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Publisher's Summary

From the internationally best-selling author of The Book of Ruth and A Map of the World, a heartfelt coming-of-age story that Karen Joy Fowler calls "a timeless classic".

Mary Frances "Frankie" Lombard is fiercely in love with her family's sprawling apple orchard and the tangled web of family members who inhabit it. Content to spend her days planning capers with her brother, William, competing with her brainy cousin, Amanda, and expertly tending the orchard with her father, Frankie desires nothing more than for the rhythm of life to continue undisturbed. But she cannot help being haunted by the historical fact that some family members end up staying on the farm and others must leave.

Change is inevitable, and threats of urbanization, disinheritance, and college applications shake the foundation of Frankie's roots. As Frankie is forced to shed her childhood fantasies and face the possibility of losing the idyllic future she had envisioned for her family, she must decide whether loving something means clinging tightly or letting go.

©2016 Jane Hamilton (P)2016 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"A book with so much grace, wit, and resonance - this is one you'll read and reread. I surely did. I laughed, I cried, I pondered, I mourned. I took these characters deeply into my heart. Hamilton at her amazing best. A timeless classic, in its first appearance." (Karen Joy Fowler, best-selling author of We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves and winner of the 2014 PEN/Faulkner Award)
"In The Excellent Lombards, the wonderfully gifted Jane Hamilton explores the lives of a family bound together and driven apart by land, money, and inheritance. How intimately Hamilton understands her heroine's devotion to the apple orchard and how brilliantly she evokes the wages of time." (Margot Livesey, author of The Flight of Gemma Hardy)
" The Excellent Lombards is everything you could ask for in a coming-of-age novel - funny, insightful, observant, saturated with hope and melancholy. Jane Hamilton's novel about a young girl's life on an apple orchard is full of oddball characters and tender scenes that will linger in your memory." (Tom Perrotta, author of Little Children and The Leftovers)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Jean
  • Nunn, CO, United States
  • 05-01-16

Unusual

This is a good tale but unusual. The biggest problem most farm families face today is that no children want to come back/stay on the family farm. This is the story of an extended family all of whom want to lay claim to the orchard. The characters are interesting and well developed.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

To Be a Kid Again

Jane Hamilton did an excellent job of making me feel as if I were on the apple farm and in the family house with sweet, young, Frankie Lombard, her brother, William, and all the complicated and ordinary members of the Lombard family. This poignant coming of age story was full of humor and the complexities of growing up.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Just Delightful and the Narrator was Perfect for the Voice

I just enjoyed it all and couldn't wait till I could take time to listen to it again. I could envision it all so clearly in my mind's eye. I heard the author interview on NPR and decided to get the book. Now I need to check out some of her other books. I think she will be another favorite!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

I hated the performance

I think I would have enjoyed the story if it hadn't been read by someone who thought she was reading to a kindergarten class