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Thursday, October 5, 2017

Book Review! The Orchard: A Memoir by Theresa Weir

The Orchard: A Memoir by Theresa Weir
Genre: Adult Non-Fiction (Memoir/Biography)
Date Published: January 1, 2011
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

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.

The Orchard: A Memoir by Theresa Weir is not a book I'd typically read, because I don't enjoy non-fiction as a general rule. But, I'm glad I made an exception for this one. First of all, it doesn't read like a non-fiction biography. The author tells her story in a fictional way. I didn't feel like this was someone's dusty biography. I enjoyed her style quite a bit. 

I try to buy organic most of the time, and after reading this book... holy cow. I just want to be self sufficient and never buy from a store again. It was very eye opening. There is this whole farming subculture that I never knew about. They try to protect their livelihood and their image, and do so at the risk of their health and even their children's health. Generations and generations of people living this way by hiding the realities of what the chemicals they are using are really doing to them and their surroundings. It was scary. That stuff was what I took away from the book the most, but that wasn't all that it was about, obviously. Theresa didn't grow up on a farm, but she married into one. She had a rough upbringing that most wouldn't live through, but she did and even though her married life is less than ideal, it's much better than anything she has known previously. Adrian is a good man. I really felt for him through most of this book. After finishing, I read an interview with the author. She talked about how Adrian was funny and made her laugh and how they had fun times together during their marriage. I really wish some of those moments could have been included in the book. It would have added some much needed lightness, to an otherwise heavy storyline. Plus, I feel like Adrian deserved some of that lightness in his parts of the story. I grew attached to this family. Not the in-laws so much, but to Theresa, Adrian, and the kids... I felt like I really got to know them. It was a unique reading experience.

I don't know how much of this applies to farming as a whole. This was one person's account of her experiences, and I found it to be interesting, informative, and entertaining. I'm glad I stepped outside my reading box and read something a little different from my norm. I'd definitely recommend it to others. 

Theresa Weir (a.k.a. Anne Frasier) is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of twenty-six books and numerous short stories that have spanned the genres of suspense, mystery, thriller, romantic suspense, paranormal, fantasy, and memoir. During her award-winning career, she's written for Penguin Putnam, Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins Publishers, Bantam Books/Random House, Silhouette Books, Grand Central Publishing/Hachette, and Amazon's Thomas & Mercer. Her titles have been printed in both hardcover and paperback and translated into twenty languages.

Her first memoir, THE ORCHARD, was a 2011 Oprah Magazine Fall Pick, Number Two on the Indie Next list, a featured B+ review in Entertainment Weekly, and a Librarians’ Best Books of 2011. Her second memoir, THE MAN WHO LEFT, was a New York Times Bestseller. Going back to 1988, Weir’s debut title was the cult phenomenon AMAZON LILY, initially published by Pocket Books and later reissued by Bantam Books. Writing as Theresa Weir, she won a RITA for romantic suspense (COOL SHADE), and a year later the Daphne du Maurier for paranormal romance (BAD KARMA). In her more recent Anne Frasier career, her thriller and suspense titles hit the USA Today list (HUSH, SLEEP TIGHT, PLAY DEAD) and were featured in Mystery Guild, Literary Guild, and Book of the Month Club. HUSH was both a RITA and Daphne du Maurier finalist.

To learn more about Theresa Weir and her books, visit her website.You can also find her on Goodreads, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

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