As a child Julia Forrester spent many idyllic hours in the hothouse of Wharton Park, the great house where her grandfather tended exotic orchids. Years later, while struggling with overwhelming grief over the death of her husband and young child, she returns to the tranquility of the estate. There she reunites with Kit Crawford, heir to the estate and her possible salvation.
When they discover an old diary, Julia seeks out her grandmother to learn the truth behind a love affair that almost destroyed Wharton Park. Their search takes them back to the 1930s when a former heir to Wharton Park married his young society bride on the eve of World War II. When the two lovers are cruelly separated, the impact will be felt on generations to come.
Lucinda Riley skillfully sweeps her readers between the magical world of Wharton Park and Thailand during World War II with irresistible and atmospheric storytelling. Filled with twists and turns, passions and lies, and ultimately redemption, The Orchid House is a romantic, poignant novel that became an instant bestseller in the UK and Germany.
Paperback, 449 pages
Published February 14th 2012 by Atria Books (first published November 25th 2010
This is the Lucinda Riley's debut and I just love the cover! Orchids are one of my favorite flowers and I can never grow them myself.
The ratings for this book are mixed, either you love it or you don't. I didn't even look at the ratings when I purchased this book (it came highly recommended from readers that I have similar tastes with), then once I started reading I began to wonder and thats when I checked it out.
I am giving this book 3 stars, that means 'I liked it" and that's not a bad thing, right?
Let me start by saying that I love books with dual time period stories. I love long lost letters/diaries that hold secrets to the past that affected the future in dramatic ways. So of course this book really appealed to me. Comparing it to Kate Morton really grabbed me because she is one of my very favorites and I will grab anything she writes.
The opening of this book was really good and it did grab my attention. but as time went on I started to struggled to connect with most of the people in this book, especially Julia, whom the book focuses on. The only one that I could feel any emotion for was Julia's grandmother, Elsie, but at the same time surprised as to her role in the present day story line. Yes she played a big part, but for such a close family why wasn't she around more to support Julia in her tragedy? Taking place 9 months lately and this is their first encounter together. I can only be vague here for those that have not read this book yet.
With the discovery of an old diary this story shifts back and forth in time. I found the past time period better written and more interesting, I was able to connect with Olivia, Elsie, even Harry (though I didn't like him much, the author did a good job of portraying him as unlikeable). There was depth to these characters which showed more emotion and feeling. I struggled with the present day people, they felt flat to me and really I wasn't all that interested in what happened to them. Also parts of this storyline were predictable.
Will this stop me from reading more by Lucinda Riley? Definitely not! This is the authors debut and as far as I am concerned it can only get better. Her 4th book is being released in March, The Midnight Rose, I received a review copy and can't wait to dig into it.