Lo que esconde tu nombre (The Scent of Lemon Leaves)
Winner of the Premio Nadal 2010
On the Costa Blanca in Spain, the sun is still hot even in late September. The streets are empty and the air is filled with the scent of lemons, right down to the edge of the sea. Finding herself in a crisis, thirty-year-old Sandra has chosen this as her refuge: she’s unemployed, estranged from her parents, and carrying the child of a man she’s not sure she loves. She’s lonely and desperately trying to find her bearings in life. Then one day, she meets Fredrik and Karin Christensen, a loveable older couple. They are the grandparents she never had: they offer her a deep friendship, introduce her to interesting people, and welcome her into their beautiful villa surrounded by flowers. It’s a paradise. Or is it hell? For Fredrik and Karin are former Nazis. They were known for their brutality and harbour dreams of starting once again.
Julián is a survivor of the Mauthausen concentration camp, who has just returned to Europe from Argentina, and has been following the couple’s movements for days. He knows that their wrinkled hands are stained with the blood of innocent people. Now he may have the chance to unmask them, and Sandra is the only one who can help him. It’s not easy to convince her of the truth. And yet, after her initial disbelief, she begins to see behind the couple’s fragile appearances. Now she understands that she and the child she is carrying are taking a huge risk. But it doesn’t matter, because everyone needs to know the truth. It’s impossible to bring back the victims, but she can at least make sure that what happened is not forgotten, and that evil does not go unpunished.
As well as being a powerful account of self-discovery and an exploration of history and redemption, The Scent of Lemon Leaves is a sophisticated and nail-biting page-turner by one of Spain’s most accomplished authors.