Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Book Review: The Apple Orchard (Bella Vista #1) by Susan Wiggs

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Description from Good Reads
Sometimes you stumble across a treasure when you are 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 jewels 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.

My Review
I love Susan Wiggs' Lakeshore Chronicles series, so when I saw she came out with a new series, I knew I had to check it out.

The story is mainly centered around a woman named Tess. Tess overworks, smokes too much and doesn't eat right, and is generally just stressed out. Her job is to find lost treasures, restore them, and then attempt to sell them for a hefty profit (should the owner wish to do so.) She finds out that her paternal grandfather is seriously injured and in a coma, and she is summoned to his house as she is one of two people chosen for his will. The other is the half sister she never even knew she had, Isabel. 
She also never knew she had the grandfather, because her mother chose to keep her father a secret.

The man that summons her, Dominic, works for the bank but is also a wine maker. The house she is summoned to is an apple orchard. It's very Northern California appropriate- Wiggs definitely got that right! 

To be honest, I wasn't pulled into this book to much by Tess or Dominic, though once his kids were introduced, I enjoyed him more, but I found him to be a little dull. Tess was too much of a stress case in the beginning, but she calmed down as the book went on.
I did like hearing about her maternal grandmother's antique shop in Dublin, and thought it was interesting that her paternal grandmother had a shop as well.

I really loved hearing about Isabel- she was probably my favorite character in the story. She just seems so kind hearted, and lovely. I loved reading her recipes, too.
I had a feeling that she maybe had feelings for Dominic, but that never came up, so it could just be that she has known him for so long, you just get that sense of caring.
I have a feeling that Wiggs won't write about her next- but I will be so happy if she does! 

The story has good resolution, but it wraps up rather quickly. 
I gave the story three stars on Good Reads because it was good, and I want to read more of the series, but it wasn't amazing by any means. I wasn't pulled in right away and I really loved the secondary characters, but only sort of cared for Tess or Dominic. I should be rooting for them to get together the whole time, but instead I just was indifferent about their whole relationship. 

You can purchase a copy of this book for Kindle here, or a physical copy here.

FTC: I borrowed this book from my local library. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
This post does contain Amazon Affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy for more information.

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