Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Orchardist, by Amanda Coplin

William Talmadge owns an orchard in the Pacific Northwest, one he started with his mother and sister.  His mother has died, and his sister has disappeared, so he has settled into the life of a loner.  When two ferrell teenage girls start showing up on his property, he feels himself drawn to them.  He begins to take care of them, and the course of his life, and theirs, is forever changed.  The girls, Jane and Della, are running from their former lives, both pregnant and fearful.  A series of tragedies follows, forcing William to adjust his life and his view of family.

I was absolutely fascinated by this book.  It was written in such an aching, poignant manner, I could not help but be completely drawn into the story.  Often, I tend to rocket through books, desperate to see where the story goes next.  But in this instance, I savored each page of this book.  The story was just so lovely, I did not want it to end.  The action covers a great span of years, and the whole picture develops slowly and subtly

I completely fell in love with William Talmadge as a character, which is unusual.  I usually do not connect so intensely with male protagonists, but there was just something about the gentle and caring spirit that William possessed.  Della, on the other hand, frightened me.  She never totally shed that wild nature.  I was always afraid of her, and afraid for her.

Incredibly difficult subject matter is covered in this story.  Rape, child prostitution, abuse, attempted murder, suicide, all set against the backdrop of a country during great growth and expansion.  The world is chancing, William's life is changing, and a lot of realities must be faced.  It would be easy to peg this story as morose, and dark, if one chose not to look for the light.  But if you look at this book with unveiled eyes, you will see a tremendous story full of light and love.

I received a review copy courtesy of TLC Book Tours in exchange for my honest review.  See the rest of the tour here.

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