The Orchard

( 25 )

Overview

THE ORCHARD is the story of a street-smart city girl who must adapt to a new life on an apple farm after she falls in love with Adrian Curtis, the golden boy of a prominent local family whose lives and orchards seem to be cursed. Married after only three months, young Theresa finds life with Adrian on the farm far more difficult and dangerous than she expected. Rejected by her husband's family as an outsider, she slowly learns for herself about the isolated world of farming, pesticides, environmental destruction,...
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The Orchard

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Overview

THE ORCHARD is the story of a street-smart city girl who must adapt to a new life on an apple farm after she falls in love with Adrian Curtis, the golden boy of a prominent local family whose lives and orchards seem to be cursed. Married after only three months, young Theresa finds life with Adrian on the farm far more difficult and dangerous than she expected. Rejected by her husband's family as an outsider, she slowly learns for herself about the isolated world of farming, pesticides, environmental destruction, and death, even as she falls more deeply in love with her husband, a man she at first hardly knew and the land that has been in his family for generations. She becomes a reluctant player in their attempt to keep the codling moth from destroying the orchard, but she and Adrian eventually come to know that their efforts will not only fail but will ultimately take an irreparable toll.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

Iowa-born Theresa Weir grew up poor, the childhood victim of her parents' broken marriage. After moving around from state to state and working pick-up jobs, she found solace and love in the arms of an Illinois apple grower. Married after just three months, she moves onto the farm and begins tending the orchard with her new husband. Though deeply in love, she faces apparently insolvable problems: Her in-laws view her hostilely as an outsider and a codling moth infestation is steadily destroying the orchard. As the situations deepen, Weir turns to writing, a strategy that apparently worked: This deeply moving, well-written work belongs on the shelf with her nineteen previously published fictions.

The Boston Globe
...Searing...the past is artfully juxtaposed with the present in this finely wrought work. Its haunting passages will linger long after the last page is turned.
Publishers Lunch
This memoir is viscera encapsulated, of young, passionate love and shattering tragedy around the corner, of a horrible childhood redeemed by motherhood and literary output in secret, of not fitting in until you make everything fit you.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer
"Weir knows how to move a story along, and her memoir is a page turner..."
Entertainment Weekly
Equal parts moving love story and environmental warning.
Wisconsin State Journal
"Few books have made the case for shopping organic as eloquently...Her story is a thought-provoking argument against the pesticides used to grow food, but more than that, it's the story of the growth of an unlikely union. 'Love doesn't happen overnight,' Weir writes, and when she concludes the story of her marriage, she leaves readers marveling at the complexities of love."
BookPage
"A finely wrought story...[Weir's] journey, at times lonely and sad, is ultimately triumphant. Readers will be glad Weir found a home for this brave book..."
The Boston Globe (Pick of the Week)
"...Searing...the past is artfully juxtaposed with the present in this finely wrought work. Its haunting passages will linger long after the last page is turned."
Entertainment Weekly (B+)
"Equal parts moving love story and environmental warning."
Publishers Lunch (one of the Favorite Books of 2011)
"This memoir is viscera encapsulated, of young, passionate love and shattering tragedy around the corner, of a horrible childhood redeemed by motherhood and literary output in secret, of not fitting in until you make everything fit you."
Publishers Weekly
The use of heavy pesticides over decades on Midwestern farms forms the dark, moody leitmotiv of this affecting memoir set largely around a 1970s orchard by thriller writer Weir (aka Anne Frasier). As a 21-year-old from a divorced home who grew up in Miami and Albuquerque, with a talent for art but little prospects to educate herself, Weir gravitated toward the Midwest, where she worked as a waitress in her uncle’s bar in Henderson County, Ill., just off the Iowa border; farmers dropped in for beer and a secret stash of porn her uncle kept in the back, their arms dusted with the herbicide they used in the fields. Smitten with young, handsome Adrian Curtis, the scion of a large apple orchard that seemed to be under a curse of bad luck, Weir soon married the serious, reticent young farmer and lived with him in a small cabin on his parents’ farm, although she hadn’t a clue about being a farm wife; moreover, her in-laws despised her as an outsider (“white trash”) and nobody expected her to last long. Nonetheless, the marriage endured happily, two healthy children were born, and Weir improbably managed to start a career as a writer. But then both Adrian and his father were diagnosed with and died from cancer. Afraid of further contaminating themselves, Weir and her two children eventually moved out of the county. Weir, now living in Minneapolis, narrates a truly disquieting tale of familial dislocation and rupture. (Oct.)
Nicholas Sparks
The Orchard is a lovely book in all the ways that really matter, one of those rare and wonderful memoirs in which people you've never met become your friends. I read it in a single sitting, lost in the story, and by the time I put it down, I was amazed by Weir's ability to evoke such genuine emotion. Read it: you'll be glad you did.
From the Publisher
A hypnotic tale of place, people, and of Midwestern family roots that run deep, stubbornly hidden, and equally menacing-THE ORCHARD is sublime and enchanting, like a reflecting pool, touch the surface and watch the ripples carry you away.

—Jamie Ford, NYT bestselling author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

The Orchard is a lovely book in all the ways that really matter, one of those rare and wonderful memoirs in which people you've never met become your friends. I read it in a single sitting, lost in the story, and by the time I put it down, I was amazed by Weir's ability to evoke such genuine emotion. Read it: you'll be glad you did.—Nicholas Sparks

Kirkus Reviews

A foreboding memoir of the author's early marriage into an agricultural family, and her emotional navigation between rootlessness and heritage.

In a key passage, novelist Weir (as Anne Frasier: Garden of Darkness, 2007, etc.) writes that "in that moment I understood that I'd stepped into a world I could never be a part of." How could a citified woman, whose mother struggled with revolving-door relationships and an itinerant lifestyle, forge an enduring bond with a man whose apple-farming family was governed by appearances? The author dances around questions of belonging and trust as she compresses her outsider beginnings on her husband's land with the years preceding his death, all while alternating between memories of a 1960s childhood. Threaded with abandonments and "[v]ery bad things that I will never talk about," the jagged pastiche reveals a woman whose impetuous decision to marry a man she barely knew led to love, children and the tough realization that generations of pesticide-spraying would destroy her newly reconciled peace. Weir ably captures the stasis of rural life and the pain of difference with acuity, though the impact is diluted when in-laws and other characters emerge as archetypal rather than fully fleshed figures. The author frankly admits to deeply subjective interpretation, however, acknowledging that "[s]ometimes there are people you must forget because of the damage they cause—blood ties or not." Recurrent hints of environmentally dangerous activity never quite develop into a parallel theme, remaining instead as touchstones for a narrative that reaches a crescendo with cancer diagnosis.

The strongest feature of the book is the determined loyalty that allows Weir to discover beauty amid strife, as well as the touching conclusion.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780446584685
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • Publication date: 9/4/2012
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 534,766
  • Product dimensions: 7.80 (w) x 5.20 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Theresa Weir is a USA Today bestselling author of nineteen novels that have spanned the genres of suspense, mystery, thriller, romantic suspense, and paranormal; her work has been translated into twenty languages. Her debut title was the cult phenomenon, Amazon Lily, initially published by Pocket Books and later reissued by Bantam. Writing as Theresa Weir, she won a RITA for romantic suspense (Cool Shade) and the Daphne du Maurier Award (for Bad Karma). She has also published as Anne Frasier. Her thriller and suspense titles have hit the USA Today list (Hush, Sleep Tight, Play Dead) and have been featured in Mystery Guild, Literary Guild, and Book of the Month Club. Hush was both a RITA and Daphne du Maurier finalist. Theresa spent twenty years living on a working apple farm, and now divides her time between St. Paul, Minnesota, and a century-old Gothic church in rural Wisconsin.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 25 )
Rating Distribution

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 25 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 20, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A Sense of Foreboding Amidst the Apple Trees

    It is hard to believe that a USA Today bestselling author of nineteen novels had difficulty finding a publisher for her memoir. Theresa Weir, who has published award-winning suspense, romance, thriller and paranormal books under her name and the pseudonym Anne Frasier, persisted. Three years later, The Orchard was published. Her gift to us is a riveting, honest memoir.

    At age twenty-one, Theresa fell in love with Adrian Curtis, an apple farmer, whose family waged a battle to keep their orchard trees free from moths. She never anticipated being shunned by his family or the bleakness of farm life. The environmental implications of pesticide use in the story are chilling. Although the issues raised are disturbing, the writing is fluid. Weir expertly weaves a sense of foreboding through the rows of apple trees the Curtis family vow to protect.

    The book jacket leads us to believe the story is that of saving a fifth-generation apple farm. The author's note, however, is very telling. The book is a catharsis. Sometimes the only way to purge oneself of a poison is to write about it. Grand Central Publishing graciously supplied the advanced readers copy for my unbiased opinion. Reviewed by Holly Weiss, author of Crestmont

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2013

    Beautifully written and lovely story

    This book was so beautifully written it felt like poetry. Beautiful story and didn't want to put it down. Good depiction of young woman's journey through life and love, the orchard being a great teacher.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 4, 2014

    Loved it

    I realy enjoyed reading this it brinngss back my memories of farm life and the spraying of the fields with a plane my brother named the plane the green hornet this is a well writyen book

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 25, 2014

    Well-written and poignant .  Enjoyed the honesty in the author's

    Well-written and poignant .  Enjoyed the honesty in the author's telling of  her  story. A little preach-y at times regarding the use of pesticides but I don't know that that's a bad thing. 

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 22, 2013

    Excellent

    I loved this book. Loved the intimacy of it, the honesty and the author's bravery in telling the truth.

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  • Posted October 5, 2012

    It says so much in very few pages. Loved it.

    This is a quick read and it does not ramble on and on. Once I started reading it I had a hard time putting it down, so I just kept reading until it was done. I really do look at an apple differently now.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2012

    well written and thoroughly enjoyable

    It gave me a lot to think about. This country has got a serious love affair with chemicals to cure everything.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2012

    Haunting & beautiful

    It wasn't what expected but so glad I stuck with it!

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  • Posted January 28, 2012

    Beautiful story - highest recommendation

    One of the most warm and painfully honest memoirs I've ever read. Wonderfully descriptive scenes; absolutely piercing. And read the last 20 or 30 pages with a large box of tissue.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2011

    Reads more like fiction than nonfiction

    I would define this book as creative nonfiction. That means there are some aspects of the story which are true, while other aspects have been enhanced in order to make the story more readable. With a little research into orchard management, the reader would discover the improbability of an Orchardist pushing out and burning an entire orchard due to a codling moth infestation. While this book makes for an interesting read, keep in mind that a memoir is an individual's recollection of events that occurred in their life. It does not necessarily mean it is an actual account of those events.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 22, 2011

    Highy recommend

    Excellent book. Very fast read.

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