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The Orchid House: A Novel Paperback – February 14, 2012

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Editorial Reviews


"A sweeping, poignant saga that will enthrall fans of The House at Riverton, Rebecca, and Downton Abbey." (Shelf Awareness)

"A really fine page-turner." (Elle (Germany))

"Atmospheric, heart-rending, and multilayered." (Grazia (UK))

"Great escapist reading for lovers of historical fiction." (Library Journal)

"Lucinda Riley is one of the most compelling and gifted storytellers working today." (The Paramus Post)

About the Author

Lucinda Riley is the #1 internationally bestselling author of The Orchid House, The Girl on the Cliff, The Lavender Garden, and The Midnight Rose. She lives in London and the English countryside with her husband and four children. Visit her online at

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 449 pages
  • Publisher: Atria Books; Reprint edition (February 14, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781451655780
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451655780
  • ASIN: 1451655789
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1.1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (845 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #19,663 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Lucinda Riley was born in Ireland and wrote her first book aged 24. Her novel 'The Orchid House'(also called 'Hothouse Flower') was selected for the UK's Richard and Judy Bookclub in 2011 and went on to sell 2 million copies worldwide. She is a multiple New York Times bestselling author and has topped the bestseller charts in four European countries.

'The Seven Sisters' is the first of a unique seven book series based allegorically on the mythology of the famous star constellation.

Lucinda's books are translated into 28 languages and published in 38 countries. She lives with her husband and four children on the North Norfolk coast in England and in the South of France.

Customer Reviews

I look forward to reading more of her books.
Shari B
One of those books that you can't put down but are sorry to have it end because you have enjoyed reading it.
Susan J. Richardson
So many interesting story lines and lots of characters with many twists and turns.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

124 of 129 people found the following review helpful By Christina (A Reader of Fictions) on February 14, 2012
Format: Paperback
What an incredibly beautiful story. The lyrical language caught me from the very beginning. Lucinda Riley's novel is impressive, weaving together a tale that spans decades and continents.

Julia, at first, is not the most likable character; she is too lost in her depression, the cause of which you do not know for a while, to be too understandable, at least to someone lacking such an experience. She is actually rather rude to her well meaning family members, pushing away those that would help. But, as she becomes enthralled by the glimpses into the past, she begins to open up, like an orchid perhaps, revealing the bright spirit underneath.

Riley's novel champions love. She definitely seems to believe that real love is out there. However, she also clearly knows that love does not always win out. In fact, love may lose more often than not. Many romances end in tragedy, due to bad timing or a lack of reciprocation. She points out too how passion can blind one, and that love might be more calm than exciting. The variations of love felt by the characters is touching and inspirational and sad.

The historical fiction sections were completely fascinating, not that the modern ones were not. I know absolutely nothing about the WWII occurrences in Thailand. My favorite thing about historical fiction is learning things I previously didn't know. I may need to research this. Also, I now really want to go to Thailand and swim in the ocean.

If you like well-written fiction, do not miss this. Also, this might appeal to Downton Abbey fans.
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75 of 80 people found the following review helpful By Jean Myles on March 25, 2012
Format: Paperback
When I read the first 2 pages of The Orchid House by Lucinda Riley, I was ready to call my friend who supplies me with advanced books for review and yell at her, "You know I don't do romance, why did you send me this?" But instead I read on, and was pleasantly, pleasantly surprised.

The Orchid House is a tale full of twists, surprises, and secrets that take the reader through the past and present, from Thailand to England. Julia Forrester is in the midst of overcoming a tragedy when she stumbles on a considerable family secret. Her grandmother fills in the gaps of their family history which causes turmoil and heartache. Her grandmother's poignant account of Julia's heritage is a compelling account filled with sadness, honor, and love. The parallels between Julia's current situation and those of her ancestors is revealed in an unforced way.

There are really two stories that easily weave into one life altering family narrative. The ending was one of the best parts of the book, don't worry, no spoilers, because it slowly developed into an ending. Rather than a dramatic closure that felt rushed, or the predictable happy ending tied off with a bow, the gradual denouement took some turns I guessed at, but plenty I did not.

I recently started to enjoy historical fiction, and was in love with how Lucinda Riley transported me to war torn Bangkok and to the 1930's, when British society and aristocracy had a huge impact on the country. It was easy to sense how the characters must have felt, and see what the characters must have seen, in those places at those times.

The most amazing aspect of The Orchid House was the character development. Early on I noticed the realistic character interaction and dialogue. As the book continued I felt so much of what the characters felt, from embarrassment to dismay, and from pain to joy. Lucinda Riley made it easy to love some characters, despise others, and feel a connection to everyone in the story.
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By AnneB on March 19, 2012
Format: Paperback
Julia Forrester is recovering from the loss of her husband and young child due to a horrible car accident. She has moved from her home in France back to England where she grew up to be close to her sister. One day she goes to visit the estate that her grandmother and grandfather used to work at, Wharton Park. Julia has many happy memories of being with her grandparents on the estate and watching her grandfather work with exotic orchids. While visiting she encounters the new owner of Wharton Park, Kit Crawford. They discover a hidden diary and work together to find out the secrets of Wharton Park.

I really enjoyed this story. I felt for Julia from the very beginning, she deals with so much pain throughout the story. It was intersting reading about her ups and downs in getting over the death of her family. I really liked how Riley showed Julia's recovery from so much pain, it felt real. I loved Kit from the very beginning and it was obvious that he would be just the person to help Julia through such a difficult time.

This story is filled with lots of secrets from the past and I enjoyed reading Julia's grandmother's account of what happened to Julia's family so many years ago. The story is heartbreaking and emotional and I was very surprised by secrets that were revealed at the end. There are many twists and turns in the book that keep you reading to find out what happens next.

The only problem I had with the book was the writing. While I loved the story, there were times the dialogue was just awful. There were a few times I found myself rolling my eyes at some of the things the characters would say in the book. Some better writing would have really helped make this good story even better.
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