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The Apple Orchard

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Tess Delaney makes a living returning stolen treasures to their rightful owners. She loves illuminating history, filling the spaces in people's hearts with stories of their family legacies. But Tess's own history is filled with gaps: a father she never met, and a mother who spent more time traveling than with her daughter. Then Dominic Rossi arrives on the doorstep of the Tess Delaney makes a living returning stolen treasures to their rightful owners. She loves illuminating history, filling the spaces in people's hearts with stories of their family legacies. But Tess's own history is filled with gaps: a father she never met, and a mother who spent more time traveling than with her daughter. Then Dominic Rossi arrives on the doorstep of the San Francisco shop Tess hopes to buy, and he tells her that the grandfather she never knew is in a coma. Tess 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 hadn't heard of. Isabel is everything Tess isn't: all softness to Tess's hard angles, warm and nurturing where Tess is tightly wound. But against the rich landscape of Bella Vista, with Isabel and Dominic by her side, 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.


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Tess Delaney makes a living returning stolen treasures to their rightful owners. She loves illuminating history, filling the spaces in people's hearts with stories of their family legacies. But Tess's own history is filled with gaps: a father she never met, and a mother who spent more time traveling than with her daughter. Then Dominic Rossi arrives on the doorstep of the Tess Delaney makes a living returning stolen treasures to their rightful owners. She loves illuminating history, filling the spaces in people's hearts with stories of their family legacies. But Tess's own history is filled with gaps: a father she never met, and a mother who spent more time traveling than with her daughter. Then Dominic Rossi arrives on the doorstep of the San Francisco shop Tess hopes to buy, and he tells her that the grandfather she never knew is in a coma. Tess 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 hadn't heard of. Isabel is everything Tess isn't: all softness to Tess's hard angles, warm and nurturing where Tess is tightly wound. But against the rich landscape of Bella Vista, with Isabel and Dominic by her side, 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.

30 review for The Apple Orchard

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jaime W

    Surprised this made a best of 2013 list...it was just ok. The romance was predictable and really, really stupid. The characters were underdeveloped and flat. But I watch stupid tv sometimes so I read stupid books sometimes for entertainment

  2. 5 out of 5

    ☮Karen

    3.5 I've always been a big fan of the TV show Antiques Roadshow, and absolutely love how the appraisers know just what to look for and exactly  how to raise the excitement level on a rare find.  Here we have Tess who searches out treasures for a living in San Francisco, loves her work, but has no real family or family life--at all.  Then a handsome banker enters her life with news that she has a half sister and grandfather in Sonoma County, and the old man is leaving her half his estate, which in 3.5 I've always been a big fan of the TV show Antiques Roadshow, and absolutely love how the appraisers know just what to look for and exactly  how to raise the excitement level on a rare find.  Here we have Tess who searches out treasures for a living in San Francisco, loves her work, but has no real family or family life--at all.  Then a handsome banker enters her life with news that she has a half sister and grandfather in Sonoma County, and the old man is leaving her half his estate, which includes a working apple orchard business.  OK, I am intrigued! It turned into an enjoyable read, even though I think there was nary a one of the plot resolutions that I didn't see coming.  The birthday shared by the sisters didn't make any sense at all, so it is still bothering me. But I think the setting and the atmosphere gave this book some  freedom to be a little predictable, a little romantic, and just a wee bit trite...all turn offs for me--usually, but not here.  The characters were very well done and the ending almost perfect, for this kind of book. Plus there is a WWII back story of the resistance in Denmark, which was very interesting. A double thumbs up.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    www.quixoticmagpie.blogspot.com I remember visiting the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C. and standing in front of an exhibit with a boat. The exhibit was dedicated to Denmark during World War II, and how they saved almost all of the population of Jewish people. They rowed their people to safety under the cover of night. I was struck by the heroics of this nation. The Denmark Rescue saved 7,200 people, a momentous act of bravery and compassion. The Apple Orchard by Susan Wiggs includes www.quixoticmagpie.blogspot.com I remember visiting the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C. and standing in front of an exhibit with a boat. The exhibit was dedicated to Denmark during World War II, and how they saved almost all of the population of Jewish people. They rowed their people to safety under the cover of night. I was struck by the heroics of this nation. The Denmark Rescue saved 7,200 people, a momentous act of bravery and compassion. The Apple Orchard by Susan Wiggs includes some of this history. She handled this sensitively, and with the respect that the subject needs. She did not reduce it to some literary device or add it to give the book more weight. It added to the book in a way that taught as well as told the back story. That being said, there were lots of twists and turns to the book. I thought for a minute that it was going to be like The Parent Trap, and then the story spun down a different path. There were a few loose ends that I didn't feel were resolved, but this looks to be the first in a series, so perhaps resolution will occur in the following books. There was also a scene that didn't make sense- all of a sudden a character is in the story in a part he wasn't before, without being introduced into that scene. It was very confusing for a second! I thought the characters were fun and diverse, and I liked them all, but I liked Isabel the best. I hope we get to know her better in the future, but for now, I enjoyed reading about her cooking and baking. Their were some delicious sounding recipes at the beginning of each chapter - some of them made me long for summer even more than I already do. I could imagine reading this book in my yard, enjoying the sun eating fresh tomato slices and drinking Pellegrino. Or a Californian Pinot Grigio. Yum! Overall I think this book has a lot to offer -mystery, romance, history. If you like any of this in the books you read, give this book a try.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Deanna

    3 stars where the star system doesn’t do the book justice. I read this with conflicted expectations and with the usual risks involved in trying for a suitable lighter read. Strong and encouraging reviews led me to believe that this is more than standard, emotive “women’s fiction”. And it sort of is, but it also isn’t. There are strengths in the story and writing that probably warrant another star, or at least half one. It’s often hard to fairly rate and then justify the rating when a book turns 3 stars where the star system doesn’t do the book justice. I read this with conflicted expectations and with the usual risks involved in trying for a suitable lighter read. Strong and encouraging reviews led me to believe that this is more than standard, emotive “women’s fiction”. And it sort of is, but it also isn’t. There are strengths in the story and writing that probably warrant another star, or at least half one. It’s often hard to fairly rate and then justify the rating when a book turns out to be not-for-me but not without objective merit. This wasn’t bad at all, but for my tastes I could happily have skipped this and read closer to my preferences.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jill

    A career woman finds herself with a family she never knew about, learns that the family estate is about to be lost, and must choose between committing to this new life or returning to her old habits. The prose becomes overly sentimental about the wonders of country living and the "conflict" is based on the tired notion that country life with family is better than working alone in the city. The "moral" could be boiled down to "the city will kill you, but the country makes you whole." I also would A career woman finds herself with a family she never knew about, learns that the family estate is about to be lost, and must choose between committing to this new life or returning to her old habits. The prose becomes overly sentimental about the wonders of country living and the "conflict" is based on the tired notion that country life with family is better than working alone in the city. The "moral" could be boiled down to "the city will kill you, but the country makes you whole." I also would like to know how, on the verge of bankruptcy, one can afford specialized or organic food, enough food to cook as stress relief, and enough food to feed multiple people who happen to drop buy. The ideas about life presented in this story are not based on life as I know it, but rather on romanticized concepts. Still, the plot is generally engaging and the writing style is easy to read. Compared to other books of similar content or genre, this is one of the better written ones. This book contains alcohol use, references to drugs, sex, smoking, and swearing.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    I was about to give up on Susan Wiggs after the last few Lakeshore novels, which were lackluster at best. But starting a new series with completely new characters seems to have revitalized her writing. Although the story is predictable, the writing is strong, and the historical details add a nice touch of depth. The romance is one her best in recent memory, even if the hero is a little too close to perfect. You can really feel the full range of Tess' emotions around Dominic, and the happy ending I was about to give up on Susan Wiggs after the last few Lakeshore novels, which were lackluster at best. But starting a new series with completely new characters seems to have revitalized her writing. Although the story is predictable, the writing is strong, and the historical details add a nice touch of depth. The romance is one her best in recent memory, even if the hero is a little too close to perfect. You can really feel the full range of Tess' emotions around Dominic, and the happy ending feels well earned. I assume there will be a story for Isabel - hopefully Wiggs won't drag it out the way she did with Daisy Bellamy (only to deliver one of the weakest books in the series). Meanwhile I can breathe a sigh of relief and keep Wiggs on my auto-read list.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Diana | Book of Secrets

    THE APPLE ORCHARD is the first book I've read by Susan Wiggs, and wow, was I blown away. Part mystery, romance, and family drama, this story takes readers from the quaint town of Archangel, California, in present day, to Nazi-occupied Denmark during World War II. I love historical fiction and vintage things, so this book really hit the spot. Tess's job of tracking down priceless artifacts and lost family heirlooms sounded amazing. I felt a strong bond with the characters of this book, especially THE APPLE ORCHARD is the first book I've read by Susan Wiggs, and wow, was I blown away. Part mystery, romance, and family drama, this story takes readers from the quaint town of Archangel, California, in present day, to Nazi-occupied Denmark during World War II. I love historical fiction and vintage things, so this book really hit the spot. Tess's job of tracking down priceless artifacts and lost family heirlooms sounded amazing. I felt a strong bond with the characters of this book, especially the half-sisters, Tess and Isabel. They had a few family secrets dumped on them that were doozies, but that seemed to only make them closer. There's a lovely romance for Tess too. This is a woman who guards her heart well, but luckily she took a chance. 4.5 stars! Audio: Well done! Christina Traister was perfect as Tess, and she did a great job with the other female characters too. There were several voices with different accents, and she never missed a beat. Her male characters' voices were okay, though not quite as good as the women. :-) Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  8. 4 out of 5

    KarenK

    Tess never had much of a family life, she never knew her father and her mother chose her work over Tess. Suddenly, family secrets begin to weave their way into her life. From the Nazi occupation of Denmark to wine country in California, Tess discovers a family she never knew. I was expecting this book to be a bit of a fluff read, and the fluff is there, but was pleasantly surprised to find it has a little more depth in story. Hopefully the next book in the series will offer more character develop Tess never had much of a family life, she never knew her father and her mother chose her work over Tess. Suddenly, family secrets begin to weave their way into her life. From the Nazi occupation of Denmark to wine country in California, Tess discovers a family she never knew. I was expecting this book to be a bit of a fluff read, and the fluff is there, but was pleasantly surprised to find it has a little more depth in story. Hopefully the next book in the series will offer more character development. 3 stars

  9. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    I'm torn about this book. I read an ARC for it as an ebook through Netgalley and I hope some of the issues I had with it were a product of it being an ARC and that they will have been fixed in the final printing. Annoying things such as a character not being in a scene and then suddenly he is letting go of the hand of the protagonist and saying he'll meet her later. (In the scene where Tess watches them working the cider press, she heads inside with Isabel and then the next line is..."Tess could I'm torn about this book. I read an ARC for it as an ebook through Netgalley and I hope some of the issues I had with it were a product of it being an ARC and that they will have been fixed in the final printing. Annoying things such as a character not being in a scene and then suddenly he is letting go of the hand of the protagonist and saying he'll meet her later. (In the scene where Tess watches them working the cider press, she heads inside with Isabel and then the next line is..."Tess could feel Dominic's hand fall away behind her." Where did he come from? He wasn't in the cider scene! Drove me mad.) I also thought the different points of view executed oddly. The prologue is from Mangus...fine. Then the next is Tess...okay. Then a very tiny random section to Dominic. And then the next half of the book is Tess and I kept wondering when we'd go back to Dominic and then suddenly BAM we're in Isabel's head having never had her POV before. It worked but could have been smoother. That being said...there is a lot to really love about this story. It's more than just a typical romance (in fact, I'd say the romance aspect was very much an after thought) and rather focuses on a tragic and intriguing story of the past involving Nazi's stolen treasure and the Danish resistance. This is relaxing story at times with horrifically sad undertones and then the action ramps up and I flew through the last third, desperate to know who was who and where the treasure was and what was going to happen to the orchard. I would recommend this to friends looking for an interesting, heartwarming, quick read. And I would definitely read a story about Isabel, especially since enough heavy hints were dropped about her Tragic Past to clue in even the most clueless that there is More To Come.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Christine (KizzieReads)

    I enjoyed this. Even though it was a little too nicely wrapped up and included one of my biggest pet peeves, (using your kids to manipulate other people), it was very intriguing how everything was inter connected. Some things were unrealistic, but overall a good story.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kathrine

    Pretty good story that was marred by a lot of little details that weren't quite right. What has happened to all the good editors in the world? Downsized maybe? Just need someone who has enough of a clue to realize the San Francisco earthquake and fire the author mentions happened in 1906 not 1907. Someone who thinks to double check when honey crisp apples were developed - they were developed in Minnesota as cold weather tolerant trees and were released in the 1990s - so they couldn't possibly in Pretty good story that was marred by a lot of little details that weren't quite right. What has happened to all the good editors in the world? Downsized maybe? Just need someone who has enough of a clue to realize the San Francisco earthquake and fire the author mentions happened in 1906 not 1907. Someone who thinks to double check when honey crisp apples were developed - they were developed in Minnesota as cold weather tolerant trees and were released in the 1990s - so they couldn't possibly in an orchard and producing large quantities of fruit in the 1950s. If an editor can't do that, then how about an author who can, like the rest of the world, use Google or some other search engine of their choice. Or how about as an author, at least keep notes about what you're writing. You know, so that characters don't suddenly, magically appear in scenes they weren't present in 2 paragraphs before or so that something that is said (in one case about Magnus never remembering the combination for the safe) is attributed to the correct character. Or even just the ages/ birth order of the token precocious children (I would have sworn Trini was the oldest if not for a single little thought comment from Dominic). On their own each of these things is forgivable, but when you string them all together they start to irritate. Oh and don't get me started on how naive and ridiculous Tess was. Some weird, unknown guy shows up in her office, tells her she has this other family and she automatically believes him and drops everything to go to said family. Doesn't ask for proof. Just gets in a car with the guy. RME. Gotta keep building that suspension bridge of disbelief. So what did I like enough to give 3 stars? The relationship (as contrived as it started out) between Tess and Isabel ended up being well written. Very sisterly - love 'em one minute but want to punch 'em the next. And I liked the peripheral characters - especially Ernestina - at Bella Vista. The writing style was easy to read and flowed well from present to past and back again. I also liked the mystery of the car accident and the missing treasure, but wished the author had given it more of a conclusive ending (was it an accident?).

  12. 5 out of 5

    Dale Harcombe

    Three and a half stars. This is an enjoyable read about a woman who discovers she had family connections she never knew about. Even though I didn’t understand Tess at times with her frantic lifestyle, I liked her. I also really liked Isabel, though I’m certainly not one into cooking as she is. These are the two main characters and then there is a love interest in Dominic. I have to admit to finding Dominic Rossi a bit too similar to the main male character of at least one of other book by Susan Three and a half stars. This is an enjoyable read about a woman who discovers she had family connections she never knew about. Even though I didn’t understand Tess at times with her frantic lifestyle, I liked her. I also really liked Isabel, though I’m certainly not one into cooking as she is. These are the two main characters and then there is a love interest in Dominic. I have to admit to finding Dominic Rossi a bit too similar to the main male character of at least one of other book by Susan Wiggs. I liked the mystery with the Faberge ornament and the story behind it and was interested in the stories from Denmark as Nazis occupied the land, separating and destroying families. I did think the country scene of Bella Vista and its surrounds was a bit too idealised and that all the negatives seemed to be city related. Think that is a bit of a simplistic view. Despite those couple of quibbles I enjoyed this story and became involved in the lives of the characters. The book also included recipes for some of the dishes Isabel cooks, though I did find the use of lavender in cooking a bit bizarre. But then I don’t like lavender in any shape of form. I’m glad I read this book which had been on my TBR for a while. It’s an entertaining read and along the way I learned some things about history and the bravery of some people during war times.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Anna

    Tess Delaney is a successful women whose job is tracking old artifacts and selling them for the Sheffield Auction House. Raised by her beloved grandmother while her mother was busy traveling, Tess longs for the comfort of a close family. What a surprise when she learns she is heir to Bella Vista, a 100 acre apple orchard in the Napa Valley. She discovers a half sister, Isabel, raised by her grandmother and grandfather at Bella Vista. Persuaded to visit Bella Vista by the handsome banker Dominic, Tess Delaney is a successful women whose job is tracking old artifacts and selling them for the Sheffield Auction House. Raised by her beloved grandmother while her mother was busy traveling, Tess longs for the comfort of a close family. What a surprise when she learns she is heir to Bella Vista, a 100 acre apple orchard in the Napa Valley. She discovers a half sister, Isabel, raised by her grandmother and grandfather at Bella Vista. Persuaded to visit Bella Vista by the handsome banker Dominic, Tess slowly falls in love, not only with Bella Vista, but with Dominic and his children. Faced with the looming foreclosure of Bella Vista, Tess searches for a family treasure that could save the orchard. The story is interspersed with the family history of her grandfather's involvement in the Danish Resistance relocating Jewish people to Sweden. Enjoying the embellishment of descriptive images of food and wine I wanted an invitation to their dinner table. Looking forward to the next installment.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Elvan

    This novel was a pleasure to read. I love learning something while enjoying interesting characters and a well thought out plot line. I liked the flashbacks to Denmark during the German occupation. Wiggs does a masterful job connecting the present day storyline with the events from the past. The present day romance while inevitable seemed almost unnecessary when compared to the love stories of those who survived that terrible time in Europe. This may be my new favourite by this author. Great read This novel was a pleasure to read. I love learning something while enjoying interesting characters and a well thought out plot line. I liked the flashbacks to Denmark during the German occupation. Wiggs does a masterful job connecting the present day storyline with the events from the past. The present day romance while inevitable seemed almost unnecessary when compared to the love stories of those who survived that terrible time in Europe. This may be my new favourite by this author. Great read.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Judy D Collins

    #1 in the Bella Vista Series – Loved this book! Wow, it was a little different than Susan’s normal books – as enjoyed the setting in Sonoma Wine Country, culinary (and yummy recipes), the love of food, wine, antiques, romance, travel – from generations past, Nazi, beautiful estate and apple orchards, family, lost and hidden treasures, family and love - this book has it all – from Italy to Ireland and more ---I am so looking forward to reading more in this series! Great research and well written #1 in the Bella Vista Series – Loved this book! Wow, it was a little different than Susan’s normal books – as enjoyed the setting in Sonoma Wine Country, culinary (and yummy recipes), the love of food, wine, antiques, romance, travel – from generations past, Nazi, beautiful estate and apple orchards, family, lost and hidden treasures, family and love - this book has it all – from Italy to Ireland and more ---I am so looking forward to reading more in this series! Great research and well written -5 Stars--Makes you want to be there to experience this beautiful setting!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Wanda

    There is so much to love about this book. The storyline with its WWII backdrop pulled me in, and the characters were richly drawn with their complex issues. The author uses many layers to build the story as the past mingles with the present. The storyline includes a mystery, romance, secrets, and redemption. And the relationship between Tess and Dominic was beautifully rendered – not forced at all. CHARACTERS – Tess Delaney, a strong character with a vivid personality, was a professional treasure There is so much to love about this book. The storyline with its WWII backdrop pulled me in, and the characters were richly drawn with their complex issues. The author uses many layers to build the story as the past mingles with the present. The storyline includes a mystery, romance, secrets, and redemption. And the relationship between Tess and Dominic was beautifully rendered – not forced at all. CHARACTERS – Tess Delaney, a strong character with a vivid personality, was a professional treasure hunter. She returned stolen treasures to their rightful owners. Most times it involved a lot of hard work, but it was a very rewarding job. There were many intriguing stories connected to the restored treasures, many of them bittersweet. Sometimes mysteries were uncovered, and discoveries better left buried. Tess cherished her independence and freedom, but sometimes felt lonely. She believed that memories could make a person vulnerable. I felt connected immediately to Dominic Rossi. Dominic had several roles to fill. He was a single father going through a divorce, worked at a bank, and was the executor of Magnus Johansen’s will. Dominic reveals to Tess that she has a grandfather, Magnus, and a sister, Isabel, whom she’d never seen. Isabel, a very warm character, never knew her mother, who had died in childbirth, and was raised by Magnus and Bubbie. She was dealing with her grandfather’s accident and has just learned she has a half sister, with whom she’d be sharing her legacy. She had no resentment toward Tess – she welcomed her. Isabel believed happiness was found in the simplist things in life. Magnus Johansen had an accident picking apples at Bella Vista, and is lying in a coma, and will probably not recover. Magnus is in his 80’s and had already survived the best and worst life had to offer. Magnus’s money problems had finally come to a head. Unless a miracle happened, all of Bella Vista would be lost. The bank was about to take it away. Magnus and his war bride, Eva, had built the apple orchard together. His life had been taken from him as a boy because of the war, but Magnus had an inner fire of determination and became a survivor. Annelise Winthur, still spry at 80, was a woman of modest means. Tess had found a valuable necklace for Annelise that had been lost since 1941. It had been her mother’s necklace, given to her by Annelise’s father. Her mother had been wearing the necklace the day she was seized by a corrupt officer during the war, and put to death by the Nazis. The Apple Orchard is a book that just makes you feel good – a real joy to read. My rating is 5 stars. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Harlequin in exchange for an honest review.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    Tess Delaney considers her life well planned out – she is up for a substantial promotion, has great friends, an apartment she enjoys – everything, except the closeness of family. Her mother Shannon traveled while Tess’s grandmother raised her. She never met her father and didn’t have an inkling who he was. Tess, like the women in her family before her, felt she didn’t need a permanent relationship with a man. On the morning of a very important meeting with her boss to discuss her promotion, her Tess Delaney considers her life well planned out – she is up for a substantial promotion, has great friends, an apartment she enjoys – everything, except the closeness of family. Her mother Shannon traveled while Tess’s grandmother raised her. She never met her father and didn’t have an inkling who he was. Tess, like the women in her family before her, felt she didn’t need a permanent relationship with a man. On the morning of a very important meeting with her boss to discuss her promotion, her life changes forever in ways she could not have imagined. Dominic Rossi, an attorney for the grandfather she didn’t know she had, showed up in her office and informed her that her grandfather Magnus Johansen was in a coma and she had been named in his will and needed to come back with him to Archangel, a small town in the Sonoma country. There were so many unanswered questions and Tess didn’t want any interruptions to her life. She certainly wasn’t interested in traipsing off with a strange man to her grandfather’s orchard when she had such a rewarding job in San Francisco. Tess is confronted with many unsettling issues after she arrives in Archangel, but she doesn’t want to stay to sort through them. However, as each day goes by, she is more drawn to the life she discovered there. The characters were extremely well developed and the plot had many twists and turns. My mind wandered back Archangel, Tess, and the other characters long after I finished the last page. I highly recommend this book.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Carol

    OK story. Maybe the characters in the story didn't see the plot twists coming, but the rest of us sure did. The heroine, Tess, had a major dose of Stupid Girl Syndrome strike her towards the end but managed to work through it. I felt like there was a disconnect somewhere in the character of Tess. It seemed like what we were hearing her think in her head was completely different than how she was portrayed interacting with others. I never really warmed up to her. And now that I'm looking upwards at OK story. Maybe the characters in the story didn't see the plot twists coming, but the rest of us sure did. The heroine, Tess, had a major dose of Stupid Girl Syndrome strike her towards the end but managed to work through it. I felt like there was a disconnect somewhere in the character of Tess. It seemed like what we were hearing her think in her head was completely different than how she was portrayed interacting with others. I never really warmed up to her. And now that I'm looking upwards at the Goodreads info, one of my questions is answered. This is going to be a series, since it's listed as "Belle Vista #1." There were some pretty heavy anvils dropped in the this story that weren't addressed, and I was wondering why. Now I know! Guess we'll learn about Isabel and the handsome priest in the next book!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jacquie

    Susan Wiggs has a way of sneaking up on a reader and hooking them with her fascinating characterizations, and the beauty of her settings. Tess Delaney knows something is missing from her life, but she could never have guessed it would be a sister she’d never heard of, or a family she’d never met. What follows is the story of discovering herself through the connections of a family she’s always dreamed of having, and maybe a little romance along the way. This book touches on tough family dynamics, fo Susan Wiggs has a way of sneaking up on a reader and hooking them with her fascinating characterizations, and the beauty of her settings. Tess Delaney knows something is missing from her life, but she could never have guessed it would be a sister she’d never heard of, or a family she’d never met. What follows is the story of discovering herself through the connections of a family she’s always dreamed of having, and maybe a little romance along the way. This book touches on tough family dynamics, forgiveness, and love. A truly enjoyable read! I give The Apple Orchard 5 lovely kisses First posted on It's All About the Romance

  20. 5 out of 5

    Andrea

    This is a story that will remind you just how magical and life altering love can be. The beauty of Sonoma County, sisters, friendship and finding out who you really are make for a most enchanting read from the creative imagination of Susan Wiggs. Open up your heart and let your senses be stirred by paying a visit to Bella Vista in Archangel California where the apples aren't the only fruit ripe for the picking. This is a story that will remind you just how magical and life altering love can be. The beauty of Sonoma County, sisters, friendship and finding out who you really are make for a most enchanting read from the creative imagination of Susan Wiggs. Open up your heart and let your senses be stirred by paying a visit to Bella Vista in Archangel California where the apples aren't the only fruit ripe for the picking.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kathryn

    Imagine my surprise while listening to this book and finding out it's full of recipes - yummy sounding recipes. I will now request the book from the library. The baked hot chocolate sounds wonderful, apple pie, focaccia bread, marinara sauce oh my. The story was a good balance of a World War II story and today. I thoroughly enjoyed listening! Imagine my surprise while listening to this book and finding out it's full of recipes - yummy sounding recipes. I will now request the book from the library. The baked hot chocolate sounds wonderful, apple pie, focaccia bread, marinara sauce oh my. The story was a good balance of a World War II story and today. I thoroughly enjoyed listening!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Cathy

    What an excellent book! It took me a few chapters to get into but don't give up. I'm glad I didn't. Once the groundwork was laid it came together quickly. And that groundwork was necessary overall. I loved the flashbacks to WW2, the little mystery and even the realistic and sometimes aggravating relationships. The ending was perfect! So perfect! First book by this author but not last. What an excellent book! It took me a few chapters to get into but don't give up. I'm glad I didn't. Once the groundwork was laid it came together quickly. And that groundwork was necessary overall. I loved the flashbacks to WW2, the little mystery and even the realistic and sometimes aggravating relationships. The ending was perfect! So perfect! First book by this author but not last.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Emma

    Just ok but still in the 3 star range. I liked the idea of this book. And the whole thing was fine but was closer to a draft story than a completed novel. The page length is padded by a complete recipe at the start of every section. So much happens off page with little to no explanation. Plus behaviours that make no sense. For example Tessa agrees to go with Dominic to the town he is from because the grandfather she never knew about us in a coma. She also has a half-sister she knew nothing about. Just ok but still in the 3 star range. I liked the idea of this book. And the whole thing was fine but was closer to a draft story than a completed novel. The page length is padded by a complete recipe at the start of every section. So much happens off page with little to no explanation. Plus behaviours that make no sense. For example Tessa agrees to go with Dominic to the town he is from because the grandfather she never knew about us in a coma. She also has a half-sister she knew nothing about. When she gets to the family estate there is a huge gathering of people. Dominic did not really warn her and then he leaves her without introducing her to her sister. They randomly meet in the kitchen. And not one character thinks this is odd behaviour. The sisters then barely discuss finding each other. In fact so many things the two of them never seem to talk about. I mean maybe they did but certainly the reader never gets to know about them.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Roberta

    You might think of this primarily as a romance, but I think of it as a: Rom-Ery-Iction Romance and Mystery with a light sprinkling of historical fiction (wwii). The mystery is intriguing and I found myself really pulling for the (good) characters. And, almost all of them were good people. The lovely descriptions left me wanting to settle in the Sonoma Valley area of California. The people, wine, food, and the beauty described were both enticing and inviting! It is definitely a light, easy book but You might think of this primarily as a romance, but I think of it as a: Rom-Ery-Iction Romance and Mystery with a light sprinkling of historical fiction (wwii). The mystery is intriguing and I found myself really pulling for the (good) characters. And, almost all of them were good people. The lovely descriptions left me wanting to settle in the Sonoma Valley area of California. The people, wine, food, and the beauty described were both enticing and inviting! It is definitely a light, easy book but I found that I could not wait to get back to it to see how it would all turn out--the mystery most specifically. Between the tantalizing mystery and the warm characters, I needed to see if it could come to a happy conclusion. And, yes, I will be reading the next book in the series sooner than later! Bonus: the book contains a random selection of recipes--true confession: I love when books do that!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Sarah {The Bookish Knitter}

    4 Stars Challenges: ♥ RRRC October 2018 Monthly Challenge #2.OLYMPIAN GODS AND GODDESSES-HESTIA

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sandie

    I can't begin to tell you how much I loved this story!! Excellent!! I'm crying, not from sadness. I'm so thankful that I discovered this author!! I'll be reading the next book in the series in a few days....I have to catch up on some housework and cook a few meals for my mister. 💜 I can't begin to tell you how much I loved this story!! Excellent!! I'm crying, not from sadness. I'm so thankful that I discovered this author!! I'll be reading the next book in the series in a few days....I have to catch up on some housework and cook a few meals for my mister. 💜

  27. 4 out of 5

    Suzanne Barrett

    Set in beautiful Sonoma county, this is a story of friendship, love and memories. San Francosco-based Tess Delaney restores stolen treasures to their rightful owners, a vocation at which she is very good and from which she derives immense satisfaction. Often her finds lead her to heirlooms lost during the Nazi occupation of Europe. One such example is a necklace that belonged to Annaliese Winther's mother. The impoverished elderly woman refuses to sell it despite knowing the money received could Set in beautiful Sonoma county, this is a story of friendship, love and memories. San Francosco-based Tess Delaney restores stolen treasures to their rightful owners, a vocation at which she is very good and from which she derives immense satisfaction. Often her finds lead her to heirlooms lost during the Nazi occupation of Europe. One such example is a necklace that belonged to Annaliese Winther's mother. The impoverished elderly woman refuses to sell it despite knowing the money received could substantially improve her life. But to Annaliese, possessing the necklace means more; its value is in the memories. Memories and traces of memories are all Tess has of her own childhood—a father she never met and a mother whose travel left her with her grandmother, a memorable Irish woman who owned a second-hand shop in Dublin. When she discovers she's been left half of a one hundred-acre apple orchard in the town of Archangel, she is puzzled. Even more puzzling is that the other half of Bella Vista has been left to Isabel Johansen, a half sister she never knew she had. Tess travels to Bella Vista to dispose of the estate, but something magical begins to unfold. As she spends time there, she begins to experience many things, the simple pleasures of family and wonderful food, the haunting beauty of Sonoma county and a world where the roots of history run deep. Here, she's reminded of something Annaliese said: if you don't believe memories are worth more than money, then perhaps you've not made the right kind of memories. As she begins to learn about her grandfather Magnus and his escape from Nazi occupied Europe, searching for information about him becomes a driving force in her quest. She meets her grandfather's banker, Dominic Rossi, a neighbor and part-time vintner. Dominic urges her to go see the dying man in hospital. Little by little she uncovers truths and discovers mysteries of which she had no knowledge, and she develops an impossible attraction to Dominic. I loved this touching story of Tess and the Johansens. The protagonists are clearly drawn and fully fleshed. One easily becomes attached to them. Tess comes across as a conflicted but genuinely caring and dedicated woman as she begins to unravel family secrets. The mystery sweeps the reader along in a thoroughly satisfying emotional journey. I loved the story and was sorry to see it end. Bravo Ms. Wiggs.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kris - My Novelesque Life

    3.5 STARS (I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review). Tess Delaney is stunned to learn that she has a half sister and half an inheritance to Bella Vista Orchard. Dominic Rossi, sexy Italian banker and executor of Tess' grandfather's estates, pops the news to Tess that her grandfather is ill and she could come into money. Tess is blown away to learn that her secretive mother has never mentioned a sister and grandfather to her especially since she asked constantly about her 3.5 STARS (I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review). Tess Delaney is stunned to learn that she has a half sister and half an inheritance to Bella Vista Orchard. Dominic Rossi, sexy Italian banker and executor of Tess' grandfather's estates, pops the news to Tess that her grandfather is ill and she could come into money. Tess is blown away to learn that her secretive mother has never mentioned a sister and grandfather to her especially since she asked constantly about her absent father. When Tess goes to Bella Vista she learns that her sister, Isobeljust learned about her existence but is waiting with open arms. Just as she is hit with the news of a new family Dominic informs them the Orchard is in big financial trouble. Lovely cook, Isobel buries her denial in baking and cooking as Tess goes on the hunt to save her new family. Dominic, the big bad banker, joins in the search as they try to locate something that could stop the foreclosure and finds himself falling for the Irish girl with a smile that melts his once broken heart. As they explore her grandfather Magnus's past during WWII they may have found what they need... As an only child I must say I was intrigued by this story just imagining what it would be like knowing you had a sibling out there you never knew about. I think Tess' reaction to all of this was realistic but Isobel seemed too accepting. Without isobel's perspective it was hard to figure out her motivation. Through Tess' eyes we see her as someone set in her ways and if something rocks the boat she denies it by putting all her energy in cooking. I think we will get a better sense of her in the next book but for those that like to read books as a standalone might be disappointed in her lack of characterization. I liked the dynamics of mother and daughter relationship between Shannon and Tess but it was harder to get a sense of Shannon and her mother. The past was brought up a lot in this novel but failed to use it characterization. I saw the past as a plot device and even Annalise was more of a plot device than a real character. There was some mystery but tended to be revealed instead of unraveled. The treasure hut aspect was fun but predictable as foreshadowing came off strong. I did like the novel but it was more of a set up of the series. I would recommend this to Wiggs' fans and those that like a uncomplicated read.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jacque

    Nice little feel-good story. 3.5 stars.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Marleen

    The title and the cover of this book truly spoke to my imagination, so I had to give this book a shot. I have been a fan of Susan Wiggs for a long time – and I mostly like her books (but not all). Here, with the Apple Orchard, I was a bit disappointed – especially in the contemporary part of the story. Tess and Dominic weren't particularly compelling to me. Their romance was all pretty much déjà-vu. More than that, this contemporary theme has been tackled before and better written by other roman The title and the cover of this book truly spoke to my imagination, so I had to give this book a shot. I have been a fan of Susan Wiggs for a long time – and I mostly like her books (but not all). Here, with the Apple Orchard, I was a bit disappointed – especially in the contemporary part of the story. Tess and Dominic weren't particularly compelling to me. Their romance was all pretty much déjà-vu. More than that, this contemporary theme has been tackled before and better written by other romance authors. Of course it was not all bad – I really liked the story of Magnus Johanssen’s youth in the Danish resistance. Too bad there weren’t more pages dedicated to Magnus and the war years. Another tidbit that was rather remarkable about this story, is that apparently the 2 Johannsen men fathered children outside their marriage. Isn’t that peculiar? Still they were upstanding men, generous & loving men and that’s what counts. Lastly, let’s not forget the wonderful scenery that is the backdrop of this story – it must be a dream to live in Sonoma county. I googled some photos and indeed it is. Overall: 2,5*** rating

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