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October 18, 2012 / Leslie

Review – Audiobook: The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin

The Orchardist
by Amanda Coplin
Narrated by Mark Bramhall

Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Harper Audio
Publish Date: August 21, 2012
Format: Audio, 14 hours | 29 minutes
Audio Listening Level: Intermediate
Rating: 2½ of 5

William Talmadge is a quiet, reclusive man who keeps to himself spending his days tending an apple orchard on a small piece of land in the Pacific Northwest. He is a man with a troubled past, one that he rarely speaks about, but the memories haunt him. His sister went missing when she was a young girl and was never found.

One day he observes two teenage girls stealing the fruit he has harvested for market. Pregnant and scared they hide from him but later return for more food. Talmadge, not knowing their story but feeling sympathy for the young, frightened girls, allows them to remain on his land. He is happy to provide them safety, but someone is searching for them and wants them back. Soon men show up at the orchard and demand Talmadge turn them over only to set off a chain of horrifying events.

This is not a happy story. It is mostly bleak, depressing and filled with despair. The plot moves along slowly, often boringly so. There were occasional bright spots in the lovely descriptive language of the beauty of the landscape and the wonder of the orchard, but even that was often way too lengthy and made the story drag.

It was a struggle at times to keep going but I had read positive reviews and was hoping the story would pick up the pace. I continued listening and it did get more interesting but unfortunately it only got more depressing. In the end, while I understood some of their motivations, I didn’t feel a connection with any of the characters.

The audio was read by Mark Bramhall in an unemotional, almost bland, tone. I assume this was meant to depict the seriousness and bleakness of story but the result was to make it feel longer than the 14½ hours it took to listen to this book. I don’t have a problem with long audiobooks; I’ve listened to a few in 20+ hour range and the time flew by, but this felt long.

This book was not a good fit for me. I can handle troubled characters and a story filled with despair, but I prefer a faster pace and a less verbose writing style. Other reviewers have enjoyed this book so don’t rely on only my experience when making a decision.

A few other opinions:
Leeswammes’ Blog
write meg!

Have you read this book? If you have a review, leave me the link.

Source: Review copy.
© 2012 Under My Apple Tree. All rights reserved.


Leave a Comment
  1. Leeswammes / Oct 18 2012 10:01 am

    What a pity you didn’t like it better! Maybe it would have been better to read this rather than listen to it. Reading it I thought it was fine, terribly long-winded.


    • Leslie / Oct 18 2012 10:34 am

      I think your right, reading would have been better… for me anyway. The narrator read at a slow, even pace, and I know I would have read at a faster clip.


  2. Suko / Oct 18 2012 11:34 am

    The pacing of this audiobook was too slow for your liking. Thanks for your honest review, Leslie.


  3. BermudaOnion / Oct 18 2012 2:51 pm

    I started this audio and the narration was so slow it drove me to distraction. I set it aside and give you much credit for finishing it. I will try it in print.


    • Leslie / Oct 18 2012 3:04 pm

      Go for the print! The audio won’t get any better, the pacing stays the same throughout.


  4. Diane@BibliophilebytheSea / Oct 19 2012 5:48 am

    OH NO! I definitely will read my eGalley instead of Going audio.


  5. Patti Smith / Oct 19 2012 6:40 am

    See, these are exactly the kinds of things we need to know 🙂 I’ve been finding out that audio for me is best with slow savory kinds of books…once the action picks up, it makes me nuts to listen to it bc I want the narrator to hurry up! I’ve tried the speed up setting on my Iphone but that just makes the narrator sound like a chipmunk and obviously takes away from the story 😦
    I have The Orchardist on my to read list, but I won’t rush into it anytime soon. Thanks for the honest review!


  6. sagustocox / Oct 19 2012 8:00 am

    I think this is one that I would read in print only. But I do like bleak books.


  7. Meg / Oct 19 2012 12:34 pm

    Sorry to hear you didn’t enjoy this one! I agree that it was often very depressing — that made it hard to stick with at times. But I was so enthralled with the language that I couldn’t set it aside. I’m sure the monotone narrator didn’t help!


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