Orchardist, The

Coplin, Amanda

  5 Reviews

The rhythms of William Talmadge's isolated orchard are irrevocably altered by the arrival of two pregnant teenagers, sisters Della and Jane, on the run from a brothel. A gentle and reclusive man, William is determined to save the girls from the cruel hand that life has dealt them. But with an irate brothel owner hot on their heels, William's willingness to disrupt his ordered existence cannot prevent the approaching tragedy but rather transform it.

From its evocative setting in early 20th Century Washington State through to its beautifully descriptive language, this is a captivating and haunting story of love, loss and what constitutes family.

Comments from Groups

A good lighter read. Masterton 004

This is a beautifully written book. One in which the landscape is almost like a character. One member described it as being like reading a silent movie. It is not a dialogue-driven book. Themes of isolation, family and the land predominate. Everyone loved the first 200 or so pages, but half the group felt the book went on for too long and ended weakly, while the other half felt it was quite perfect, just as it was. Christchurch 390

This was the first time we have all loved a book so much. It was so easy to visualize the settings and we loved the style of the writing. Excellent. Tauranga 035

Most people enjoyed this book - but found the characters' lack of speech a bit disconcerting. This did not detract from the storyline however. We found it well written and descriptive, especially of the orchard. Tauranga 023

Members felt that the book, although riveting for the first half, went on too long and meandered to a finish at the end leaving unanswered questions. Still, they thought it was a good first novel. We have read a number of American books that reflect the easiness of acquiring guns and the havoc created as a result. Auckland 210

The small print in this book posed a problem for some more mature eyes. Hamilton 010

Our members enjoyed the book. We found it well written, and the content thought-provoking. A good discussion was held on Jane and Della, and how their lives had been affected by their childhood. We decided that kindness can help, but not cure. Havelock North 008



AUCK 134
Enjoyed the book but some of us found the font too small.
NAP 024
Everyone enjoyed this book. Much discussion about the interaction of the characters. Author gave good imagery. But what happened to Angeline - the only one left at the end That provided lots of comment.
WINT 001
Some of the group found the themes difficult to read about but everyone agreed that the author is skilled in portraying vivid pictures of both the landscape and people. There was an interesting discussion about the link between childhood trauma and disfunction in later life, the effect of new technologies on people and their lifestyle, as well as the choice people have both now and in the past to live a life of solitude.
We all found this book well written, in an interesting style, and we felt we were right there in the vastness of the west side of America. Some found it hard to get started, and then others had another go and could get into it. Some of us loved it. Those of us who finished it were really touched by it, and we found the characters very real. Huge sense of loss but these were hard times, and times of big change.
CHCH 299
Harrowing was a word that kept coming up in the discussion of this book. Some members found the ongoing tragedies in the main character's life too much and gave up reading. Those who finished the book agreed it was well-written in an original style, which kept them reading despite the sometimes bleak story-line.