The Shade Under the Mango Tree

Cover of the book The Shade Under the Mango Tree by Evy Journey


After two heartbreaking losses, Luna wants adventure. Something and somewhere very different from the affluent, sheltered home in California and Hawaii where she grew up. An adventure in which she can also make some difference. She travels to a foreign place where she gets more than she bargained for.

Lucien, a worldly, well-traveled young architect, finds a stranger’s journal at a café. He has qualms and pangs of guilt about reading it. But they don’t stop him. His decision to go on reading changes his life.

Months later, Luna and Lucien meet at a bookstore where Luna works and which Lucien frequents. Still hurting from her losses, Luna finds solace in Lucien’s company and his tales of world travel.

Inspired by Lucien, she goes to Cambodia. What she goes through in one of its rice-growing villages defies anything she could have imagined.

An epistolary tale of courage, love and loss, and the bonds that bring diverse people together.


This book by Evy Journey is a romance and a YA novel rolled into one, with a feel of a memoir. It begins as a tender story, but later develops into a slightly more complex account as layers are added on.

Written in a daily journal or diary style, the book is engaging. It tells you about two strangers discover each other, interact, fall in love, and experience life together. It also portrays the deep family ties that the main protagonists have with their grandparents.

The first-person point of view of the central characters makes it an interesting read. Journey describes the thoughts, scenes, and settings, especially of Hawaii and Cambodia, rather well.

Coincidentally, I was watching a TV series based in Hawaii when I was reading this book, which made it quite easy for me to visualize the sights and smells in the descriptions.

Overall, it was as relaxing as sitting quietly on a bench under the shade of a mango tree!


I received an advanced reader copy of the book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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