Tuesday, 9 September 2014

The Apple Orchard (Bella Vista Chronicles #1) by Susan Wiggs

 The Apple Orchard (Bella Vista Chronicles, #1)

From Goodreads

#1 New York Times bestselling author Susan Wiggs brings readers into the lush abundance of Sonoma County, in a story of sisters, friendship and the invisible bonds of history that are woven like a spell around us.

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.

"Wiggs tells a layered, powerful story of love, loss, hope and redemption."

— Kirkus, starred review

My thoughts

I was toying between 4 and 5 stars.  I decided to plump for 4 stars in the end.

I really enjoyed this well written tale that mixes the past and the present well in this dual time frame tale. 

The story tells the tale of Tess Delaney and Dominic Rossi, whose paths cross as he visits Tess to let her know that the Grandfather she doesn't know is in a coma. Tess's past is so alien to her, she knows so little about it as her Mum has kept her in the dark.  As she begins to unveil her past with some help from Dominic and the layers begin to disappear, she finds a half sister that she didn't know about either.

Tess is used to helping put long lost treasure back in the hands of their rightful owners and it's her love of what she does that helps to reveal certain events in her new found families past.

This is the first book that I've read by Susan Wiggs and I eagerly await the next in this series.  A contemporary tale set in the present and the second World War, it's full of secrets, lies, romance and a darn good read to boot.  What more do we readers ask for in a book?

I was fortunate enough to be given a chance to read this via NetGalley and the Publishers, in exchange for an honest review. 

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