Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin (Blog Tour)

The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin
Publisher: Harper
Publication Date: August 21st
Source: Publisher
Rating: I liked it
At the turn of the twentieth century, in a rural stretch of the Pacific Northwest, a reclusive orchardist, William Talmadge, tends to apples and apricots as if they were loved ones. A gentle man, he’s found solace in the sweetness of the fruit he grows and the quiet, beating heart of the land he cultivates. One day, two teenage girls appear and steal his fruit from the market; they later return to the outskirts of his orchard to see the man who gave them no chase. Feral, scared, and very pregnant, the girls take up on Talmadge’s land and indulge in his deep reservoir of compassion. Just as the girls begin to trust him, men arrive in the orchard with guns, and the shattering tragedy that follows will set Talmadge on an irrevocable course not only to save and protect but also to reconcile the ghosts of his own troubled past.
The Skinny: A really good story that illustrates how one’s past directs future actions

When I first started reading The Orchardist, I thought it was going to be a bit dry and boring. Stories about farming and crops do not usually appeal to me, but I was pleasantly surprised that the story uses the orchard as a backdrop to highlight powerful themes, such as love, family, desperation, and loss. The various plot developments always accompany a new feeling or emotion, and the characters are constantly evolving. Coplin’s writing style is lovely and kept me captivated from beginning to end. She made me desperate to find out what happens. My favorite aspect of the book is that we get a sense of past events and we watch as the characters grow and mature.

Because the characters are all well-developed, I felt pulled by them and their actions. I understood why Talmadge, Jane, and Della behaved in certain ways. Their past experiences are described in detail, so it is easy to follow them on their respective journeys. When Talmadge was young, his sister mysteriously disappeared and this deeply rooted sense of loss pushes him to care for Della and Jane. The girls endured a life of abuse, so their aloof manners are understandable. I loved that each character battled an internal and an external conflict. I connected the most with Talmadge. He is supportive, loving, and protective. He cares so deeply for others that towards the end of the novel, I was nervous to see how his tale ended.

The story is believable, heart wrenching, and classic. The pacing is appropriate, and the view we get of the characters at different points in time is one of the reasons why I liked The Orchardist so much. This certainly isn’t a happy story and the ending didn’t leave me with the warm and fuzzies, but the outcome felt real and authentic to the events. I enjoyed this book, and I liked the overarching theme that people are driven and motivated by their past.  

Check out the other tour stops!

Tuesday, August 21st: Cold Read
Wednesday, August 22nd: Paperspines
Thursday, August 23rd: nomadreader
Monday, August 27th: Man of La Book
Tuesday, August 28th: West Metro Mommy
Thursday, August 30th: girlichef
Monday, September 3rd: A Room of One’s Own
Wednesday, September 5th: The Lost Entwife
Wednesday, September 12th: The Feminist Texican [Reads]
Thursday, September 13th: Oh! Paper Pages
Friday, September 14th: Write Meg
Thursday, September 20th: Shall Write
Friday, September 21st: The Written World

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. Check out The Orcharist on Goodreads.


  1. It sounds really good! Farming is definitely not something that would appeal to me but at the same time, it seems like a touching story. I'm glad you were pleasantly surprised!

  2. I haven't heard of this book but it sounds lovely and now I'm really intrigued by the girls' story.

    Also hi! Thanks for dropping by our blog, we're now following yours :) Oh and I'm gluten free too :)

    Mands xox

  3. "believable, heart wrenching, and classic" - all three are great descriptions but it is that last word that really gets my attention ... I HAVE TO read this book!

    Thanks fro being on the tour.