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The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin
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The Orchardist (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Amanda Coplin, TBA (Narrator)

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1,1131007,423 (3.82)76
Member:pinkcrayon99
Title:The Orchardist
Authors:Amanda Coplin
Other authors:TBA (Narrator)
Info:Blackstone Audiobooks (2012), Edition: MP3 Una, MP3 CD
Collections:Your library, kindle
Rating:****
Tags:None

Work details

The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin (2012)

  1. 00
    Last Year's River: A Novel by Allen Morris Jones (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: Pregnant teenagers find unlikely protectors in older men bearing their own emotional scars in these atmospheric historical novels, set in the American West. Despite dramatic plotting and vivid description, both novels' relaxed pacing echoes the steady rhythms of farm life.… (more)
  2. 00
    Peace Like a River by Leif Enger (JGoto)
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Showing 1-5 of 99 (next | show all)
4★ 💕

intense.....psychologically complex...vividly descriptive

I'm hesitate when I think about describing The Orchardist

On a basic level, it revolves around an isolated rural stretch of land in the Pacific Northwest
and a host of characters bound to one another through the land.

The time is turn of the 20th century," a gentle solitary orchardist, Talmadge, tends to apples and apricots.
Then two feral, pregnant girls and armed gunmen set Talmadge on an irrevocable course not only to save and protect but to reconcile the ghosts of his own troubled past."

The first few paragraphs created a mental picture of William Talmadge that was striking.
Coplin continues this intensity in presenting other characters and a razor sharp vividness in defining the landscape.

The characters evolve in such a manner that a few simple descriptive words seem inadequate.
At one point I may see Della as raw, feral, frightening.
Then perhaps she's almost childlike and fearful.
Talmadge at one time may be gentle and ordered and then stubborn and obsessive at another time.

Both characters and themes are psychologically complex and emotionally intense.
The story evolves on many levels.

This debut novel definitely held my attention ( )
  pennsylady | Feb 1, 2016 |
Pretty good but wouldn't recommend to just anyone. ( )
  KathyGilbert | Jan 29, 2016 |
Audiobook performed by Mark Bramhall

In the late 19th century, a reclusive, gentle orchardist lovingly tends his apple and fruit trees in rural Washington. One day two teenage girls appear; first they steal some fruit from his market stand, and then show up on the outskirts of his orchards. Skittish and nearly feral they keep their distance while observing William Talmadge, who tries his best to win their trust. Just as Jane and Della have begun settle in, men arrive with guns, and Talmadge is faced with the girls’ terrible past. The events of that day deeply affect the two girls, and set Talmadge on a mission to save and protect, not always will the result he intended.

This is a beautifully written debut novel that exemplifies “show, don’t tell.” Just as you get to know your neighbors or friends over decades, one event and reaction at a time, the reader gets to know Talmadge over the course of the novel. We learn immediately that he bears the disfiguring scars of smallpox. We get some basic background information of his arrival in Washington with his widowed mother and younger sister, how they came to settle in the valley and begin the orchard. We witness his relationships with the Native American men who trade horses, with Caroline Middey, a local herbalist and good friend, with the girl Angelene, and with all the various other characters, major and minor, and get a strong sense of the man he is.

A man of few words he rarely directly reflects on the guilt he carries over the loss of his sister, and over what happens at the orchard. Rather, his actions speak to his deep-seated pain and desire to make amends. His personal sense of justice results in the fierce loyalty of a select group of acquaintances; I hesitate to call them friends because they are rarely seen simply enjoying one another’s company. The sense of his aloneness is furthered by Coplin’s not giving several of the characters names – they are simply “the wrangler” or “the men.” Della, Angelene and Caroline Middey all play significant roles and are given long passages detailing their stories, but the novel really focuses on Talmadge.

Coplin also writes with eloquence about the land and the time period – when travel was primarily on foot on by horse or by mule-drawn wagon. When a person had time, and needed to observe closely the cycles of nature and the response of the land to water, wind, sun, and cold.

Mark Bramhall does a marvelous job voicing the audio book. His slow and deliberate delivery is perfect for the kind of quiet, deliberate, thoughtful man that is Talmadge. And despite his naturally deep voice, Bramhall does a respectable job of voicing the women, even the young Angelene.

( )
  BookConcierge | Jan 13, 2016 |
didn't finish ( )
  pharrm | Dec 30, 2015 |
read half, not good
  Tina_Thorson | Dec 6, 2015 |
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To my family
And in memory of my grandfather
Dwayne Eugene Sanders
1936-1994
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His face was as pitted as the moon.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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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