I love Rosanna Ley’s books so when I was invited to be part of the paperback launch celebrations for her latest book, The Lemon Tree Hotel, I couldn’t resist. I’d like to thank Milly Reid at Quercus for asking me to participate. I’d first heard about The Lemon Tree Hotel when I was privileged to have afternoon tea with Rosanna Ley at the Covent Garden Hotel last year when Her Mother’s Secret was released. You can see what happened that afternoon in this blog post. and read my review of Her Mother’s Secret here. When I returned to the same venue to find out all about Quercus’ 2019 fiction I was delighted to come away with an early copy of the The Lemon Tree Hotel. I wrote about that fabulous event here.
It was also my huge pleasure to host Rosanna on Linda’s Book Bag when The Little Theatre By The Sea was released and she wrote a glorious guest piece about her travel and research in this post.
Published in paperback today, 13th June 2019, by Quercus, The Lemon Tree Hotel is available for purchase in all formats through the publisher links.
The Lemon Tree Hotel
A story about love, family secrets, and a little piece of heaven . . .
In the beautiful village of Vernazza, the Mazzone family have transformed an old convent overlooking the glamorous Italian Riviera into the elegant Lemon Tree Hotel. For Chiara, her daughter Elene and her granddaughter Isabella, the running of their hotel is the driving force in their lives.
One day, two unexpected guests check in. The first, Dante, is a face from Chiara’s past, but what exactly happened between them all those years ago, Elene wonders. Meanwhile, Isabella is preoccupied with the second guest, a mysterious young man who seems to know a lot about the history of the old convent and the people who live there. Isabella is determined to find out his true intentions and discover the secret past of the Lemon Tree Hotel.
My Review of The Lemon Tree Hotel
The Lemon Tree Hotel has been in the family for years, but life may be about to change.
I am such a fan of Rosanna Ley’s books that I approached The Lemon Tree Hotel with some anxiety in case it didn’t quite match up to the fantastic writing I’ve come to expect, but I needn’t have worried; The Lemon Tree Hotel is absolutely wonderful. My only issue is that I’m not sure how to do it justice in my review.
Rosanna Ley’s meticulous prose evokes such an intense feeling of place, of people and of emotion that I didn’t feel as if I were reading a book so much as experiencing the events for myself. I found myself in the dilemma of not wanting the book to end but equally desperate to know what happened next. The plot is divine and positively sizzles with longing, self deception and family ties. Revolving predominantly around the mother Chiara, daughter Elena and granddaughter Isabella, there is a natural flow that interlocks their stories into a gorgeously satisfying narrative and there are some wonderful surprises along the way. I found the story completely compelling and transfixing and I loved the touches of Italian language and history that gave added depth and colour.
I so wanted each of the three women, even the prickly Elena, to have a happy outcome because I was made to care about them. Chiara in particular resonated with me, possibly as she is my age, and she almost broke my heart as she let the greatest love of her life slip by. And that is what is so emotional in The Lemon Tree Hotel. Rosanna Ley writes with a maturity of understanding of what it is to be a woman, to make personal sacrifices and to create a marriage and a business. There’s depth, warmth and all consuming storytelling that held me captivated so that I felt immersed in life at the Lemon Tree hotel. That isn’t to say that the men in the story are incidental. All of them from the vile Alonzo, through the enigmatic Ferdinand to the divine Dante add texture as they support or undermine the women in the story.
Equally enchanting a character is the Lemon Tree hotel itself. I wanted to be there every moment I was reading because I was fully transported to the Vernazza area by the author’s evocative use of the senses. I genuinely don’t think I’ve ever read a book that has made me as hungry as the luscious descriptions of Elena’s food did here. The Lemon Tree Hotel is not just a story to entertain, but it is a travelogue, a cookery book and a beautifully written sensory experience. Rosanna Ley’s descriptive prose is just gorgeous.
The Lemon Tree Hotel has everything I want in a book and more. It touched me, it involved me emotionally and it entertained me so that I feel enriched by the experience of reading it. Far from not living up to my expectations of her writing, Rosanna Ley has managed to surpass them. I absolutely adored The Lemon Tree Hotel and I cannot recommend it highly enough.
About Rosanna Ley
Rosanna Ley is the bestselling author of novels including Return to Mandalay and The Villa, which sold over 310,000 copies. In February 2015 Return to Mandalay was shortlisted for the RNA Award for the Epic Romantic Novel. She has written numerous articles and short stories for magazines, and her novels have been published in the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Poland, Norway, Hungary, Portugal, Lithuania, Turkey and the Czech Republic. The Villa is also published by Quercus in the US.
Rosanna has also worked as a creative writing tutor for over 20 years. She has led courses for colleges and universities in England, and runs her own writing retreats in the UK and abroad in Italy and Spain. She has worked with community groups in therapeutic settings and completed an MA in Creative Writing for Personal Development in order to support this. She also runs a manuscript appraisal service to appraise and mentor the work of new writers. She is married with children and lives in Dorset.
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