brief, but it did add an extra layer of sadness to the betrayal. The ending is a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it one, yet powerful and leaving me with an oh on my face.

The Lemon Grove will be published by Tinder Press, an imprint of Headline, on 27th February 2014 in hardback and ebook editions. Thanks go to the publisher for providing a copy for review.

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Disclosure: I received a copy of this book free of charge for review purposes only. Receipt of a book does not guarantee a review or endorsement. My reviews are my honest opinion and are not biased for the purpose of personal gain.