The Lemon Orchard

( 43 )

Overview

A heartrending, timely love story of two people from seemingly different worlds—at once dramatic and romantic

Luanne Rice is the beloved author of twenty-two New York Times bestsellers. In The Lemon Orchard, one of her most moving and accomplished works yet, Rice gives us an affirming story about the redemptive power of compassion, set in the sea- and citrus-scented air of the breathtaking Santa Monica Mountains.

It’s been five years since ...

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The Lemon Orchard: A Novel

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Overview

A heartrending, timely love story of two people from seemingly different worlds—at once dramatic and romantic

Luanne Rice is the beloved author of twenty-two New York Times bestsellers. In The Lemon Orchard, one of her most moving and accomplished works yet, Rice gives us an affirming story about the redemptive power of compassion, set in the sea- and citrus-scented air of the breathtaking Santa Monica Mountains.

It’s been five years since Julia’s daughter died. When she arrives to housesit at her uncle’s home in Malibu, she longs only for peace. But to her surprise, Julia becomes drawn to Roberto, the handsome man from Mexico who oversees the lemon orchard. When Roberto reveals his own heartbreak, Julia recognizes his pain, but their stories have one striking difference: Roberto’s daughter was lost—and never found. What ensues is a page-turning search across the U.S. and Mexican border and a captivating novel of love, both enduring and unexpected.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Still devastated by grief five years after the death of her husband and teenage daughter in a car accident, Julia hopes to find solitude and solace while house-sitting at her aunt and uncle’s California estate. Amid the lush landscapes and lemon groves of Malibu, Julia does find these things—in addition to an unexpected relationship with Roberto, who oversees the estate. Roberto, an undocumented immigrant, connects with Julia over her loss: he became separated from his young daughter during their crossing from Mexico and believes her to be dead. Julia, an anthropologist specializing in movements and migrations, thinks that the little girl is still alive and sets out to find her—even if doing so means potentially losing Roberto. The plot alternates from an initially tepid pace to moments of intensity—as when the estate is threatened—that seem largely irrelevant to the developing narrative. Nevertheless, Rice’s fans will appreciate the evocative setting and unconventional romance, as well as the harrowing, if familiar, depictions of border crossing and the fascinating parallels drawn between Julia’s research interests (she studies the Irish who arrived in America over a century ago) and modern-day Mexican immigrants. Agent: Andrea Cirillo, Jane Rotrosen Agency. (July)
Kirkus Reviews
Five years after the death of her daughter, Julia comes to Malibu to house-sit and is drawn to the overseer of the orchard property, an illegal immigrant who has his own tragic past. When Julia's aunt and uncle ask her to stay in their Malibu home while they travel to Ireland for a research project, she welcomes the opportunity. Tucked into the Santa Monica Mountains with its lemon grove and views of the sea, the Malibu property has been a sanctuary for Julia her whole life, so different from her starchy, academic East Coast upbringing. Now it serves as a different kind of refuge--an escape from the memories of her daughter that are so entwined with the New England home she can't bear to move out of yet can't seem to move forward in either. Hiking the area woods and through the property, Julia runs into the handsome overseer, Roberto, and finds herself drawn to him in a way she doesn't understand, until she realizes he has lost a daughter, too, during their arduous and dangerous trek from Mexico into the U.S. As the story unfolds, the arresting tale of Roberto's loss wakes Julia up from the apathy she's experienced since Jenny's death, and, with her background as an anthropologist, she'll delve into the moving plight of immigrants from Latin America as a whole and Roberto's heart-wrenching experience in particular, while putting together the pieces of a puzzling mystery that may ultimately tear her from the first person to touch her heart since the day she lost her daughter. Rice here takes her signature themes of family and loss into the difficult and enigmatic landscape of illegal immigration to powerful effect (though readers may question the likelihood of the romantic elements of the storyline). An engaging and texturizing Southern California backdrop also subtly spotlights the struggle of land development and the environment as well as the fairy-tale atmosphere of Hollywood, and the book seamlessly includes details and plot points that both ground and enrich the story through its setting. Lovely and compelling, with quiet yet brave social commentary that enhances the book's impact.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780670025275
  • Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books
  • Publication date: 7/2/2013
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 297,873
  • Product dimensions: 6.42 (w) x 9.14 (h) x 1.03 (d)

Meet the Author

Luanne Rice

Luanne Rice is the author of thirty-one novels, twenty-two of which have been New York Times bestsellers. Her recent novels include The Lemon Orchard, Little Night, and The Silver Boat. A native of Connecticut, she currently resides in New York City.

Biography

Luanne Rice is the New York Times- bestselling author who has inspired the devotion of readers everywhere with her moving novels of love and family. She has been hailed by critics for her unique gifts, which have been described as "a beautiful blend of love and humor, with a little magic thrown in."

Rice began her writing career in 1985 with her debut novel Angels All Over Town. Since then, she has gone on to pen a string of heartwarming bestsellers. Several of her books have been adapted for television, including Crazy in Love, Blue Moon, Follow the Stars Home, and Beach Girls.

Rice was born in New Britain, Connecticut, where her father sold typewriters and her mother, a writer and artist, taught English. Throughout her childhood, Rice spent winters in New Britain and summers by Long Island Sound in Old Lyme, where her mother would hold writing workshops for local children. Rice's talent emerged at a very young age, and her first short story was published in American Girl Magazinewhen she was 15.

Rice later attended Connecticut College, but dropped out when her father became very ill. At this point, she knew she wanted to be a writer. Instead of returning to college, Rice took on many odd jobs, including working as a cook and maid for an exalted Rhode Island family, as well as fishing on a scallop boat during winter storms. These life experiences not only cultivated the author's love and talent for writing, but shaped the common backdrops in her novels of family and relationships on the Eastern seaboard. A true storyteller with a unique ability to combine realism and romance, Rice continues to enthrall readers with her luminous stories of life's triumphs and challenges.

Good To Know

Some interesting outtakes from our interview with Luanne:

"I take guitar lessons."

  • "I was queen of the junior prom. Voted in, according to one high school friend I saw recently, as a joke because my date and I were so shy, everyone thought it would be hilarious to see us onstage with crowns on our heads. It was 1972, and the theme of the prom was Color My World. For some reason I told my guitar teacher that story, and he said Yeah, color my world with goat's blood."

  • "I shared a room with both sisters when we were little, and I felt sorry for kids who had their own rooms."

  • "To support myself while writing in the early days, I worked as a maid and cook in one of the mansions in Newport, Rhode Island. I'd learned to love to cook in high school, by taking French cooking from Sister Denise at the convent next door to the school. The family I worked for didn't like French cooking and preferred broiled meat, well done, and frozen vegetables. They were particular about the brand—they liked the kind with the enclosed sauce packet. My grandmother Mim, who'd always lived with us, had taken the ferry from Providence to Newport every weekend during her years working at the hosiery factory, so being in that city made me feel connected to her."

  • "I lived in Paris. The apartment was in the Eighth Arrondissement. Every morning I'd take my dog for a walk to buy the International Herald Tribune and have coffee at a café around the corner. Then I'd go upstairs to the top floor, where I'd converted one of the old servant's rooms into a writing room, and write. For breaks I'd walk along the Seine and study my French lesson. Days of museums, salons du thé, and wandering the city. Living in another country gave me a different perspective on the world. I'm glad I realized there's not just one way to see things.

    While living there, I found out my mother had a brain tumor. She came to Paris to stay with me and have chemotherapy at the American Hospital. She'd never been on a plane before that trip. In spite of her illness, she loved seeing Paris. I took her to London for a week, and as a teacher of English and a lover of Dickens, that was her high point.

    After she died, I returned to France and made a pilgrimage to the Camargue, in the South. It is a mystical landscape of marsh grass, wild bulls, and white horses. It is home to one of the largest nature sanctuaries in the world, and I saw countless species of birds. The town of Stes. Maries de la Mer is inspiring beyond words. Different cultures visit the mysterious Saint Sarah, and the presence of the faithful at the edge of the sea made me feel part of something huge and eternal. And all of it inspired my novel Light of the Moon."

  • "I dedicated a book to Bruce Springsteen. It's The Secret Hour, which at first glance isn't a novel you'd connect with him—the novel is about a woman whose sister might or might not have been taken by a serial killer. I wrote it during a time when I felt under siege, and I used those deeply personal feelings for my fiction. Bruce was touring and I was attending his shows with a good friend. The music and band and Bruce and my friend made me feel somehow accompanied and lightened as I went through that time and reached into those dark places.

    During that period I also wrote two linked books—Summer's Childand Summer of Roses. They deal with the harsh reality of domestic violence and follow The Secret Hour and The Perfect Summer When I look back at those books, that time of my life, I see myself as a brave person. Instead of hiding from painful truths, I tried to explore and bring them to the light through my fiction. During that period, I met amazing women and became involved with trying to help families affected by abuse—in particular, a group near my small town in Connecticut, and Deborah Epstein's domestic violence clinic at Georgetown University Law Center. I learned that emotional abuse leaves no overt outward scars, but wounds deeply, in ways that take a long time to heal. A counselor recommended The Verbally Abusive Relationshipby Patricia Evans. It is life-changing, and I have given it to many women over the years."

  • "I became a vegetarian. I decided that, having been affected by brutality, I wanted only gentleness and peace in my life. Having experienced fear, I knew I could never willingly inflict harm or fear on another creature. All is related. A friend reminds me of a great quote in the Zen tradition: "How you do anything is how you do everything."
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      1. Date of Birth:
        September 25, 1955
      2. Place of Birth:
        New Britain, CT

    Customer Reviews

    Average Rating 4
    ( 43 )
    Rating Distribution

    5 Star

    (23)

    4 Star

    (11)

    3 Star

    (5)

    2 Star

    (0)

    1 Star

    (4)

    Your Rating:

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    See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 43 Customer Reviews
    • Posted July 3, 2013

      more from this reviewer

      What a moving story! Two people brought together through fate on

      What a moving story! Two people brought together through fate only to realize how much they have in common and how they can rescue each other from the fragmented lives they are living.




      Luanne Rice describes time, place and circumstances so perfectly that our minds can see in detail each cacti needle, grain of sand, and tear shed. I felt like I was there or at the very least watching a movie instead of reading a book. I was thirsty just reading Roberto and Rosa’s long journey through the desert and could smell the fires that were burning in the canyon.




      The Lemon Orchard is a multifaceted story and very timely with a focus on immigration and what people do to provide the best lives possible for their family. Interwoven are losses of both Julia and Roberto with just a thread of hope. Their friendship turns romantic at the perfect pace. 




      I reached the last page way too quickly and can only hope and pray that some time in the future Rice will bless us with a sequel.




      This is a book that should be on everyone’s summer reading lists.  An entertaining story that will make a lasting impression on everyone that reads it. 

      6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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    • Posted July 5, 2013

      more from this reviewer

      'The Lemon Orchard' is a captivating and exceptional novel that

      'The Lemon Orchard' is a captivating and exceptional novel that deals with love, loss, self discovery, and acceptance. It tells the story of Julia, the main character of the novel, whose life has been torn apart after the death of her husband and daughter. Julia travels to visit relatives in Malibu and to hopefully start fresh. While she's there, Julia will experience healing, growth, and the one thing she never expected - love.

      This was the first novel I have read by the author and I was blown away. Her attention to detail, the vivid descriptions, and the intimate characteristics of the characters and the setting captured my heart and attention from the very first page. The story is heartbreaking at the beginning and slowly transforms itself into an uplifting story full of hope and love. Julia is a wonderful main character. She's completely broken after the sudden death of her husband and daughter - she doesn't believe her life will ever be worthwhile again. Once she meets the handsome caretaker of the lemon orchard, Roberto, the two immediately connect due to their shared grief and pain. It's an intense and powerful connection and I found it both intriguing and beautiful to watch their relationship develop. The story is told from varying viewpoints throughout, which made it really interesting to read. We get to experience the story from the stance of several characters and their individual insights and thoughts really gave the story more depth. The writing was phenomenal and the author's immense talent was evident with each page. This is a novel that overcomes labels and genre preferences - it is one that must be experienced and not merely read. Highly recommended for fans of contemporary literature, women's fiction, and those who wish to expand their reading into a new and beautiful experience.

      Disclosure: I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

      2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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    • Posted July 2, 2013

      I Also Recommend:

      A wonderful romance. The plot is well structured and the charact

      A wonderful romance. The plot is well structured and the characters are very likable. I found this one very hard to put down. Highly recommended.

      2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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    • Posted July 2, 2013

      more from this reviewer

      To be honest, I wasn¿t sure I wanted to read this book at first

      To be honest, I wasn’t sure I wanted to read this book at first but I am so glad that I did. It is a beautifully written story about two broken people finding each other and a way to heal the hurts in their hearts. The book starts off with a heartrending story and keeps the emotional level up through the rest of the book.
      Julia is in California at her aunt and uncle’s lemon orchard house sitting for them while they are in Ireland. She is still mourning the loss of her daughter in a car accident five years before and living in body but not spirit. Her marriage was troubled at the time of the accident and the death of her husband in the same accident left Julia with a mix of grief and guilt. While at the orchard she meets Roberto, a migrant worker from Mexico who is in charge of the orchard’s workings. In Roberto she sees a kindred soul who has also had loss in his life. In an odd coincidence, his daughter was lost five years before at the same time as Julia’s daughter. Eventually the two share their stories and find themselves falling in love. As wonderful as it is for the two to find happiness in each other, it is an incomplete happiness because of their shared sense of loss.
      Ms. Rice must have done an incredible amount of research in this book to so accurately portray the journey that Roberto went through coming from Mexico and the terrible thing that happened. When Julia becomes obsessed with solving the mystery of that awful journey, the reader finds themselves immersed in the immigration issue from a point of view that most of us never consider. Interestingly for me, the day I finished this book I watched a TV news magazine do a story that covered one of the type of groups that Julia goes to on her quest. I think the character of Julia is especially interesting because she finds happiness is prepared to sacrifice it all for the peace of mind of her lover and that she can find a measure of solace by doing so.
      This is an excellent book that needs to be read when one has the time to really sit and read it and to get immersed in the story. I found it impossible to put down and thoroughly enjoyed it.

      2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted July 6, 2014

      Good summer read

      Great writing; you can smell the freshness of the Pacific ocean and the lemon orchards.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted June 29, 2014

      You want me to be honest?

      Alright, first things first. Your name. It's extremely narcissistic to refer to yourself as a genius, when you can't even spell genius right. Even if you were a genius, it would still be narcissistic of you to call yourself a genius. If you really were a genius, you would know that it's kind of rude to call yourself a genius. Okay, mini-rant over. Your story: a couple more facts and explanations would have been nice. Why was she sitting in a closet to begin with? How old is she? Is she at school? Maybe you explain this later, but whatever. There were a couple of grammatical/spelling errors, but that wasn't that bad. I didn't understand Veronica's motives or why she didn't really seem freaked about her eyes turning red. Other than those points, it was fairly good and suspenseful. I liked the concept and would be interested in reading more later. If you could change your name, that is. Anyway, your plot was great and had nice pacing. <br>
      Sincerly,<p>

      ~A. Nony Mouse

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    • Anonymous

      Posted June 29, 2014

      ABW Reviews

      It is a little cruel but I find it engulfing. Very nice.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted June 29, 2014

      Honest reveiw

      Oh my gosh it was good left us on a cliffhanger i feel bad for veronica 4 stats cause of grammar

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    • Posted June 25, 2014

      more from this reviewer

      Two lives engulfed by sorrow meet and find a way of life that br

      Two lives engulfed by sorrow meet and find a way of life that breeds survival for both in extraordinary ways!  Julie lost her daughter Jennie five years ago and with that a part of herself so closely were they entwined in their daily lives.  She also lost her husband at that time; but as sad as that was, it wasn’t as traumatic as the loss of Julie’s child.  For five years Julie has kept close to home but finally agrees to house-sit for her aunt and uncle in Malibu, California. The lemon orchard grove and nearby Pacific Ocean breed some unexpected surprises!
      Roberto is an illegal immigrant who is the manager of the lemon orchard grove.  All of his money goes to his family in Mexico but his heart lies elsewhere. He too has lost a daughter, Rosa, who disappeared five years ago.  He has no idea whether she is alive or dead, but he holds onto a very dim hope she could have been found and adopted by some kind family. The sharing of that secret opens Julie’s heart and provides a ray of hope to Roberto.
      Romance infrequently develops from such pain and yet a similar bond can grow stronger and stronger from the sharing.  So it is here, but don’t try to predict how this all turns out because you will fail for sure.  Closer and closer they do grow as they formulate a plan for the future.  In the process of carrying out this plan, the reader will learn about the personal side of what is a troubling issue to so many in this country America, so often the ultimate refuge of those fleeing poverty, danger and other well-known problems.  But this story defies the stereotypical image of the illegal immigrant, depicting an actual person with a family and dreams of a better future.  No one is taking sides in this novel as to how they should be treated, but reading and pondering this particular scenario puts a whole new light on usually not discussed vulnerable aspects of the problem.
      This is the story of a quest for healing and hope.  It’s about how one singular event changes a person’s life and love forever. It’s no storybook romance but a real, gritty and yet charming account of the possibilities of renewal for those who have been rendered fragile through no fault of their own.
      Luanne Rice has written many novels but this is one of her best!  Very nicely crafted, Luanne Rice, story with some lovely, lovely descriptions of the breathtaking Santa Monica Mountains and lands around it.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted March 31, 2014

      Ok...

      You want me to be honest? Sixth grade genious, you're a jerk. But the story's ok.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted March 30, 2014

      Wow

      Cool

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    • Anonymous

      Posted March 10, 2014

      FlameFall

      He padded in.

      0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

      Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
    • Anonymous

      Posted March 9, 2014

      Shortstar

      Thanks

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    • Anonymous

      Posted March 9, 2014

      AutumnFire

      AutumnFire padded in, her ears twitching.

      0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted March 9, 2014

      To goldenpaw

      U dont talk about cloak and veil like that okay? They are really nice cats!!

      0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted March 26, 2014

      HUNTED~ PROLOGUE by: A sixth grade genious

      "Rejected!" Veronica Croc raged to herself in a dark closet, "Rejected by everyone! First I get kicked out of my amature appartment then they," she stumbled. She couldn't help but think about her old friends, who have become her most hated enemies over time.
      Veronica got lost in her thoughts once again and forgot where she was. Suddenly the door opened and a janitor peeked in. The slit of light made a mirror visible on the back of the door. The janitor looked kind, but for today, Veronica hated that. She looked the janitor in the eye angrily and jumped when the janitor let out a murderous scream. Veronica jumped as the janitor ran off.
      Veronica glanced at the mirror on the door then nearly screamed herself, but she held it back. Her eyes, they had turned the color of dark blood. She charged out of the closet, covering her eyes from anyone nor anything.
      It was then she remembered where she was. She wasn't supposed to be there, but she was at the hotel, the one where her own parents had been killed. Veronica was so lost and confused in her thoughts she barely noticed the intruder bell. It took Veronica a moment or two to realize that she, herself was the intruder. She instinctively decided she had to run.
      Veronica didn't want to run, she just couldn't stop. At that very moment, Veronica knew. She knew the answer to everything, she knew she had gone mad. Suddenly, she felt an excruciating pain in the side of her head, and the room became dark.

      Veronica was awakened by street noises. She was still in her old, broken down appartment. Whenever she thought of them, those terrible people, she would see that image in her head, but each time it got worse.
      Veronica wanted it to stop, she just knew it would reoccur. She was changing, changing into a whole new person. She used to feel happy all the time now she feels like every move someone makes is just wrong.
      She used to feel hot this time of year, now everything was so cold.
      Veronica completely forgot what just happened in the previous minutes of her life. Veronica walked out, looking at the mirror on her own front door. Her eyes flashed red.
      This time, Veronica was pleased. "It's not a dream," Veronica whispered walking out of the appartment door "Not this time. Today I will get my revenge."

      0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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    • Posted December 31, 2013

      more from this reviewer

      Captivating! A beautiful story of loss and love

      A beautifully written story of two people finding their way and healing. An emotional story of Julia, set in breathtaking Santa Monica Mountains at her aunt and uncle’s lemon orchard –house sitting with her dog Bonnie while they are away in Ireland.

      Julie is still mourning the loss of her daughter in a car accident and seeks solace and peace to deal with her grief and guilt. Her marriage was in trouble at the time of the accident, and compounded with the death of her husband and her daughter.

      While at the orchard she meets Roberto, a migrant worker from Mexico who is in charge of the orchard operations. As they say, some people are in your life for a season or a reason. I am a true believer of this.

      In this case Julia sees Roberto as a kindred spirit who has also experienced loss in his life, as his daughter went missing five years ago. This couple become close and fall in love; however, they still have their loss. Julia becomes obsessed solving the mystery of the journey of Roberto and his missing daughter.

      Julia decides to help find her and the tale that unfolds is breathtakingly beautiful, suspenseful, romantic and completely captivating. Roberto has a heartbreaking story and a pain Julia knows too well.

      Rice is at the top of her game with the well-written Lemon Orchard-the intimate details, plot, and finely developed characters. This is a must read and highly recommend!

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    • Posted December 8, 2013

      I DO RECOMMEND THIS BOOK! I found this book very interesting, at

      I DO RECOMMEND THIS BOOK!
      I found this book very interesting, at first I thought it was a fairy tale romance but after reading more I realized its a human story. I hope more people read this book and open their hearts to other human beings, a little human kindness goes a long way, we never know when we are going to need a helping hand and understanding.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted November 19, 2013

      Heart touching

      Pulled at my heart and kept me turning the page.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted October 10, 2013

      Pierce

      Drags her in

      0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 43 Customer Reviews

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