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The Orchardist: A Novel by Amanda Coplin

The Orchardist: A Novel (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Amanda Coplin

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8418310,711 (3.82)65
Title:The Orchardist: A Novel
Authors:Amanda Coplin
Collections:Read but unowned
Tags:Washington State, Wenatchee

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The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin (2012)



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My mother and I rarely like the same books, but this is an exception and falls a bit outside of my normal reading genres. It’s solid literary fiction, but far enough in the past to be historical fiction as well. What drew me to read it were the characters, an orchardist and some orphans, the distinct location, Wenatchee Washington (a place I’ve been and recall a traffic jam at the town’s one stoplight, well it seemed like one stoplight) and the praise it has gotten. Well-deserved praise. It’s written with verve and creativity and while a lot of what is described is pretty quotidian, it remained taut and interesting throughout.

The real stand-out are Coplin’s characterizations. Starting with William Talmage, the Orchardist of the title and his relationship with local midwife Caroline Middey and then introducing the two orphan girls who show up in town. Don’t get too comfortable with how you imagine the story will go; it won’t. I promise. While nothing terribly dramatic happens, things take turns that I didn’t expect and didn’t understand. Particularly with Della. I didn’t have much patience with her or her sister, Jane, but they said and did things that kept me guessing and intrigued. I think a situation like this could only be plausible in the past. Now, the state and local authorities would take over and Caroline and Talmage would never have had the opportunity to care for the girls or enrich their lives with the person that Angelene became. How they bond gives a tremendous sense of community that I rarely encounter in the novels I read and I hope Coplin writes more. ( )
  Bookmarque | Oct 23, 2014 |
The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin was a book that captured me totally during the first half of the book. After that I struggled with the slowness of the story and the lack of direction. Like an orchard, the story grew slowly but unfortunately, I never felt rewarded with a juicy ending. The story just seem to drift to a close.

It is a beautifully written story of early 20th century eastern Washington state. William Talmadge and his sister tend an orchard after the death of their mother. One day his sister goes into the forest to gather herbs and never returns. All they ever find of her is her apron and her bonnet. Talmadge is devastated by her disappearance and spends the rest of his life haunted by this event. When, as an older man, two young, pregnant girls running away from a life of abuse, arrive in the orchard, he is more than ready to invite them into his life wanting only to protect and care for them.

The beginning of this book was a complete page turner, being both reflective and spellbinding. Her description of sunlit days amongst the apricots and apples evoked my senses and totally captured my imagination. This book that started as such an emotional and touching story unfortunately wasn‘t able to hold onto the beautiful rhythm. The second half of the book was both underwhelming and seemed to drag on indefinitely. I wish the author had shortened the book by about 150 pages which would have made for a tighter, more stunning story.

This was a debut novel and I am glad that I read The Orchardist. Amanada Coplin writes with style and flair. Her ability to combine both lyrical and sparse prose shows a talent that leaves me wanting to see what she does next. ( )
1 vote DeltaQueen50 | Oct 7, 2014 |
This book weaves magical words. Loved this story. It does kind of drag a bit after the first half and thus my four star rating. However, it does redeem itself by just being plain dang good. ( )
  bookqueenshelby | Sep 9, 2014 |
Beautifully written - enough said. ( )
  flourgirl49 | Aug 24, 2014 |
I finished The Orchardist today. I gave it to my Mother as a birthday gift in April after reading a promo, then we loaned it to a neighbor who loves excellent writing and then this holiday weekend it was my turn to be captivated by your writing. As a voracious reader and a retired librarian, I have read more titles than I can count. It is difficult to perceive this special book as a "first" novel. As my Mother so precisely described said, "It draws you in". Thank you for your story. Thank you for your writing that mesmerizes - it is lyrical, it is intelligent, it is thoughtful - and without doubt generates emotion through your rich character development and exquisite design of describing the atmosphere and setting in which the characters live and evolve. Thank you for sharing your gift of writing with us. I hope you never stop writing. ♥ ( )
  Corduroy7 | Aug 6, 2014 |
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To my family
And in memory of my grandfather
Dwayne Eugene Sanders
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His face was as pitted as the moon.
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Book description
Amanda Coplin evokes a powerful sense of place, mixing tenderness and violence as she spins an engrossing tale of a solitary orchardist who provides shelter to two runaway teenage girls in the untamed American West, and the dramatic consequences of his actions.
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When two feral girls--one of them very pregnant--appear on his homestead, solitary orchardist Talmadge, who carefully tends the grove of fruit trees he has cultivated for nearly half a century, vows to save and protect them.

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Average: (3.82)
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2 12
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