Theodora Bishop’s novella tells the story of twenty-eight-year-old Eva, in grief from the death of her childhood best friend and lover Sebastian. After Eva agrees to be her eccentric mother’s maid of honor, she finds herself swept up in events leading to her mother’s second marriage—including a mother-daughter adventure at a New Jersey spa. Startling revelations spur Eva to come to terms with not only her grief but a secret that threatens, once discovered, to overwhelm her.
“My mother, Leonora Marino, was betrothed to the owner of a used car dealership called ‘The Lemon Tree.’ One unfortunate detail about her fiancé’s claim to fame being that its office and lots were painted bladder-stimulant yellow. This meant it was only natural that upon crossing into The Lemon Tree’s domain, you became senseless, pervaded by a wild urge to pee. I often noticed potential customers swaying as they waited to be assisted, bouncing on their heels; their general conduct derived not from impatience, but rather from an effort to disguise their discomfort. But perhaps my mother’s soon-to-be-hubby designed the space precisely so the hooey of swapping countless tons of metal for the big bucks was done swiftly.”