Saturday, August 10, 2013

Review: The Apple Orchard by Susan Wiggs

The Apple Orchard by Susan Wiggs
Series: Bella Vista, #1
Harlequin MIRA
April 2013
Format: e-book, 432 pages
Source: Netgalley

#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.

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.

My thoughts:  This is the first in Susan Wiggs' newest series, Bella Vista and it was a great introduction. I've read quite a few books by Susan Wiggs, including her Lakeshore Chronicles series, and love how she pulls you in to her stories.

What I really enjoyed about this story is that Susan Wiggs weaves a little history into the story - something I've not seen in her previous works of fiction. Using the main character's job as an antique treasure hunter, Susan Wiggs is able to weave the story of a Faberge Egg, a treasure given to a young boy during the Nazi occupation in Denmark during World War II, into this tale. I love reading stories that touch upon life during the war and love how this is woven into a purely fictional tale.

The Apple Orchard is told from multiple perspectives and easily moves back and forth from the present to flashbacks of the past when necessary to move the story forward. Bit by bit, the whole story is revealed, secrets come to light and romances blossom. This truly is a captivating tale about love, family and finding out what really is important in life. We meet a cast of interesting characters that I'm really looking forward to getting to know better as the series progresses.

Have you read this one yet? What are your thoughts on this new series?



  1. I've read this one and it is a great start to a new series.

  2. I love when fiction books have some grounding in historical fact :) I haven't read this book, but have heard lots of good things about it and am thinking about giving it a try.

  3. I wasn't really interested until you mentioned the historical connection to WWII and Denmark. I may have to add this to the TBR list. I'm not really sure I understand that how that weaves into the story though. Through a fabrege egg? Does the little boy with the egg grow up to be her grandfather? Or another ancestor?


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