The Apple Orchard by Susan Wiggs

 

“Sometimes you stumble across a treasure when you’re looking for something else entirely.”

#1 New York Times bestselling author Susan Wiggs brings readers to the lush abundance of Sonoma county in a novel of sisters, friendship and how memories are woven like a spell around us.

Tess Delaney makes a living restoring stolen treasures to their rightful owners. People like Annelise Winther, who refuses to sell her long-gone mother’s beloved necklace-despite Tess’s advice. To Annelise, the jewel’s value is in its memories.

But Tess’s own history is filled with gaps: a father she never met, a mother who spent more time traveling than with her daughter. So Tess is shocked when she discovers the grandfather she never knew is in a coma. And that she has been named in his will to inherit half of Bella Vista, a hundred-acre apple orchard in the magical Sonoma town called Archangel.

The rest is willed to Isabel Johansen. A half sister she’s never heard of.

Against the rich landscape of Bella Vista, Tess begins to discover a world filled with the simple pleasures of food and family, of the warm earth beneath her bare feet. A world where family comes first and the roots of history run deep. A place where falling in love is not only possible, but inevitable.

And in a season filled with new experiences, Tess begins to see the truth in something Annelise once told her: if you don’t believe memories are worth more than money, then perhaps you’ve not made the right kind of memories.

From one of America’s most beloved writers, The Apple Orchard is a story of family ties-both old and new-and of the moments that connect our hearts.–Description from Goodreads

 

Hardcover, 432 pages
Expected publication: April 30th 2013 by Harlequin MIRA (first published April 17th 2012)
ISBN
0778314936 (ISBN13: 9780778314936)
series
My thoughts on this novel:
OH IT WAS HEAVEN! I wanted to stay wrapped up in this book forever. This is the kind of novel that fills your heart and soul with warmth and makes you just feel good! The recipes are to die for as well.

This novel has one of the most beautiful opening chapters that I have ever seen. The descriptions of the landscape are so vivid and alive that you can almost smell the apples and hear the buzz of the honeybees. Immediately I was drawn in to this story and never lost interest throughout the entire book.

The cast of characters in this novel are the kind of people that you don’t want to forget. They are such an inviting family with so much rich history and compassion for one another that I almost felt, in some ways while I was reading this I had returned home to visit my own family.

Tess is a strong character with an interesting occupation. She is a sort of treasure hunter, sifting through the belongings of others looking for rare and fantastic items that can be auctioned. What she doesn’t realize, is that her life is about to completely change. After inheriting a share of an apple orchard and discovering a half sister she never knew she had, she must find out what living is really all about.

Suffering from an anxiety/panic disorder and trying to make sense of her life, she comes to Bella Vista with more fear and questions than she has ever had before. Through interactions with her family and learning of her history, she learns more about herself than she ever thought possible.

I completely loved the way this book unfolded. It was gentle and charming. Susan Wiggs has written a story where the past that lie beneath the surface of an ordinary life not only paints a vibrant picture of love and family, but makes for a much more fulfilling future for her characters.

This book is about learning to forgive, learning to love and finding who you are and who you were truly meant to be, but more importantly, it is about family and the bonds that make us who we are. I can’t say enough good things about this book.

This review is based on a digital ARC from the publisher.