Julia has been mourning the loss of her daughter, Jenny, with whom she had a very strong connection. She feels guilty for not having seen signs of Jenny’s heartache over the breakup with her boyfriend and the dissolution of her parents’ marriage. When Julia’s uncle asks her to housesit Casa Riley in Malibu, where he has a lemon orchard, Julia looks forward to reliving some of her memories while finding peace from the nagging questions that have been with her for the past five years.
Roberto manages the lemon orchard for the Riley’s. He has great respect for the Riley’s and has grown to love the Santa Monica Mountains and his work in the orchard. Roberto is also filled with guilt, haunted by the loss of his own daughter. Roberto’s daughter, Rosa, died on the trip from Mexico to the U.S and the pain of reliving his crossing through the desert is more than he can bear. He keeps Rosa alive and well in his dreams but has lost hope of ever finding out what happened to her.
Upon arriving at Casa Riley Julia meets the orchard manager, Roberto and immediately feels a connection with him. As their conversations become more intimate, each reveals more details about the loss of their daughters. Eventually, Julia sees a way to help Roberto find closure over the loss of Rosa.
“The Lemon Orchard” is a story of love, loss, the strength of family ties and undocumented Mexicans illegally crossing the desert into the US. This story offers an uncharacteristic view of illegal crossings and undocumented migrant workers that is humanizing and engrossing. The characters are well-crafted into an intriguing storyline.