Title: Orange Blossom Days
Author: Patrica Scanlan
Published: March 1st 2017
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Genres: Fiction, Contemporary, Chick Lit, Women’s Fiction
Rating: 4 stars
In a beautiful southern Spanish town, where the sea sparkles and orange blossoms scent the air, the gates of a brand new apartment complex, La Joya deAndalucía, glide open to welcome the new owners.
Anna and Austen MacDonald, an Irish couple, are preparing to enjoy their retirement to the full. But the demands of family cause problems they have never foreseen and shake their marriage to the core.
Sally-Ann Connolly Cooper, a feisty Texan mother of two young teenagers, is reeling from her husband’s infidelity. La Joyabecomes a place of solace for Sally-Ann, in more ways than one.
Eduardo Sanchez, a haughty Madrileño, has set out with single-minded determination to become El Presidente of the complex’s management committee. But pride comes before a fall.
Jutta Sauer Perez, a sophisticated German who aspires to own her very own apartment in La Joya, works hard to reach her goal. Then the unthinkable happens.
As their lives entwine and friendships and enmities develop, it becomes apparent that La Joya is not quite the haven they all expect it to be…
Mrs R’s review:
Orange Blossom Days is Irish author Patricia Scanlan’s 19th novel. Like her previous novels, Patricia’s latest work is warm and sincere as she provides insight into daily life. Told in the third person, the book is divided into three parts. Time of Our Lives is about the happy moments being created while Time for a Change is about the heartbreak of life. Lastly, Time To Move On shows the acceptance of change. Set in San Antonio del Mar, Spain, a place abundant with orange blossom trees, Patricia delves into many themes through the lives of the occupants in the apartment complex known as La Joya. La Joya is beautifully translated as The Jewel.
For many of the occupants, the apartment complex are bought to provide relief from the grind of daily life. There’s Anna and Austen who have bought the apartment to enjoy retirement. With a narcissistic daughter, their dreams of living the quiet life in Spain is becoming harder to achieve. Patricia shows compassion with the theme of old age and the all too real struggle of grandparents bringing up their grandchildren in the age of the ‘me’ generation. She accurately portrays how mothers and fathers think and deal differently with becoming grandparents.
Sallyann and her husband Cal are another couple from Texas that are owners of one of the many apartments. I adored Sallyann but found her Texan twang interrupted my reading flow. She was a straight up woman who pulled no punches in life. She was always honest with herself, her husband and her children. Patricia explores the theme of marriage and child rearing through this pair as theirs is very different from the norm. Married in name only after Cal’s affair with Lenora, theirs has become an open marriage. It wasn’t too difficult to see what would happen when Cal’s mistress realizes that Cal was ready to end the relationship. Lenora’s feelings with the aftermath was eye opening because it’s rarely discussed or understood in society, occasionally popping up in women’s fiction.
Eduardo and Consuala are the last Spanish occupants of La Joya. Eduardo is a man I despised from the start with his patriarchal ways and old fashioned views. His long suffering wife was a doormat at the beginning so I really enjoyed watching her transformation into a woman of independence. I always thought Eduardo needed a mother, not a wife! A bone of contention for this married couple is Eduardo’s elderly aunt. Here, Patricia shines a light onto looking after the elderly and the strains it can cause within a family.
The last person involved within the complex is Jutta, a seller of the apartments. German born, Jutta is married to a Spanish businessman, who conducts much of his work under the table. Like Sallyann she is an honest woman but less emotional. Many residents had trouble connecting with her but I found Jutta refreshing as I have met many women in life just like her. Patricia examines this relationship as it suffers under work pressures, infidelity and again, the pressures of caring for aged parents even though they live in another country.
A thoughtful read that will make you think about the many current issues that society is facing, some for the first time.
Orange Blossom Days by Patricia Scanlan was published on March 1st 2017 by Simon & Schuster. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.
To learn more about the author of Orange Blossom Days by Patricia Scanlan, visit here.