'A haunting and epic debut with shades of Steinbeck' [GRAZIA] about a makeshift family in the untamed American West. Includes Reading Group Notes. At the turn of the 20th century, in a remote stretch of Northwest America, a solitary orchardist, Talmadge, tends to apples and apricots as if they were his children. One day, two teenage girls steal ...
'A haunting and epic debut with shades of Steinbeck' [GRAZIA] about a makeshift family in the untamed American West. Includes Reading Group Notes. At the turn of the 20th century, in a remote stretch of Northwest America, a solitary orchardist, Talmadge, tends to apples and apricots as if they were his children. One day, two teenage girls steal his fruit at the market. Feral, scared and very pregnant, they follow Talmadge to his land and form an unlikely attachment to his gentle way of life. But their fragile peace is shattered when armed men arrive in the orchard. In the tragedy that unfolds, Talmadge must fight to save the lives of those he has learned to love while confronting the ghosts of his own troubled past. THE ORCHARDIST is an astonishing and unforgettable epic about a man who disrupts the lonely harmony of his life when he opens his heart and lets the world in.
a well written novel with a sad yet ultimately redeeming theme. Taking place at the turn of the 20th century, it captures the life of a solo fruit farmer, two desperate girls, and a few other key figures. Issues of fate, loss, connection and choices. It raises good questions for our book group discussion!
Publishers Weekly, 2012-06-04 The implacable hand of fate, and the efforts of a quiet, reclusive man to reclaim two young sisters from their harrowing past, are the major forces at play in this immensely affecting first novel. In a verdant valley in the Pacific Northwest during the early years of the 20th century, middle-aged Talmadge tends his orchards of plum, apricot, and apples, content with his solitary life and the seasonal changes of the landscape he loves. Two barely pubescent sisters, Jane and Della, both pregnant by an opium-addicted, violent brothel owner from whom they have escaped, touch Talmadge's otherwise stoic heart, and he shelters and protects them until the arrival of the girls' pursuers precipitates tragic consequences. Talmadge is left with one of the sisters, the baby daughter of the other, and an ardent wish to bring harmony to the lives entrusted to his care. Coplin relates the story with appropriate restraint, given Talmadge's reserved personality, and yet manages to evoke a world where the effects of two dramatic losses play out within a strikingly beautiful natural landscape. In contrast to the brothel owner, Michaelson, the other characters in Talmadge's community-an insightful, pragmatic midwife; a sensitive Nez Perce horse trader; a kindly judge-conduct their lives with dignity and wisdom. When Della fails to transcend the psychological trauma she's endured, and becomes determined to wreak revenge on Michaelson, Talmadge turns unlikely hero, ready to sacrifice his freedom to save her. But no miracles occur, as Coplin refuses to sentimentalize. Instead, she demonstrates that courage and compassion can transform unremarkable lives and redeem damaged souls. In the end, "three graves [lie] side by side," yet this eloquent, moving novel concludes on a note of affirmation. Agent: Bill Clegg, WME Entertainment. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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