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The Apple Orchard Hardcover – April 30, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Tess Delaney is a provenance specialist at an auction house. In addition to authenticating antique treasures, one of her specialties is locating works of art stolen by Nazis and returning them to their rightful owners. Her professional life is busy, but Tess lacks roots. She has no family except a usually absent mother, and her friendships tend to be superficial. Then the impossible happens. Tess is named heir to one half of an estate in Archangel, a small town in Sonoma County, California. The other half goes to a sister Tess never knew she had. Suddenly, she has family, and she’s not sure how to deal with it. Wiggs, who is known for her insightful, emotion-filled women’s fiction (The Ocean between Us, 2004; Table for Five, 2005), has again written a tale with universal appeal. The background story of the Danish resistance as well as recipes from that part of the world are a nice touch, and add depth and atmosphere to Tess’ story. --Shelley Mosley


"The most storied of fruits is done incredible justice here...Susan Wiggs's novel, The Apple Orchard, is sweet, crisp and juicy." – Elin Hilderbrand, author of Beautiful Day

"Wiggs tells a layered, powerful story of love, loss, hope and redemption." -Kirkus, Starred Review

"This brilliant and epic family drama...fills the senses...courtesy of Wiggs' amazing narrative and supreme skill as a writer." -RT Book Reviews, Top Pick!

"Wiggs, who is known for
her insightful, emotion-filled women's fiction, has again written a tale with universal appeal. The background story of the Danish resistance as well as recipes from that part of the world are a nice touch, and add depth and atmosphere to Tess' story." -Booklist, on The Apple Orchard

"This is classic Wiggs, with its emphasis on the strength of family and friends, and a landscape integral to the plot."
–Publishers Weekly on The Apple Orchard

"Wiggs is one of our best observers of stories of the heart. She knows how to capture emotion on virtually every page of every book."

-Salem Statesman-Journal

"Rich with life lessons, nod-along moments and characters with whom readers can easily relate. Delightful and wise, Wiggs's latest shines."

-Publishers Weekly on Dockside

"With the ease of a master, Wiggs introduces complicated, flesh-and-blood characters into her idyllic but identifiable small-town setting...."

-Publishers Weekly, starred review, on The Winter Lodge

"Wiggs explores many aspects of grief, from guilt to anger to regret, imbuing her book with the classic would've/could've/should've emotions...another excellent title to her already-outstanding body of work."

-Booklist, starred review, on Table for Five

"Susan Wiggs paints the details of human relationships with the finesse of a master."

-Jodi Picoult

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Harlequin MIRA; First Edition edition (April 30, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0778314936
  • ISBN-13: 978-0778314936
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.3 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (917 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #527,994 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Related Media

More About the Author

Susan Wiggs's life is all about family, friends...and fiction. She's been featured in the national media, including NPR's Talk of the Nation, and is a popular speaker locally and nationally.

From the very start, her writings have illuminated the everyday dramas of ordinary people. At the age of eight, she self-published her first novel, entitled "A Book About Some Bad Kids."

Today, she is an international best-selling, award-winning author, with millions of copies of her books in print in numerous countries. Her recent novel, Marrying Daisy Bellamy, took the #1 spot on the New York Times Bestseller List, and The Lakeshore Chronicles have won readers' hearts around the globe. Her books celebrate the power of love, the timeless bonds of family and the fascinating nuances of human nature.

She lives with her husband and family at the water's edge on an island in the Pacific Northwest, where she divides her time between sleeping and waking.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

75 of 78 people found the following review helpful By Leslie VINE VOICE on May 1, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Tess Delaney works at The Sheffield Auction House tracking down stolen art and heirlooms and restoring them to their rightful owners. At only twenty-nine, she is already a success in her field.

On the verge of a promotion she is jolted by the news that a grandfather she didn't know existed has had an accident and is in a coma. If he dies, Tess will inherit half of Bella Vista, his apple orchard. The other portion will go to Isabel, a half-sister she never knew she had.

This shocking news was delivered by her grandfather's banker, Dominic Rossi. He convinces her to take a few days off to visit Bella Vista and her newly discovered family. It wasn't difficult to resist Dominic who was very persuasive and drop-dead gorgeous. She couldn't reach her mother, who wasn't returning her calls, so she agreed to the trip. Once she arrived she discovered there were more than a few old family secrets and that Bella Vista was on the verge of foreclosure.

I was not expecting to enjoy this book as much as I did, but within a few chapters I was immersed in the beautiful setting, rich with detail and vivid descriptions. The characters are well-developed and likeable. Tess is a strong, independent woman and easy to relate to. In contrast, Isabel is more family oriented and an accomplished cook. Mealtime at Bella Vista was filled with descriptive images of food and I could almost smell the breakfast muffins and taste pasta sauce for dinner. The ten sections of the book each begin with one of her recipes, a bonus for those of us who enjoy cooking.

Most of the story takes place in the present day at Bella Vista with occasional flashbacks to World War II where the story of Tess's grandfather, Magnus, unfolds.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Tooncesmom TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 30, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Set in beautiful Sonoma county, this is a story of friendship, love and memories.

San Francosco-based Tess Delaney restores stolen treasures to their rightful owners, a vocation at which she is very good and from which she derives immense satisfaction. Often her finds lead her to heirlooms lost during the Nazi occupation of Europe. One such example is a necklace that belonged to Annaliese Winther's mother. The impoverished elderly woman refuses to sell it despite knowing the money received could substantially improve her life. But to Annaliese, possessing the necklace means more; its value is in the memories.

Memories and traces of memories are all Tess has of her own childhood--a father she never met and a mother whose travel left her with her grandmother, a memorable Irish woman who owned a second-hand shop in Dublin. When she discovers she's been left half of a one hundred-acre apple orchard in the town of Archangel, she is puzzled. Even more puzzling is that the other half of Bella Vista has been left to Isabel Johansen, a half sister she never knew she had.

Tess travels to Bella Vista to dispose of the estate, but something magical begins to unfold. As she spends time there, she begins to experience many things, the simple pleasures of family and wonderful food, the haunting beauty of Sonoma county and a world where the roots of history run deep. Here, she's reminded of something Annaliese said: if you don't believe memories are worth more than money, then perhaps you've not made the right kind of memories.

As she begins to learn about her grandfather Magnus and his escape from Nazi occupied Europe, searching for information about him becomes a driving force in her quest.
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37 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Cheryl Koch VINE VOICE on May 2, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Tess Delaney makes finding old artifacts and turning them into treasures her job. Tess receives a shock when she finds out she has a grandfather. Not only a grandfather but also a half sister. In addition that she is has just inherited half of Bella Vista.

Tess takes time off work to visit her half sister and Bella Vista. Tess meets Dominic in the process. Tess and her half sister find some old letters. They uncover their family history.

The Apple Orchard is a charming, fast read. All the apple recipes in this book were a nice surprise as well. They had my mouth watering. However I could not spend too much time reading them as I wanted to get back to the story. Now that I am done with this book I can go back and try them out.

In the beginning I was not feeling Tess. I thought she needed to loosen up. However as the story progressed I did warm up to her and thought she and Dominic made a nice couple. The romance between them was on the sweet side. As I got closer to the end of the story, I became more interested in the past and where Tess's grandfather came from. The Apple Orchard is as good as taking a bite out of a nice, crisp apple.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Michelle James on May 1, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Tess Delaney considers her life well planned out - she is up for a substantial promotion, has great friends, an apartment she enjoys - everything, except the closeness of family. Her mother Shannon traveled while Tess's grandmother raised her. She never met her father and didn't have an inkling who he was. Tess, like the women in her family before her, felt she didn't need a permanent relationship with a man. On the morning of a very important meeting with her boss to discuss her promotion, her life changes forever in ways she could not have imagined. Dominic Rossi, an attorney for the grandfather she didn't know she had, showed up in her office and informed her that her grandfather Magnus Johansen was in a coma and she had been named in his will and needed to come back with him to Archangel, a small town in the Sonoma country. There were so many unanswered questions and Tess didn't want any interruptions to her life. She certainly wasn't interested in traipsing off with a strange man to her grandfather's orchard when she had such a rewarding job in San Francisco.
Tess is confronted with many unsettling issues after she arrives in Archangel, but she doesn't want to stay to sort through them. However, as each day goes by, she is more drawn to the life she discovered there.
The characters were extremely well developed, and the plot had many twists and turns. My mind wandered back Archangel, Tess, and the other characters long after I finished the last page. I highly recommend this book.
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