Monday, July 23, 2018

Review: Beyond the Orchard by Anna Romer

A haunting story of yearning, love and betrayal from the bestselling author of Thornwood House

 Lucy Briar has arrived home in turmoil after years overseas. She’s met her fiancé in London and has her life mapped out, but something is holding her back.

 Hoping to ground herself and find answers, Lucy settles into once familiar routines. But old tortured feelings flood Lucy’s existence when her beloved father, Ron, is hospitalised and Morgan – the man who drove her away all those years ago – seeks her out. Worse, Ron implores Lucy to visit Bitterwood Estate, the crumbling historic family guesthouse now left to him. He needs Lucy to find something– an old photograph album, the very thing that drove Ron and his father apart.

 Lucy has her own painful memories of Bitterwood, darkness that has plagued her dreams since she was young. But as Lucy searches for the album, the house begins to give up its ghosts and she is driven to put them to rest.

 And there, held tightly between the house, the orchard and the soaring cliffs, Lucy uncovers a long-hidden secret that shattered a family’s bond and kept a frightened young girl in its thrall ... and Lucy discovers just how fierce the lonely heart can be.

 Paperback, 464 pages
Published November 1st 2016
 by Simon & Schuster

 I always cringe when an author is compared to Kate Morton, those are mighty fine boots to fill and to me it’s just a setup for disappointment. That being said Australian author Anna Romer did not disappoint, this is her third book and I've loved the previous two, The Thornwood House and Lyrebird Hill.

Beyond the Orchard is a dual time period book, with an Australian setting - one of my favourite places (and on my bucket list). With an old house set high on a cliff there is a mysterious ice house that sets the tone, the opening chapter was enough to suck me right in.

Weaving back and forth in time, from the 1930’s and current day, the different characters come to life. There are a number of characters and many layers here but they all work well together with no problem keep track of the story. If anything I was so engrossed that I didn’t realize this until I started writing this up.

Beyond the Orchard is a story of guilt, hidden secrets and family dynamics. It had that Gothic and fairy tale feel that I love. The story unfolded at a great pace it kept me captivated and curious with its twists and turns.

Definitely one of my favourite authors that I discovered when searching Australian settings.

Beyond the Orchard is from my personal library (hard to find in Canada but audible has Anna Romer in audio format) and part of my ‘reading my shelf challenge’

click on cover to take you to may review

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