Title: The Apple Orchard by Susan Wiggs
Bella Vista Chronicles Book One
Imprint: Harlequin MIRA
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 432 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
“Sometimes you stumble across a treasure when you’re looking for something else entirely.”
#1 New York Times bestselling author Susan Wiggs brings readers 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 hundred-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.
The perfect mix of past and present, Susan Wiggs The Apple Orchard is an intriguing modern day family saga that is rich with fascinating historic details. It is a beautifully written romance that is compelling and heartwarming and will leave readers eagerly anticipating the next installment of the Bella Vista series.
Antique treasure hunter Tess Delaney is on the fast track with her career when she receives stunning family news. Raised by her single mother and beloved grandmother, Tess knows little about her family history and she is shocked to learn that she has a grandfather and a half-sister living in Archangel on the family apple orchard, Bella Vista. This discovery will expose long held secrets that span back to World War II and her grandparents’ experiences in Nazi occupied Denmark during World War II. Tess will also embark on an exciting search for a missing family heirloom that will challenge some of her long held beliefs and alter the course of her life.
The characters in The Apple Orchard are vibrant and multi-dimensional. Tess has a distant relationship with her mother and she is career driven with very little personal life. Her half-sister Isabel is devoted to their grandfather, but there are hints that there is a tragedy of some sort in her past. Tess’s love interest Dominic is absolutely wonderful. He is a divorced single dad of two adorable kids and he is unquestionably loyal to Tess’s grandfather Magnus. Although Magnus is seen only briefly, he is a larger than life character that is quite extraordinary.
The Apple Orchard is told from multiple perspectives and current events are interspersed with flashbacks from the past. The story arc concerning Magnus and his involvement with the Danish resistance is quite intriguing and full of interesting information. The details surrounding Tess’s parents’ relationship is revealed through flashbacks from her mother’s point of view and reveals essential information that proves crucial in their search for the missing heirloom.
In The Apple Orchard, Susan Wiggs masterfully weaves a captivating novel about love, family and discovering what is truly important in life. An absolutely delightful romance that is full of exciting twists and turns and unexpected personal connections that will delight readers and leave them aching to spend more time with this inspiring family.