Cover Image: My Lemon Grove Summer

My Lemon Grove Summer

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Member Reviews

Absolutely loved this book! Was willing two particular characters to become happy together from the moment they met! A story about chasing your dreams and overcoming obstacles with the help of friendship and love. This story had me not wanting to put it down. The location was idyllic and made me want to travel to visit Such beautiful places and embrace their cultures. Maybe one day! ......
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This book had a very original opening, and that gripped me right away! There are good descriptions of the scenery and you can really imagine what everything looks like. The characters are impulsive and fun, and really likeable. I loved the drama in this novel, Zelda is head-strong and independent but Lennie evens her out and they work really well together. I loved reading about the group, all of the characters were so vivid and determined, and their ideas so inventive. The characters all work well together and it puts a smile on your face while reading. They have to face up to a lot, but they pull together to get through and I really liked that. Very heartwarming book about strong friendships, love and community. I highly rate this.
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I loved this book and got into it really quickly. It felt like a really refreshing new take on the traditional boy meets girl love story. For me, the ending felt incredibly rushed and not in keeping with the rest of the book. I wanted to give it 5* because up until the last 2 chapters I really did love it, but the ending just left me feeling flat and disconnected from both the storyline and characters that I had grown to know and love.
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Zelda is drifting along, with no partner and a job she doesn’t enjoy. Together with her best friend Lennie, she leaves her old life behind for a new start in sunny Sicily. But things don’t go to plan and it looks like they might have to return home, their dreams of a fresh start dashed. But with so much to lose, including her new friend handsome restauranteur Luca, Zelda won’t give up her dreams easily.
This is a lovely, fun summer read. There is a strong sense of place and on finishing the book I was ready to fly straight off to Sicily. The town and lemon groves are lovingly described, with the majestic but threatening Etna always watching. And the food descriptions are mouth-watering.
There is plenty of drama and upsets along the way to a wonderful ending. The book is told from Zelda’s point of view and it did get a little irritating sometimes because she is very self-sacrificing and protests too much against her own needs and feelings. However this is explained a little by her backstory and she is still a likeable character.
There’s a great supporting cast of flawed, lovable characters, with different stories of broken dreams and hopes for the future. I loved how the group of mismatched characters worked together to achieve their dreams. 
I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a light, enjoyable, summer read.
Thank you to NetGalley and Headline Review for the opportunity to read and review this title.
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Thanks to NetGalley for an early copy in return for an honest review
A very good read and one I can highly recommend to others. 
I could not put this down.
Thoroughly enjoyable with an amazing cast of characters that you cannot help but engage with.
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I absolutely loved this book! The setting - a small village in the foothills of Mount Etna, surrounded by lemon groves, immediately piqued my interest. Add in a group of less than welcoming locals and a bunch of people thrown together who are determined to stay and make a future for themselves then you have the makings of a great story. The characters are perfectly portrayed and jump off the page, inviting the reader into their lives. This lovely heart-warming story will stay with you and might even lead you to adventures of your own. I now want to visit Sicily more than ever but for now, will content myself with a glass of limoncello.
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Well what a refreshing and delightful escape this novel was.  From the very first page I just sat back, relaxed and let the Sicilian sun wash over me as I joined Zelda on her lemon grove adventures.

When attending a rather sorry looking party for a friend, Zelda realised that she's fast approaching 40 and all she has to show for it is a failed business attempt and a failed relationship.  Offering her a relationship and a new life in Italy, her best friend Lennie reminds Zelda of a pact they made when younger and away they go.  Arriving in the small, rundown village of Citta D' Ora it's clear that not everything and everyone is all they seem. But, when life gives you lemons......

The setting in this novel is just superb.  The passion for Italy comes through the detail and description of the places and the food and either Ms Thomas is a regular visitor to this region or she has the most amazing research and imaginative skills.  It didn't take much effort on my behalf to be sucked in to the novel and to soak up the sun through the words on the pages. 

I adored the multiple levels that this novel works on.  There is a romance aspect which I adored but there is the additional hints around Zelda's past which adds depth to the development of her character.  There is also the narrative surrounding the other guests in the village and the prospect that somebody doesn't want the newcomers to relocate there.

There's ever a dull moment!

Highly recommended wonderful summer read - Go on....I know you want to!
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Zelda is fast approaching 40 with a failed business and failed relationships behind her. When her best friend Lennie reminds her of a pact they once made to marry each other if they were both single at 40, and the opportunity arises for them to make a fresh start, a new life in Sicily, she decides just to go for it. But right from the start, things don't go well. She and Lennie have been friends for so long that moving their relationship on just seems a bit, well, odd. And the new life in Sicily sees them sharing a large farmhouse with an assortment of other people also looking to start a new life in Italy. As they wait for their promised homes to be made habitable suddenly the farmhouse doesn't seem so big after all and Zelda wonders if she has made the wrong decision. And then she meets gorgeous trattoria owner Luca...

I really took to the character of Zelda. I admired her determination and the way she became determined to overcome any problems which came her way. I liked the way she could rally and encourage the other would-be settlers just when things seemed at their most bleak. She's the kind of person you would want to have as a friend, the kind you know would always have your back and be sticking up for you. 

The only problem she didn't really know how to overcome was the thorny little issue of her relationship, a situation where she really didn't know what to do for the best and where she just didn't want to hurt anyone. Under the heat of the Italian sun, passion grows and Mount Etna rumbles away. Local legend has it that there must be a wedding in the town every ten years or Etna will show her displeasure by erupting. With the volcano towering over the town, an ever-present reminder of its potential danger, Zelda eyes it nervously as she tries to do the right thing. 

Oh the food descriptions in this book! Research must have been such a chore for this book  Definitely don't read it if you are hungry as you will be drooling at the thought of all the simple but delicious Italian food  You will want the prosciutto, the pasta, the cheese and honey, the pine nuts, the ripe juicy tomatoes, the olives, the wine. And of course the lemons and the limoncello. I was in Italy on holiday a couple of years ago and was amazed at the size of the lemons - they were enormous. Almost all the lemon groves in Città d'Oro have been deliberately neglected and need tender and loving care to help them recover, flourish and reach their full potential. Just like Zelda really. 

This book will leave you with a warm glow inside, as warm as a Sicilian evening. It's a perfect holiday read or perfect just to transport you to warmer climes if British Summer Time isn't living up to its name, which is certainly isn't this week in Edinburgh. I'll definitely be trying out some of the lovely lemon based recipes at the end of the book to bring a little bit of Sicily to Portobello. My Lemon Grove Summer is a gorgeous romantic read and I recommend you should add it to your summer reading list.
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Jo Thomas' new novel My Lemon Grove Summer takes us to the island of Sicily to the hilltop village of Citta D'Oro, it was once a prosperous and bustling village but now it is desolate and falling to pieces. Tourists drive through the village without stopping on their way to Mount Etna and the villagers are merely existing not thriving. But with the arrival of Zelda, Lennie and a few others will the fortunes of the village be about to change?

Stepping back a bit to see how our main characters arrive on the island we first meet Zelda who is approaching her 40th birthday as she attends a party with her long term friend Lennie. She wonders is this what is ahead for me sliding into old age solo and left on the shelf. Yet again the man she viewed as a contender on her dating app has left her high and dry, after a few dates she thinks she is not Miss. Perfect and always seems to pick Mr. Imperfect. By now she thought she would be happily married with kids, a home and a dog but this dream couldn't be further from her reality. Zelda was definitely an old romantic and looking for the romance and love that exists in films but so far it has very much evaded her.

So when Lennie reminds her of a pact they made in college her interest is piqued but I wondered right from the beginning was she settling for second best because worry was crippling her that she would be left on the shelf and maybe she jumped into the situation that unfolded without given it any real deep and meaningful consideration. I could feel Zelda's desperation that all she wanted was some security in her life which would boost her confidence. As the story develops and we get to know her a little better it's evident that events in her childhood deeply affected her and she is afraid of history repeating itself. Aside from the personal side of her life, her work/professional life isn't much better. Her dream of a vintage clothing business was established only for it to come crashing down and she feels her hopes and aspirations were stolen from her.

As Zelda recalls the promise settled upon many years ago she thought sure what have I to lose as I have lost everything so far and I can't see what direction my life needs to go in. On one hand she is very brave to go for it as people always say never say no to adventures or else you will lead a very dull life. On the other hand I really did think she was crazy and impulsive as she is reminded that if neither herself or Lennie were married by 40 than they should marry each other. I thought she was not thinking things through as saying yes to everything has gotten her into trouble in the past but maybe this was the opportunity that was waiting for her all along. Lennie was a gentle character who I thought at times was too much on the periphery considering he was going to marry Zelda. I would have loved maybe one or two chapters from his viewpoint even though I know this was Zelda's story. I did guess a certain angle to Lennie's story fairly early on but I thought it was very fitting and worked out very well over all.

As Lennie and Zelda embark on an adventure in response to an ad he has seen online, one wonders will their new life relocating to Sicily to live and work be a disaster or an utter triumph. They both have visions of accepting their relocating money and living in a nice villa perhaps, soaking up the sun, finding work and establishing new and contented lives. With this new phase in her life about to begin Zelda feels a sense of release like a weight has lifted from her shoulders. But it soon becomes apparent that everything they had been promised and their spur of the moment and impetuous idea was not going to live up to expectations. They arrive to find the village on its knees with buildings crumbling, lemon groves dilapidated, overgrown and abandoned and an air of melancholy about the village. They have been brought in to breath new life to the village and as the belief is that to keep Mount Etna happy a marriage must take place every ten years Lennie and Zelda are the perfect fit. But as Giuseppe has such aspirations for the village there are many and perhaps one dominant force blocking him at every turn.

If it had been me I think I would have upped and ran away from the situation the pair found themselves in. I know they wanted to find some sort of happiness and stability in the chaos and uncertainity of their lives but when you expect one thing and discover another I think it gives you justifiable means to back out. As it soon becomes apparent that a house is not ready for Zelda and Lennie, and that they will have to share with other people, they realise they will have to stay as they had been relying on the relocation money which has now gone missing.

I loved the other characters that were introduced that had travelled from Britain too in the hopes of establishing a new life. Tabitha is a writer hoping to write many articles and books in the Sicilian sunshine, Barry has three failed marriages behind him. Ralph is fleeing a disaster in London and Sherise and Billy just want some land to farm animals as they had been taken away from them back at home. It was an unusual group forced together by the promise of a good life but as they discover all is not as it seems and they very much have a battle on their hands. Are the group all brought together because they each are escaping something in their lives? Are they all in the last chance saloon of life and will this opportunity give them the break they so desperately need? Only time will tell and  they go back and forth over whether to stay given the promises have not become a reality.But suffice to say what unfolded was an enjoyable, heartfelt and engaging read that you very easily become lost in.

I thought once Zelda and Lennie reached Sicily the story developed at just the  right pace and I really felt as if I was on the island with them. I was glad they faced challenges and that it wasn't all plain sailing. I could easily visualise the setting so clearly in my head as Jo Thomas no matter where her books are set always brings the setting to life through such vivid descriptions and I always love how food plays such an important role in her books. It's evident she enjoys the research that goes into her books. This time its lemons and the limoncello that features very prominently. She takes something that is native to the area and showcases it and weaves it into the story so expertly that it almost becomes a plot line in itself and is instrumental in how Zelda begins to grow up that little bit, to grow in confidence and to take the bull by the horns to make something of the situation she finds herself in.

I thought the reasons for Zelda's impulsiveness and the fact she behaves in certain ways and takes risks were very well done and slipped in perfectly to the story. It made me change my opinion of her because on reflection I was quite judgemental of her when really I should have sat back and watched the story unfold and not form such early opinions. Zelda and the community, which becomes more like a family, came up against stiff opposition in their bid to transform the fortunes of the village.  With help from restaurateur Luca their ideas begin to flow and perhaps some other more emotional and physical elements begin to flow too but can they come to fruition given the many obstacles placed in Zelda's path.

I didn't like how one person could emit so much control and power over an entire village and I thought the reason for doing so was slightly weak. Said person was the master of manipulation, a bigoted bully who needed taking down a peg or two. As all the villagers seemed to be connected in one way or another, and a wall of opposition was cemented, I loved how Zelda just kept ploughing on and that she was learning to trust her own instincts, to know her heart but if she was doing this with regard to the bigger issue of the village would she be able to apply the same principles when it me to her personal life or will she live to regret the decision she had made with regard to a pact made so many years ago?

In the first half of the book I felt things dragged ever so slightly but once I reached the half way point I found myself fully invested in the story and yet again Jo Thomas has woven her magic and created another fabulous summer read. There are lots of life lessons to be learned throughout and witnessing the transformation of Zelda was a joy to read. Follow your heart, follow your instincts and take a leap of faith.But does Zelda do this? Make sure you pick up this uplifting, superb and gratifying story to discover the outcome for Zelda and co.
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For me, My Lemon Grove Summer was one of those books that are perfect for a summer day. You go into the garden with a book and a drink and suddenly it’s two hours later and you’ve read much more than the “few pages” your planned to. I read the whole book in big chunks over two days and it was a very fun two days.

I really loved the setting, particularly the lemon groves. I would have loved to go there and especially to try the limoncello. I’ve been on a little bit of a lemon kick the last few days which may or may not have been inspired by this book. But I’ve still never tried limoncello.

There are several secrets in this book which is brilliant. I saw some of them coming and some I didn’t. There were also some unusual and unexpected characters. Sophia was someone I loved but I also thought a couple of the characters could have been developed more as they clearly had more of a story to tell. But that just leaves room for a sequel which would be very welcome!

This book was the right amount of twisty and fun and just plain enjoyable. I’ve got a couple of unread Jo Thomas books on my TBR but if My Lemon Grove Summer is anything to go by they won’t be remaining unread for too much longer.
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What an amazing novel by the extremely talented Jo Thomas. This book had me hooked from start to finish and had a completely refreshing storyline. I'd never read a book quite like this before and I loved every page. I flew through this novel and I didn't want it to end! The cover, is quite possibly one of my favourites of all time! I love the bright colours used, the blue of the sea, the yellow of the lemons, the plants and bright sky - all of it is completely eye-catching and simply stunning. I've always enjoyed Jo Thomas' novels, I started reading her novels back when I first got into Romance/Chick Lit and I haven't stopped loving them - in fact, they just seem to keep getting better and better!

This novel in particular was one of my favourites. I adored Zelda's impulsive and funny character. She had some great traits and I couldn't help but warm to her. Then there's Lennie who I also loved, and his mum Valerie and handsome restaurant owner Luca. Those are the main characters in this story, but there are also a handful of secondary characters that you can't help but love. They're funny, unique and I just loved reading about them and their quests for new lives in the stunning Sicily.

When Zelda and Lennie are still unmarried and single at 40 years of age, they go back to a pact they made then they were younger - to marry each other. When Lennie suggests to Zelda that they up and move to Sicily, because they would get a relocation fee and a house to live in, Zelda (being the impulsive woman she is) jumps at the chance and they're on the next flight out there. However, the town isn't what they expected at all, and the houses they passed on their way in which was basically rubble, turns out to be the homes they are due to live in. As well as Zelda and Lennie, there are a few other colourful characters that wanted a fresh start in life, and together they all try their hardest to start their new lives in Sicily.

However, not everything is as rosy as they had hoped it would be. The townsfolk don't want new people moving in to their town, despite it seriously needing some TLC and new life, and they try their hardest to get them to leave. Zelda doesn't let them get to her however, and is soon working with Luca to try and turn things around so they can live a peaceful life in their new home. Tensions soon rise and with young Sophia going missing, they all pull together to try and find her. As well as this, there are storms, that wreck havoc, relationship drama and big secrets that are being hidden. It's a brilliant story and so well written.

This story is unputdownable. I loved it from the very beginning - I was just sad when it ended! The characters, the location and the storyline all flowed well and worked together brilliantly. It's the perfect summer read and I adored every page. Thank you to the publisher for a chance to read an advance copy of this novel, which I have reviewed honestly.
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I really enjoyed this book. 

Zelda and Lennie are approaching their forties, and neither of them have significant others and they made a pact that if neither of them were married by this time they would marry each other. 

Lennie sees an advert asking people to come and live in Sicily, they get a free house, relocation fee and the chance to start over. 

The small village they move too is idyllic, however nothing goes according to plan, and Zelda and Lennie have to figure out what and who they really want.
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I think this is my favourite Jo Thomas yet! The lemon groves of Sicily are such a beautiful setting and the descriptions are so accurate I could feel the sun on my back and smell the lemons. It's such a beautiful story of love, friendship and new beginnings. I read it in two days, no mean feat with a toddler, but I just couldn't tear myself away and now that I've finished I feel bereft. Cannot recommend this title enough.
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Wonderful summer read!     This book is an enchanting story about a group of people who answer an advert asking for anyone who would like to move to Sicily and it is an unputable down book!
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I absolutely loved this book! I couldn’t put this down once I started reading it, it was absolutely amazing! Never heard of this author before but will now definitely keep a look out for her books!
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This is a wonderful summer read, especially perfect when you are trying to recreate summer in your head ! This perfectly recreates Sicily in your head, added to gorgeous characters, a wonderful story and such a delightful read. You don’t want to put this down, it’s a pleasure to read. A great heartwarming, feel good read.

Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for a free copy for an honest opinion
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Jo Thomas's My Lemon Grove Summer may be one of my favourite summer reads of the year. My Lemon Grove Summer is filled with  delicious food, gorgeous scenery and romantic moments.

We follow Zelda and Lennie as they make a fresh start on Sicily. Both have been best friends since they were little, and they have a pact that if they are single at aged forty they will get married. And so with, no love at first sight appearing on the horizon, they head to Sicily  to make this most of their options.

And Sicily sounds like a dream. They can relocate as part of a revitalisation project. And get paid for the opportunity. To Zelda it seems to0 good to be true. And when they get to the fresh start, it is not quite what it seems. The village is stuck in the past and the villagers seem unwilling to accept the newcomers.

However this is not going to stop Zelda, Lennie and the rest live out their dreams. The friendship between the characters are heartwarming and a joy to read about. This is a story that is all about love, friendship, family and second chances.

I devoured this book over one afternoon, with a glass of Pimms. And both go together so well. This is one read that you don't want to miss this summer.
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From the cover of the book I was expecting this to be a fluffy romance. A romance it was, but a great story too. Exactly what you need to read on a beach or to imagine you are with the characters in sunny Sicily.
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Thanks to netgalley for an early copy in return for an honest review 
Having  read most of this ladies books all I can say is they are such a delight  and this one is up there with them totally captivating  from start to finish  I can highly recommend this  for a totally  fabulous  summer EXTRAVAGANZA.
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Simply Scintillating in Sicily!

I absolutely adored this book, from the first few pages,  to the location, the story, the writing and just about all the characters. 

What a fabulous premise,  a group of strangers all needing a second chance in life enticed to relocate to a small village in Sicily as part of a revitalisation project.  They even get paid for the privilege.

Sounds to good to be true,  well it definitely isn't as easy as it sounds.  It appears the locals aren't as welcoming as you would imagine. 

Zelda and Lenny agreed as teenagers that they would marry age 40 if neither had found true love, and well it's clear they care for each other. 

I loved getting to know all the people involved in this project,  the variety of characters is fabulous and everyone is very believable. 

What amazed me was how fast I read this book, just a few short hours while I was on some trains. I was so absorbed in the first 15% that I almost missed my stop. 

Feel good summer reading at its best. Another complete an utter gem of a book from Jo Thomas.  You won't regret this virtual trip to Sicily. 

Infused with the warmth of a Sicilian summer,  with helpings of fabulous sounding food,  limoncello and a spattering of Italian phrases, this really is another amazing book that touched me in all the right places from one of my favourite authors. 

Thank you to Netgalley and Headline for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily.
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