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The Promise of Pierson Orchard Paperback – April 22, 2017
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"The Promise of Pierson Orchard is a wonderful read, compelling, and surprising, and sparkling with insight. I devoured it in a single afternoon, and my guess is that you will do the same. Or you may decide to savor Kate Brandes's fine writing over time. Either way, I envy you the treat of reading it fresh."
- Robin Black, award-winning author of LIFE DRAWING
"Kate Brandes' beautifully crafted story maps the town of Minden, PA with compassion and insight. Her characters feel as real as people you know, and as their lives are tested, broken, and patched together, she evokes the enduring bonds that tie us to our families, our communities, and nature itself. This is a lovely, stirring novel. "
- Alix Ohlin, highly acclaimed author of THE MISSING PERSON and BABYLON and OTHER STORIES
"Capably following in the footsteps of Barbara Kingsolver's Prodigal Summer, Kate Brandes marries flora and family in The Promise of Pierson Orchard to craft an unmistakable sense of place in an evolving environment. This paean to pastoral roots torn asunder by capitalist yearnings is equal parts promise and prediction for our fast-changing future."
--Ellen Urbani, author of LANDFALL and WHEN I WAS ELENA
"The Promise of Pierson Orchard is a well-tended story about two brothers who love the same girl and were disappointed by the same woman-their mother. When life brings them all back together again, old wounds are re-opened and regrets bubble to the surface. As sweet and tart as the apples grown in an orchard so vivid I felt as if I had been there, this novel is sure to please fans of family-driven fiction."
-Catherine McKenzie, bestselling author of HIDDEN and FRACTURED
"Newcomer Kate Brandes delivers honest, shades-of-gray storytelling in The Promise of Pierson Orchard. This is a nuanced tale about the rise of poison in one fractured family, and how high-pressure situations can clarify what's most important to us. You'll remember these complex characters long after you've finished the book."
-- Therese Walsh, author of THE MOON SISTERS and THE LAST WILL OF MOIRA LEAHY
"Brandes checks off all the boxes for quality fiction: the characters are well-rounded, the settings, such as the apple orchards, the crisp Silver Creek, and the rocky outcrops, are vividly described, and the plot is well-organized and crisply paced. The tension between the characters satisfyingly rises to a crescendo that's in sync with the larger environmental crisis that threatens the town." - KIRKUS REVIEWS
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Top Customer Reviews
The book takes place in a rural area where farming is a way of life. The main character, Jack Pierson, runs an apple orchard that he inherited from his father – a man who was not a caring man. His mother left early in his life and it left Jack severely emotionally stunted. His wife LeeAnn has recently left Jack because of a myriad of reasons but mostly because of his inability to understand her drive for a child. She is willing to do anything while he just didn’t get how much she wanted a baby. She is also experimenting with organic apple growing which Jack doesn’t understand; why change what has worked for years? And her mother is dying.
Jack has a brother, Wade, who left town after their father died (he accidentally killed him) – but he’s now back in town as the representative of a gas company. He’ trying to get drilling rights from the people in town so that his company can start fracking. To complete this circle, Jack and Wade’s mother has established herself since her absence from their lives as an environmental lawyer – with a particular knowledge of Wade’s company.
There are a number of subplots going on in the book involving relationships past and present and Ms. Brandes does a good job of making them easy to follow. She also educates her readers without bogging them down with too much technical jargon and gives them what they need to delve further into the fracking issue if they want to learn more. Each character is unique and well developed. If you enjoy family drama with an environmental twist you will definitely find your bliss with this book.
I received a free copy for my honest review
A multi-generational family finds themselves conflicted as they debate the best future for their land and orchard when Green Energy offers to lease property in their town, promising financial relief, but also bringing the risks of drilling for natural gas: destruction of the land they love. I consider myself a friend of the environment, so the story appealed to me. At the same time, I appreciated that the story was not a one-sided, predictable description of the damage done by drilling. Instead, it was a balanced telling of both sides of the story. It was thought-provoking and well done.
My favorite aspect of the book was the family tension. Sibling relationships and rivalries make for very strong storytelling. Add in a love triangle, and you’ve got me hooked!
Jack was my favorite character. I love strong, brooding leading men. I related to his suffering and felt his abandonment (by both his wife and his mother, at different times in his life). I don’t know if finding solace through violence is an exclusively American concept, but when Jack fought, I felt like I understood why he was doing it.
This book was a very smart, enjoyable read. I’ll remember this story a long time.