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The Apple Orchard (Bella Vista Chronicles, Bk 1)
The Apple Orchard - Bella Vista Chronicles, Bk 1 Author:Susan Wiggs 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 jewel's value is in its memories. — But Tess's own history is filled with gaps: a father she never met, a mother who s... more »pent 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.« less
If you are seeking a synopsis, please look elsewhere. This book is a bit deeper than what I'm used to from Ms. Wiggs. More recently, I've read several of the Lakeshore Chronicle series, which were a bit more fluff in comparison.
I liked the references to history and thought that great stories could be told about that without the present intruding.
I was a little concerned with Tess's obsession over her lack of family as she was raised by her grandmother--her family--but she seemed to long more for her absentee mother.
I didn't like Isabella's weakness to face the inevitable. What's with the reference to a broken heart? Was there a man in her past that threw hers back at her?
And then there's Dominic. Who was just about perfect, right?
The supporting cast had their ups and downs, but I was rooting for them throughout. The writing was spectacular and I felt that I was with all the characters throughout the book and was worried they'd come out all right. Of course all books must come to an end and in the end, there's a happily-ever-after, right?
I'm having a hard time deciding how well I liked this book. The writing was beautiful, and the story intriguing. I read it quickly. I really liked the flashbacks to the Nazi invasion. It was one of those stories you like as you're reading it, but when it's over you're not quite sure if you liked it. The family was so dysfunctional I had a hard time keeping up. Tess wasn't my favorite heroine ever, but her journey was nice to watch. The romance between her and Dominic was nice too. Just nice. I liked that it evolved slowly and wasn't a Hi, I'm in love with you, romance. But I just didn't feel the chemistry. And what was up with Isabella? She was so sad and lost. I expected to hear that she had some horrible calamity like cancer. Major denial issues with her. Then, suddenly, all of their issues are solved, a little too easily, and they are all living the perfect lives. For all the beautiful writing and the almost nostalgic feel, I expected something a little deeper and lasting.