Taking a step outside my usual genre, I am delighted to be reviewing this debut novel, Oranges and Lemons, from Paula F Andrews.
Before I share my thoughts, here’s what the official blurb says:
Gregarious teenager, Jessifer Jordan, has always been loyal and open, and her love of acting has made her an expert in pretence. So, when six-year old Victorian ghost, Adeline, appears in her life and Jess’s best friend won’t believe her, deceit becomes Jess’s natural ally. Previously fun-loving and sociable, she becomes serious and isolated in her quest to discover what Adeline really wants. Always curious, she finds herself whisked back in time to 1863 and into the clutches of a volatile doctor with an obsession for morphine.
As she journeys back and forth into the past, she realises that Adeline reminds her of her dead sister and her submerged grief resurfaces. Will her great aunt Ruby’s counsel help her? Can she outwit the deranged medic? And whose is that smoky cat which keeps turning up out of the blue?
My head has been in some dark places recently with my reading materials so I decided to give myself a bit of a breather with my next choice. Oranges and Lemons is a debut from Paula F.Andrews. With a target audience of Young Adults, it is a delightfully quirky tale of ghostly goings on in York.
Jessifer Jordan lives with her aunt and while relatively settled in her life, she has an inquisitive mind and a flair for drama. Her friends think she is being overly dramatic and attention seeking when she confesses to her ghostly visitations. Oranges and Lemons follows her as she is compelled to find out exactly what happened to the little Adeline back in the 1860s.
This was a ghostly and ethereal read switching effortlessly between present day and Victorian York. I really enjoyed the scenes where Jess slips between past and present and if I were reading this as a child I’d be totally caught up in this intriguing mystery and ghost story. It was so easy to become immersed in Jess’s life and her quest. I particularly enjoyed the scenes set in the 1800s, I thought they were extremely vivid and realistic, it is clear the author has done her research here. Full of delightful little plot twists and some spooky moments it presents a fascinating cast of characters, some of whom you will love and others not so much.
It is also full of fascinating facts and information without being a pedantic information dump, a great source of social history exploring the Victorian era and is bound to raise discussion points for young readers. But it also manages to do this without the reader feeling they are being “taught”. I think this would be ideal for kids who don’t engage as much with traditional learning, the issues raised may pique their interest further?
A perfect read for ages 10+ and a delightful read for an adult wishing to escape back into a childhood full of limitless imagination.
Oranges and Lemons is available to purchase from
About the author:
A Yorkshire lass living in Glasgow, I sit at my desk overlooking our garden where I watch the birds dine from seed feeders which empty at an alarming rate. I am an enthusiastic, though poor, photographer which tempts me away from my writing as I attempt to capture the kind of shot you see on wildlife calendars. Which isn’t very constructive when trying to make my story come alive.
Before becoming a writer, I was a nurse, a midwife and a crafter. Yet, I’ve always written things down – letters, the odd story, attempts at journal writing and poetry – so a couple of years ago I decided to start a new adventure and make writing my dedicated ‘job’.
After several years and numerous revisions, I am chuffed to bits that my debut novel for teenagers, Oranges and Lemons, is finally coming to a bookshop near you. Soon. I hope you’ll love it.