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May 1, 2013 / Leslie

Review: The Apple Orchard by Susan Wiggs

The Apple Orchard by Susan WiggsThe Apple Orchard
by Susan Wiggs

Genre: Women’s Fiction
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
Publish Date: April 30, 2013
Format: Hardcover | 432 pages
Rating: 5 of 5

Tess Delaney works at The Sheffield Auction House tracking down stolen art and heirlooms and restoring them to their rightful owners. At only twenty-nine, she is already a success in her field.

On the verge of a promotion she is jolted by the news that a grandfather she didn’t know existed has had an accident and is in a coma. If he dies, Tess will inherit half of Bella Vista, his apple orchard. The other portion will go to Isabel, a half-sister she never knew she had.

This shocking news was delivered by her grandfather’s banker, Dominic Rossi. He convinces her to take a few days off to visit Bella Vista and her newly discovered family. It wasn’t difficult to resist Dominic who was very persuasive and drop-dead gorgeous. She couldn’t reach her mother, who wasn’t returning her calls, so she agreed to the trip. Once she arrived she discovered there were more than a few old family secrets and that Bella Vista was on the verge of foreclosure.

I was not expecting to enjoy this book as much as I did, but within a few chapters I was immersed in the beautiful setting, rich with detail and vivid descriptions. The characters are well-developed and likeable. Tess is a strong, independent woman and easy to relate to. In contrast, Isabel is more family oriented and an accomplished cook. Mealtime at Bella Vista was filled with descriptive images of food and I could almost smell the breakfast muffins and taste pasta sauce for dinner. The ten sections of the book each begin with one of her recipes, a bonus for those of us who enjoy cooking.

Most of the story takes place in the present day at Bella Vista with occasional flashbacks to World War II where the story of Tess’s grandfather, Magnus, unfolds. After his parents were taken away by the Gestapo, he became involved in the Danish Resistance and helped relocate Jewish people to Sweden. Eventually the stories in the past and present unite and the search for a valuable treasure owned by Magnus’ family heats up.

Against the beautiful backdrop of Bella Vista, Tess begins to fall in love with Dominic. The atmosphere is romantic, but the romance is always in the background and never overpowering. Tess begins to understanding the meaning of family and memories, something that has been missing from her life.

This is an easy read and at the same time complex and captivating. A charming story, it’s the first in a new series. I’m already looking forward to the next installment.

Source: Review copy.
© 2013 Under My Apple Tree. All rights reserved.



Leave a Comment
  1. irene / May 1 2013 1:14 pm

    Sounds like a good read.


  2. BermudaOnion / May 1 2013 3:25 pm

    I’ve read a couple of Wiggs’ books and loved them both – she writes with a lot of emotion. I’ll have to look for this one.


  3. Mary / May 1 2013 7:45 pm

    I’ve enjoyed several SW books so I’m adding this to my list. Sounds like a good one!


  4. Mystica / May 2 2013 4:49 am

    I like the sound of this one.


  5. Beth F / May 2 2013 6:20 am

    I’ve been curious about this one, but I’m not totally convinced it’s for me — except for the food parts. LOL.


  6. Leeswammes / May 2 2013 8:04 am

    I would think this book would be a bit too romancy for me but after your review, I think I might like this as well as you did! One for the wishlist.


  7. Julie Zeronda (@JMZPR) / May 2 2013 10:58 am

    So glad you enjoyed it, Leslie! It’s my first from Susan and one of my favorite books so far this year! (P.S. I have extra copies if anybody wants an ARC, feel free to email/tweet me)


  8. Suko / May 2 2013 12:13 pm

    Isn’t it grand when you enjoy a book more than you thought you would?! Your review and five star rating make me want to read this one, too! 🙂


  9. Diane / May 3 2013 6:05 am

    Have not read this author in years, but it sounds like a terrific summer kick.


  10. Anna (Diary of an Eccentric) / May 5 2013 11:33 am

    I’ll be reading this one soon, so I’m glad to see you liked it so much and that romance doesn’t overshadow the rest of the story. Great review!



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