Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Orchardist

Author: Amanda Coplin
Goodreads Rating: 3.73
Pages: 426
Format: Finished Copy for TLC Blog Tour

Set in the untamed American West, a highly original and haunting debut novel about a makeshift family whose dramatic lives are shaped by violence, love, and an indelible connection to the land"The Orchardist is like one of its characters: 'an egg encased in iron'-an elemental story filled with the perfection of the natural world. Nearly everybody in the book compels your admiration, either for their courage or for the heavy work they do, all the time and without complaint, even when wicked men are hunting them. Transfixing. I love this book straight through."-Salvatore Scibona, author of National Book Award Finalist The End
You belong to the earth, and the earth is hard.
At the turn of the twentieth century, in a rural stretch of the Pacific Northwest in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains, a solitary orchardist named Talmadge carefully tends the grove of fruit trees he has cultivated for nearly half a century. A gentle, solitary man, he finds solace and purpose in the sweetness of the apples, apricots, and plums he grows, and in the quiet, beating heart of the land-the valley of yellow grass bordering a deep canyon that has been his home since he was nine years old. Everything he is and has known is tied to this patch of earth. It is where his widowed mother is buried, taken by illness when he was just thirteen, and where his only companion, his beloved teenaged sister Elsbeth, mysteriously disappeared. It is where the horse wranglers-native men, mostly Nez Perce-pass through each spring with their wild herds, setting up camp in the flowering meadows between the trees.
One day, while in town to sell his fruit at the market, two girls, barefoot and dirty, steal some apples. Later, they appear on his homestead, cautious yet curious about the man who gave them no chase. Feral, scared, and very pregnant, Jane and her sister Della take up on Talmadage's land and indulge in his deep reservoir of compassion. Yet just as the girls begin to trust him, brutal men with guns arrive in the orchard, and the shattering tragedy that follows sets Talmadge on an irrevocable course not only to save and protect them, putting himself between the girls and the world, but to reconcile the ghosts of his own troubled past.
Writing with breathtaking precision and empathy, Amanda Coplin has crafted an astonishing debut novel about a man who disrupts the lonely harmony of an ordered life when he opens his heart and lets the world in. Transcribing America as it once was before railways and roads connected its corners, she weaves a tapestry of solitary souls who come together in the wake of unspeakable cruelty and misfortune, bound by their search to discover the place they belong. At once intimate and epic, evocative and atmospheric, filled with haunting characters both vivid and true to life, and told in a distinctive narrative voice, The Orchardist marks the beginning of a stellar literary career.

I had my sights on this book since I saw that it was going to be featured at BEA12, last year. Sadly I missed it while it was there, but got a second chance at reading this book when TLC was hosting a tour for it. This was a historical fiction that sounded interesting. A man who takes in two young women who are pregnant in on his Orchard.

This book was a departure from what what I have been reading recently. Not just in terms of the genre and plot, but also in terms of the writing and the structure. At first I wasn't sure if I could even continue with the story because I wasn't a fan of the style. I didn't like how the story went off on tangents that I didn't feel were pertinent to the story.

I also was not a fan of the lack of quotation marks around speech. This happens to be a huge pet peeve of mine because not only did it fail to break the book up to rest my eyes, but it also confused things. There was a point near the end of the book where I had to re-read the scene a few times because I couldn't quite grasp what was happening in the scene.

The plot wasn't exactly what I thought it was going to be. The synopses gives you the impression that the book will cover the stay of the girls at the Orchard, but instead it covered a span of more than 25 years starting with the girls arrival in the town. On one hand I really enjoyed that we got to see the whole journey, we got to see the arrival of the girls into town and the birth of their children and they journey as the children grew up. There was so much to the story, that I loved that rather than only get a snipped, we really got everything, we got to know about the girls and where they came from and where they ended up.

The cast of characters were all so wonderful and unique, I adored getting to know Caroline, Talmadge, Jane, and Della. There were times that I really detested some of the characters, but that comes with the story, and if everyone was perfect, then the story would have no point because it wouldn't have gone anywhere. It was beautifully written and a real treat to get to enjoy.
The Courts Decision:



  1. that would be an awesome book review i'll going to get this one

  2. I loved this book. THANKS for your thoughts.

    I found you on the TLC tour list for the Dorthea Benton books.


    Silver's Reviews
    My Blog

  3. This was a beautifully written book to be sure! It wasn't at all what I'd expected, and even months after reading it I still don't know exactly how I feel about it.

    Thanks for being a part of the tour. I'm featuring your review on TLC's Facebook page today.



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