Title: The Promise of Pierson Orchard by Kate Brandes
Publisher: Wyatt-MacKenzie Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Women’s Fiction
Length: 288 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Author
Long before fracking ever came to Minden, Pennsylvania, the fissures in the Pierson family were developing into major fault lines.
Green Energy arrives, offering the rural community of Minden the dream of making more money from their land by leasing natural gas rights for drilling. But orchardist, Jack Pierson, fears his brother, Wade, who now works for Green Energy, has returned to town after a twenty-year absence so desperate to be the hero that he’ll blind their hometown to the potential dangers. Jack also worries his brother will try to rekindle his relationship with LeeAnn, Jack’s wife, who’s recently left him. To protect his hometown and to fulfill a promise to himself, Jack seeks out his mother and environmental lawyer, Stella Brantley, who abandoned Minden—and Jack and Wade—many, many years ago.
The Promise of Pierson Orchard by Kate Brandes is an enthralling family drama that also provides an insightful look into fracking.
Jack Pierson is stunned to learn his long estranged brother has returned to their small town as a representative of Green Energy. Wade’s return is business motivated since Green Energy is interested in purchasing land leases so they can frack for natural gas. Jack is worried about the long term effects of fracking on the family orchard and other people’s property, so he decides to turn to environmental lawyer Stella Brantley for advice. Stella is more than just a lawyer; she is the mother who abandoned Jack and Wade thirty years ago. What effect will Stella’s return have on the town? And will her reappearance in her sons’ lives help mend the rift between them?
In the wake of a tragedy, Wade left town and never looked back. Not once in his twenty year absence has he contacted Jack or his former girlfriend LeeAnn, who is now Jack’s wife. He carefully planned his return to Minden and he hopes his connection to the town will sway its residents in favor of signing the land leases with Green Energy. Wade is also hoping he to resume his relationship with LeeAnn but his plans where his brother are concerned are a little murky.
Embittered and holding onto past hurts, Jack would like nothing more than to fix the mistake he made long ago. This desire to repair his relationship with Wade is at the heart of his decision to reach out to Stella but his plan is not very well thought out. Jack is also desperately trying to reconcile with LeeAnn but she is not at all receptive to his efforts. He soon loses hope his marriage can be saved once he becomes aware that Wade and LeeAnn are spending time together. Jack has never dealt with the events from his childhood and this becomes a huge issue when trying to reconcile with LeeAnn.
LeeAnn blames Jack for their problems and she has given up on him and their marriage. She immediately shuts down his tentative attempts to reach out to her and with Wade’s return, she becomes even more resistant to fixing their problems. It takes very little effort for Wade to woo her but LeeAnn soon regrets her decision to spend time with him. By the time LeeAnn realizes she is equally responsible for the troubles in her marriage, an unexpected complication might end any chance for a reconciliation between her and Jack.
As the situation between Jack, Wade and LeeAnn reaches a crescendo, Jack’s fears about fracking come to fruition. Stella’s efforts to protect the land owners from the effects of fracking cause added tension between her and Wade. At the same time, her relationship with Jack is improving but progress is slow with occasional setbacks. Will Wade find it in his heart to forgive Stella for abandoning him? Will Jack and LeeAnn figure out how to move past their hurt and anger in order to save their marriage?
The Promise of Pierson Orchard is a beautiful novel of redemption and forgiveness. Although the characters are deeply flawed and sometimes difficult to like, readers will become invested in their efforts to repair their fractured relationships. Kate Brandes does an excellent job presenting both the pros and cons of fracking and its effects on the environment. I highly recommend this heartfelt and engaging contemporary novel to fans of contemporary women’s fiction.