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Publisher's Summary

"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.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

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  • Story
  • Alexis
  • SAN FRANCISCO, CA, United States
  • 08-09-14

Cliche Storyline With One-Dimensional Characters

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.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Debbie
  • Toney, Alabama
  • 05-14-13

1940s Jewish Persecution to Sonoma Valley Now

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.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Excellent Book!

I enjoyed the performance just as much as the story itself. It was very intriguing and I'd enjoy listening to it again!

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Story

Good food, Good wine, Good story

Three generations of families intertwined in a most complex way are sorted out by this gifted story teller. Wiggs evokes the atmosphere of each place the story visits including Denmark during the Nazi occupation and present day San Francisco and Sonoma County California. I was roped in from the very beginning . The plot is complex but clearly unfolds and the mysteries keep unfolding until the very last chapter. I am so excited to have discovered this prolific author and am hopeful her other novels have the same tension, drama and interesting characters as The Apple Orchard. The Delicious sounding apple recipes that open each chapter remind me of the Nero Wolfe mysteries and his gourmet chef.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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A great listen...

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes, it was a book I had to keep listening too. My iphone sat by the sewing machine, plugged into my car, and went wherever else I was so I could just keep listening.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Lovely, Interesting Story

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Charming

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

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • DIANE
  • Thornhill,, Ontario, Canada
  • 12-16-13

Loved the recipes as much as the book

Where does The Apple Orchard rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

The Apple Orchard was somewhere in the middle, given the fact that I've read hundreds of books. But it was an enjoyable read.

What about Christina Traister’s performance did you like?

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.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

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.

Any additional comments?

Tess was a not altogether likeable character. However, her weaknesses were developed well by the author. Would recommend at any rate.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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FROM THE START, not feeling it!

Any additional comments?

I've read/listened to other stories with recipes who listed them at the end of the book, like the Sweet Potato Queens. This one immediately started giving a recipe before even starting the story!!! I had to stop and go back to read the story synopsis to determine if I mistakenly purchased a cookbook or story book. I may go back later to try and get past it, but right now, starting that way, I'm just not feeling it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Ruined.

What would have made The Apple Orchard better?

First, the story isn't good, very formulaic and predictable. But worse than that - the female narrator using a mans voice. Awful - I can't even take it seriously. It's difficult listening to this book.

Would you ever listen to anything by Susan Wiggs again?

No

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Christina Traister?

She's fine. Hire a man to do male parts.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful