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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good read.
As other reviewers have stated, this book is different from the others. If you are interested in geneology, ancestory or a 100 year old murder, well this book may just be for you.
Granted, there is no current murder, but Meg learns alot not only about herself and manages to grow-up in the process, but she also learns alot about her history. This really is a good...
Published on August 11, 2011 by Ambrulyn

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too much genealogy, not enough cozy mystery!
I really enjoyed Sheila Connolly's earlier books in the 'Orchard' series, but this one had too much genealogy, and not enough cozy mystery.
I was disappointed in this book, I would not have bought it except the others were so good.
This book did not grab my interest from the first page until the last.
Published on August 12, 2011 by Virginia Hale


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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good read., August 11, 2011
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This review is from: Bitter Harvest (An Orchard Mystery) (Mass Market Paperback)
As other reviewers have stated, this book is different from the others. If you are interested in geneology, ancestory or a 100 year old murder, well this book may just be for you.
Granted, there is no current murder, but Meg learns alot not only about herself and manages to grow-up in the process, but she also learns alot about her history. This really is a good book, but if you are expecting it to be just like the others, well then, you will be disappointed. If you are looking for something written from a different perspective, with a couple of interesting twists, give this a try.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Murderless Mystery !!, August 3, 2011
This review is from: Bitter Harvest (An Orchard Mystery) (Mass Market Paperback)
This is the fifth book in the Orchard Mystery series.

It's December and the first harvesting for Meg has come to an end. Bree, her orchard manager seems to dragging her feet getting the income figures to Meg. Meg is in a wuandry about what to do. Did she make a profit or not, will there be money to add more trees. Or will htere be money for the new furnace she will have to get. And Seth, is this someone that she wants more from. These are the thoughts going thru Meg's head.

Seth has come over to take a look at the furnace, bringing back Meg's goats that had escaped their pen, just as what turns out to be the "storm of the century" is beginning. Then the storm downs the power lines in the area. Meg decides that is time to put the upstairs rooms in order. On a closet shelf and pushed way back, Meg finds a mourning sampler. Strange events start happening soon, footprints around the house, a basement window that has been pulled out of place, a downspout that has benn pulled. Nothing major, but something to make everone wonder about. Finding the mourning sampler, which dates back to the late 1700's and who it might have belonged to helps take Meg's mind off the strange events. But with Seth and Bree's help Meg is able to solve this interesting puzzle.

No murder to investigate, but definitely a couple mysteries to be solved.

I really look forward to the next book in this series. Not only does the reader get a well written story, but they also get to learn about the operation of a small orchard.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too much genealogy, not enough cozy mystery!, August 12, 2011
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This review is from: Bitter Harvest (An Orchard Mystery) (Mass Market Paperback)
I really enjoyed Sheila Connolly's earlier books in the 'Orchard' series, but this one had too much genealogy, and not enough cozy mystery.
I was disappointed in this book, I would not have bought it except the others were so good.
This book did not grab my interest from the first page until the last.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Yawn, December 18, 2011
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Chris (New York, NY) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Bitter Harvest (An Orchard Mystery) (Mass Market Paperback)
As an avid fan of this series I was very disappointed in this book. Half way through when I realized the plot was going nowhere I began skimming rather quickly just to finish it. When I have to do that I feel kind of cheated that I wasted money. I'll definitely be reading reviews before purchasing a book in this series again.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars One apple short of a harvest - Okay, but not great cozy, August 22, 2011
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CJ-MO (Missouri, USA) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Bitter Harvest (An Orchard Mystery) (Mass Market Paperback)
Meg Corey loves the family homestead and orchard she inherited and is proud to have her first apple season behind her. She is taking advantage of the off-season to work on her family history and with the help of her orchard manager, Bree, evaluate the finances of the fledgling apple business.

Meg is facing her first New England winter, and there are so many things to fix up on her old home, she doesn't know where to begin. Her furnace quits right when the biggest blizzard in years hits the area. Luckily her neighbor, Seth Chapin, is on hand to help her wait out the storm. While snowbound, Meg finds an antique mourning sampler, possibly made by one of her ancestors. She also makes a not so pleasant discovery - someone appears to be playing pranks on her, and the culprit is getting increasingly daring and dangerous.
There are a few different storylines in this book. While surviving a power outage and snowstorm, Meg is evaluating if she should continue to make a go of the apple business, but this is hard to do since Bree hasn't completed the necessary financial reports. Meg is also examining her feelings and whether or not she wants to pursue a more serious relationship with Seth, a decision complicated by the fact that she and Seth are staying together in Meg's home.

There are also a few mysteries for Meg to solve. After discovering the embroidery sampler, Meg is determined to find more information about its creator, but her research is limited by the power outage and snow-covered roads. Meg also wants to get to the bottom of who is playing pranks, such as destroying her fence and leaving a dead squirrel on her porch, before someone gets hurt. There is a hint of a murder mystery tied to some of Meg's genealogy research, and Meg enthusiastically seeks more information related to the deaths from long ago.

I like the character of Meg, although I don't understand some of her decisions. For example, Meg says Bree is wonderful at handling the daily operation of the orchard, but not much for recordkeeping. Then we learn Meg was formerly a financial analyst, and yet she has put all responsibility for tracking and reviewing the orchard's finances into Bree's hands. Later when Meg's furnace dies, she refuses to go to Seth's house that has a functioning heater, so the two of them suffer through the storm at Meg's ice-cold house.

In addition to some of Meg's puzzling actions, there is some inconsistency in the way the story is told. When Meg first finds the needlework and calls it a sampler, Seth says, "I thought a sampler was where girls tried out different stitches and made alphabets." However, only a few pages later, Seth says he wrote a college paper on "mourning samplers" in New England. This type of contradiction in a book frustrates me. Also, the storyline related to the pranks goes on throughout the most of the book, but it takes a while for Meg to catch on that the events can't be accidental, and it takes even longer for her to do anything to stop them, which becomes tiresome.

"Bitter Harvest" has all the elements of great cozy: a small town setting, a likeable main character with an appealing love interest, and information about a unique hobby or profession. Meg is a strong, independent woman and her relationship with Seth has potential. The apple orchard setting is unique and the genealogical information included as part of this storyline adds interesting historical details and is well-integrated into the story. However, somehow all the ingredients don't come together the way I had hoped, and the book is disappointing.

Chapters go by without any advancement of the plot, and the outcome of the book is fairly predictable, with the exception of one surprise at the end dealing with current actions tied to events from the past. With the orchard business at a standstill for the winter, Meg's genealogical research is the highlight of the book. Most of the book describes the day-to-day details of Meg's life, which makes for a relaxing, but not very exciting read. Readers who enjoy the New England setting of Leslie Meier's Lucy Stone mysteries or Jessica Fletcher/Donald Bain's "Murder She Wrote" series may enjoy paying a visit to Granford, Connecticut, as long as they don't mind a laid back story with minimal action.

This review was originally written for the "Season for Romance" E-Zine. The book was provided to me in exchange for an honest review.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining Reading, September 18, 2011
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This review is from: Bitter Harvest (An Orchard Mystery) (Mass Market Paperback)
I have enjoyed all the books in this series and it is refreshing to see a different story without a dead body. It adds more reality to the series as you would not expect dead bodies to appear all the time. I love the description of the house and one can relate to the ongoing repair work needed to keep the house going. The story surrounding the embroided cloth added to the mystery of the old house and it's past occupants.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars No Murder Mystery and Unbelievable Ending (2 stars), September 3, 2013
This review is from: Bitter Harvest (An Orchard Mystery) (Mass Market Paperback)
I have finally finished all of the "An Orchard Mystery" novels to date and found myself not pleased with this novel or the next one, "Sour Apples".

Readers please ensure that you read the series in order to make sure you don't go into the series completely cold. This newest novel features protagonist Meg finishing up her first harvest of the orchard. "Bitter Harvest" has our main protagonist Meg Corey putting her first harvest behind her. Meg though is staring to wonder about whether she has what it takes to make her orchard profitable as well as if her relationship with Seth Chapin is actually what she needs at this point in her life. Meg is also dealing with a series of mishaps around her home and is starting to wonder if they are truly accidents, or is someone out to get her.

I ended up rating this novel just two stars because the character of Meg has just become exhausting now. Meg's dwindling charm as a character and the fact that this novel has no murder mystery but instead has Meg solving the mystery behind a decades long family massacre does not help matters either. Finally, it really was the too far out there ending that was honestly not deserved that I could not get behind. Had a lot of trepidation about reading "Sour Apples" and after finishing that novel may have to skip "Golden Malicious."

Up until this point in the series I really liked Meg. She seemed a bit quirky and had a definite chip on her shoulder and at times just got on my nerves but I honestly liked her. However, in this novel she got on my nerves with none of her prior charm that made me like her and also just made no sense at all. Meg starts waffling on her life and her relationship with Seth and I was sick of it. Frankly, I don't even understand why she had any angst about Seth. As it is I am starting to feel as if that character is too good for her.

Meg's relationship with Bree is also getting tiresome. Meg's constant griping to Bree to do the books to see if the orchard made a profit made no sense to me. Is that not something that should be done the entire time? I was so confused by that. Also Bree and Meg both have the exact same personality so there was no relief from one or both of them being in a mood.

Also Meg's inability to just take time away from her business to do the bar minimum of fixing up for her home is also getting tiresome. Yes we get it Meg, it costs a lot to fix up your house. However, you have the ability to get money through her last adventure so her crying poor is just not cutting it anymore.

Although there was not a typical murder mystery for Meg to solve, she does take time out to 'solve' the death of a family that her family was related to peripherally. The ending in my opinion was quite lackluster along with the resolution to Meg determining who is behind her accidents.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It wasn't great but it wasn't all that good either, November 15, 2011
This review is from: Bitter Harvest (An Orchard Mystery) (Mass Market Paperback)
I thought I'd be in for a good read. I was quickly loosing interest before I was to the half way mark. I felt the author was more interested in the family history and the sampler. I can't figure how this was a mystery. The so called mystery was the side story.

I was confused about the main character. She lived in Boston prior to moving to the orchard but never experienced a blizzard. She didn't know about the blizzard of '78. You don't live in New England and not know about the blizzard of '78. I was not convinced that she lived in Boston for even a year. All I kept thinking was she is an idiot. This is a simple fact that the author should have taken into consideration.

I figured out the so called mystery, it was someone in town and over the property. I figured it to be John, his wife or mother. Just the way they treated Meg you knew they had to be the ones. But what I didn't expect was the relationship to be that of caregiver of the elderly aunts. I expected to find out the blood relationship would be closer to the aunts.

Then to wrap the entire thing up the writing was not very good. It started off strong but then I felt like I was reading something by some one trying their hand at writing fiction. I'm cool with the fact that the author didn't describe the love making between meg and Seth. But the way she eluded to it I thought I was reading something a teenager wrote and was afraid mom was going to find it.

I think the author has potential but needs to get some practice.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a slightly different New England winter cozy, February 17, 2012
This review is from: Bitter Harvest (An Orchard Mystery) (Mass Market Paperback)
Anyone who has read other books in this orchard series of cozy mysteries will want to read this one, if mainly to see how the first year of Meg's apple harvest turns out. The series is a strong one (my favorite is probably Rotten to the Core), and this one deals with some of Meg's life decisions rather than with finding dead bodies. It will probably appeal to anyone who enjoys old needlework samplers and the family history they preserve. As the author writes in her acknowledgements at the end of this book, it's based on two true events, which made it more meaningful for me. Although I understand that some reviewers found this one lacking in interest, for me it was an interlude in the cycle of the apple harvest and a way to get to know Meg and her friend Seth better. There isn't a lot of "mystery" in it because Meg doesn't seem to have many friendships in her new home yet (apart from Seth and her orchard manager, Bree). I'm hoping that her social life and interests will expand a bit as the series continues. I would only recommend this one as a satisfying read if you've read the others in the series. Without that background, you might be disappointed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pick up this series, August 9, 2011
This review is from: Bitter Harvest (An Orchard Mystery) (Mass Market Paperback)
In Bitter Harvest, her apples have been harvested And Meg Corey is looking forward to a little relaxation and spending more time with Seth Chapin. They get the opportunity to do just that when a storm leaves them stranded at Meg's house. To pass the time, they decide to clean the rooms and discover a sampler that details the tragedies of a family long ago.

Meg wants to discover what really happened to that family, but she has other problems. What first appeared as a string of bad luck now seems to be the actions of someone who has it in for Meg. After she gets locked into her own barn overnight and someone shoots out her kitchen window, Seth and Meg's orchard manager Bree decide to take matters into their own hands and set a trap before someone ends up dead.

I enjoyed that this book varied from the others in the series. There was no work to be done on the orchard, so we were able to concentrate on the relationships Meg has made since moving here and taking over the orchard. The mystery was also very different from those in the earlier books and the way the sampler tied into the rest of the story was a nice touch.
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Bitter Harvest (An Orchard Mystery)
Bitter Harvest (An Orchard Mystery) by Sheila Connolly (Mass Market Paperback - August 2, 2011)
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