"Sometimes you stumble across a treasure when you’re looking for something else entirely."
Number-one New York Times best-selling author Susan Wiggs brings listeners 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 100-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. A place where falling in love is not only possible, but inevitable.
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.
©2013 Susan Wiggs (P)2013 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
The narrator was the only good part of this book. I'll sum up the story (spoiler alert):
First Third of Story: "Woe is me. I'm a type A personality with no close friends or family. My work is everything because I have not met Mr. Right."
Second Third of Story: "I met Mr. Right. There is not one damn thing wrong with him. He is generous, kind, loyal; he makes his own delicious wine and takes care of his oh-so-adorable kids (who overcome my normal distaste for kids) and of course he is instantly in love with me. He is gorgeous and charming and adopts dogs from the shelter. But woe is me. I can't let myself be vulnerable to such an amazing, perfect person. I was so scarred by growing up without a father that of course I never learned as a grown woman to have meaningful adult relationships. Oh - and I found out I have a sister who is also as perfect and as one-dimensional as the man I met."
Final Third: Yay! I have a sister and a boyfriend and I've improved my relationship with my mother. I learned that I can love! I also happened upon $20 million and so I can live happily ever after. Whoopie!"
The only interesting part of this book - which likely consisted of maybe 20 pages - was when the story flashed back to the Danish resistance to German occupation in World War II.
The author also fails to even close some sub-plots, like what happened to the sister when she left for college, why she is so worried about the outside world and how Dominick tried to "save" her.
Poorly written, flat and unrealistic storyline. I've never rolled my eyes so much when listening to an audiobook.
The Apple Orchard by Susan Wiggs is the 1st book of the Bella Vista Chronicles. This is a story of 2 sisters, unknown to each other that are brought together when Magnus, their grandfather and patriarch of Bella Vista falls and lands in a coma.
Tess Delaney, works in the big city for the Sheffield Auction House where she finds lost family treasures and reunites them with their owners. Tess grew up with her grandmother in Ireland knowing nothing about her father and with a mother that was always traveling. But Tess’s life is about to change when Dominic Rossi arrives at the Sheffield Auction House with news that the grandfather she has never known is in a coma and she is named in his will to inherit half of Bella Vista, an apple orchard in a town called Archangel. Her half sister Isabel Johansen will inherit the other half of Bella Vista. But Bella Vista is in financial trouble and about to be foreclosed on.
Ms Wiggs weaves a lovely story of 2 sisters, of new love, of a mother and daughter reuniting and family secrets. As Tess begins to discover a simpler way of life she begins to uncover the mysterious life of her grandfather and his escape from Nazi occupied Denmark and the treasured artifact that could save Bella Vista from foreclosure.
Although the story was predicable I thoroughly enjoyed it, I really did not find any of the character annoying and looking forward to book 2 of the Bella Vista Chronicles - The Beekeeper's Ball.
The audio book was narrated by Christina Traister and on the whole, I enjoyed her narration I found at times I had a hard time distinguishing between Tess and Isabel
I am an avid "reader"- I prefer to listen to books rather than read them due to the added dimension added by the narrator.
The Apple Orchard was somewhere in the middle, given the fact that I've read hundreds of books. But it was an enjoyable read.
Overall, I enjoyed Christina's performance though a few of her male voices were a bit annoying. Her Tess voice gave insight into Tess's personality and I felt she did a good job of this character.
I rather enjoyed coming back to it over and over. I would say that it was a bit predictable… you could pretty much predict the outcome (which I shall not give away). But a good, enjoyable read.
Tess was a not altogether likeable character. However, her weaknesses were developed well by the author. Would recommend at any rate.
Sweet story line. Although it was predictable, I still enjoyed the book. Susan Wiggs always tells a good story, and this book was no exception. The story takes place in Sonoma County and the countryside is just beautiful. The friendships that are born in the story leave the reader with a smile and warm heart. The recipes were a unique twist in the book and make the reader want to try them out. I have to say, at the end of the book I was left smiling.
I listen to and have recently started to write reviews. I've found the reviews have helped me to select books.
The Apple Orchard ranks high among the audiobooks I've listened to so far.
The thing that I liked best about this story was how the author was able to bring a story full circle from WWII to the present. The author weaved the decades back and forth through out the story. She was able to bring the story to a conclusion only by understanding how each character related to the other.
Christina Traister was an excellent narrator. She gave each character a personality. She was able to express the many emotions that the character's felt very well. The story flowed smoothly with her ability to transition in and out of the various voices without so much as an intake of air being heard. I felt that there could not have been a narrator more perfect for this book. She made the book a joy to listen to.
The most memorable character of The Apple Orchard was Annelise. She was a very pivotable character from the beginning of the book until its end. Annelise had just called and talked with Magnus Johansen before he sustained his injury. She had first met Magnus early in his life when he intercepted Annelise as she was running away from the Gestapo. Her mother was being taken into custody when she and Annelise returned from a walk. Her mother kept yelling at her to run. She slipped through one of the soldier's fingers as he attempted to grab her coat. Magnus saw this occurring and as she ran past, he stepped in her path and was able to guide her down the street after calming her down. He was the one who rowed her to her grandmother's home, thus saving her life. Magnus was fourteen at the time and Annelise was ten. Annelise and Magnus would go full circle from that first meeting until the conclusion of the story.
The book was well written. The character development was excellent. I would encourage my friend's to read this book. There was not any part of the book that I felt should have been left out. Susan Wiggs definitely knows how to write an enjoyable book. Yes, it was a love story that enveloped so many people from WWII to the present. It was a book about so many different kinds of love. Mother and daughter, sisters, grandfather, neighbors, children and even a couple's love. I am very glad that I purchased, The Apple Orchard.
This book was a good read. Love, secrets, history, and mystery that made for an interesting book. I would recommend this to any of my friends!
Retired CFO, Army wife, Mom of five, Grandma of six, two sons who served in combat, love to read books that reflect my values and faith, love mysteries, historical, military stories, and books that don't waste my time . . . if it doesn't have an ending that was worth the wait, I'm not a happy camper.
Three generations of secrets, dating back to WWII, when a young boy is robbed of his family and is forced to make a decision . . . what will he live FOR? This is a beautifully woven story of the cruelty suffered by not just the Jewish families, but the brave families that CHOSE to do the RIGHT thing during the war. A story of the youngest children, how they were forced to grow up, long before their time, how they watched their parents and grandparents be torn away from them . . . and still chose to live and fight. It's the story of what happened next . . . and the mistakes that were made along the way . . . the love and secrets that spanned three generations . . . the alienation that resulted and the path back to healing. I had to finish this book in one day . . . could not stop listening . . . and I dare say that LISTENING to this book is the way to go . . . you will almost smell the delicious bread baking in the kitchen . . . the descriptions are so vivid . . . beautifully written and narrated.
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I thoroughly enjoyed this story. Family secrets, history, mystery, and Love....all the characters were well written. The setting was beautiful. Things happen that bring all of them together. Loved Tess, loved her job, never thought about that type of sleuthing before, very interesting. The author did a great job of setting the scene and tying in all the characters in an interesting manner. She knows how to keep you involved. This is a book you could listen to more than once easily. Thoroughly engrossing. I appreciated the narration. She had a difficult job with the variety of accents but she did a good job.
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