The Scent of Lemon Leaves By Clara Sanchez

Title: The Scent of Lemon Leaves

Author: Clara Sanchez

First Published: 2010

Publisher: Alma Books

Blurb:

Having left her job and boyfriend, 30-year-old Sandra decides to stay in a village on the Costa Blanca in order to take stock of her life and find a new direction. She befriends Karin and Fredrik, an elderly Norwegian couple, who provide her with stimulating company and take the place of the grandparents she never had. However, when she meets Julián, a former concentration-camp inmate who has just returned to Europe from Argentina, she discovers that all is not what it seems, and finds herself involved in a perilous quest for the truth as well as a powerful account of self-discovery and an exploration of history and redemption. (From Goodreads, 12th May 2014).

Review:

“The Scent of Lemon Leaves’ was a novel I picked up after remembering a friend buying it a couple of years ago at the local book store, and since then it has sat on my Kindle patiently waiting. So I tapped it. It opened and I began reading.

I was surprised how quickly I was sucked into this novel and began to live the life of Sandra. Sandra is a character that many of us recognise – an individual in a ‘time out’ from life, pondering where she will go next. It is a reminder that life does not follow the plan many of us wish for. However, soon Sandra finds herself in a situation that is so peculiar that one must read this book to learn about it. Furthermore, Julian, an elderly survivor of World War II takes a last journey attempting to right the wrongs inflicted against him.

This is a novel that is about understanding why we live our lives, what we grip onto to allow us to continue, what is important enough to live for. In addition, ‘The Scent of Lemon Leaves’ has an air of mystery and an adventure which intertwines human fallibility with human strength. A fantastic novel twisting history, power, loss, youth, and death.

4 out of 5

Someone Else’s Life By Katie Dale

Title: Someone Else’s Life

Author: Katie Dale

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Publication Date: 2012

Blurb:

When seventeen-year-old Rosie’s mother, Trudie, dies from Huntington’s Disease, her pain is intensified by the knowledge that she has a fifty-per-cent chance of inheriting the crippling disease herself. Only when she tells her mum’s best friend, ‘Aunt Sarah’ that she is going to test for the disease does Sarah, a midwife, reveal that Trudie was not her biological mother after all…

Devastated, Rosie decides to trace her real mother, hitching along on her ex-boyfriend’s GAP year to follow her to Los Angeles. But all does not go to plan, and as Rosie discovers yet more of her family’s deeply-buried secrets and lies, she is left with an agonising decision of her own – one which will be the most heart-breaking and far-reaching of all… (From Goodreads, 9th July 2013)

Review:

This is difficult to write as I don’t want to give things away, but will try my best!

I really enjoyed ‘Someone Else’s Life’ despite it not being as focused on Huntington’s Disease as I thought it was going to be. This is more a novel about a girl who finds out due to her mothers death to Huntington’s Disease that she was not biologically related and decides to search for her biological parents.

But this search brings Rosie into situations she would never have imagined, and makes her wonder are some secrets better kept hidden? Does searching for her family risk creating wounds that will never heal? Or does it bring the closure she now seeks?

Does blood mean everything? Or does a loving family growing up enough?

This is a fast paced novel, which is not nearly as long as it appears, short chapters make it really easy to be drawn in and to keep reading.

This novel brings in so many issues, but not many are in such gritty depth that I like. But never-the-less, I feel a lot of the issues were dealt with well.

This is a novel about family. Family lies. Family secrets. Family relationships. Family tragedy.

This is a novel well worth getting your hands on but if you think the main focus will be on Huntington’s Disease you will be disappointed.

4 out of 5