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Thursday, September 27, 2012

"The Orchardist" by Amanda Coplin ~ Powerful Read!


Publishers Weekly
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 side by side,” yet this eloquent, moving novel concludes on a note of affirmation. Agent: Bill Clegg, WME Entertainment. (Sept.)

Publisher:  Harper Collins
Pages:  448
Genre:  Historical Fiction
Author  Amanda C

Amanda Coplin was born in Wenatchee, Washington. She received her BA from the University of Oregon and MFA from the University of Minnesota. A recipient of residencies from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts, and the Omi International Arts Center at Ledig House in Ghent, New York, she lives in Portland, Oregon.

Find out more about her here:  Amanda Coplin


A rare treasure of a novel.  "The Orchardist" is one of those you'll read like enjoying a box of chocolates...slowly, just to savor every morsel of the story and the fine writing.  This is a book you'll want to capture and keep on your shelves to recall days spent visualizing the orchards of Northwestern America, and the hearts of incredible characters that will live on in your mind.  I love family sagas when they're written by a gifted author who can drop you down in the setting and with the people of the story.  This is a novel like that.  You shouldn't miss it this year. 

Story development and plot are so absorbing.  I was tortured by the hard life and gentle heart of Talmadge, the orchardist, but more so by the background and broken spirits of Della and Jane, the girls who escaped unimaginable torment to find shelter like stray cats on his farm.  Their story is blindingly bear in its open wounds~vulnerable and raw with emotion.  I found myself cringing and crying with them at their most horrific, heartbreaking stops along the story.  Michaelson is a despicable antihero. What powerful writing!

Amanda Coplin is a young woman who is wise beyond her years.  She writes with such brilliance and imagination.  Her characters just breathe tension, love, hatred, vulnerability, wisdom and life.  It was a wonderful experience to read her book.

Highly recommended to everyone.  This is a powerful novel of love and redemption.

5 stars             Deborah/TheBookishDame

"The Orchardist" is available here:  Barnes and Noble



I love books like this! If you say it's great, then I'm putting it on my to-be-read list. Your judgement is spot on! Thanks for the review and introducing me to this book.

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