Audiobook Review: THE APPLE ORCHARD by Susan Wiggs

Format: Audio; 12 hrs, 3 mins
Narrator: Christina Traister
Series: Bella Vista Chronicles, #1
Publisher: Harlequin Mira/Brilliance Audio
Released: April 30, 2013
Source: eBook review copy from NetGalley/Audiobook borrowed from the library
Rating: ★★★★½

Number-one New York Times best-selling author Susan Wiggs brings listeners to the lush abundance of Sonoma County in a novel of sisters, friendship, and how memories are woven like a spell around us.

Tess Delaney makes a living restoring stolen treasures to their rightful owners. People like Annelise Winther, who refuses to sell her long-gone mother’s beloved necklace – despite Tess’s advice. To Annelise, the jewel’s value is in its memories.

But Tess’s own history is filled with gaps: a father she never met, a mother who spent more time traveling than with her daughter. So Tess is shocked when she discovers the grandfather she never knew is in a coma. And that she has been named in his will to inherit half of Bella Vista, a 100-acre apple orchard in the magical Sonoma town called Archangel. The rest is willed to Isabel Johansen. A half-sister she’s never heard of.

Against the rich landscape of Bella Vista, Tess begins to discover a world filled with the simple pleasures of food and family, of the warm earth beneath her bare feet. A world where family comes first and the roots of history run deep. A place where falling in love is not only possible, but inevitable.

And in a season filled with new experiences, Tess begins to see the truth in something Annelise once told her: If you don’t believe memories are worth more than money, then perhaps you’ve not made the right kind of memories.

From one of America’s most beloved writers, The Apple Orchard is a story of family ties – both old and new – and of the moments that connect our hearts.

THE APPLE ORCHARD is the first book I’ve read by Susan Wiggs, and wow, was I blown away.  Part mystery, romance, and family drama, this story takes readers from the quaint town of Archangel, California, in present day, to Nazi-occupied Denmark during World War II. I love historical fiction and vintage things, so this book really hit the spot. Tess’s job of tracking down priceless artifacts and lost family heirlooms sounded amazing.

I felt a strong bond with the characters of this book, especially the half-sisters, Tess and Isabel. They had a few family secrets dumped on them that were doozies, but that seemed to only make them closer. There’s a lovely romance for Tess too. This is a woman who guards her heart well, but luckily she took a chance. 4.5 stars!

Audio: Well done! Christina Traister was perfect as Tess, and she did a great job with the other female characters too. There were several voices with different accents, and she never missed a beat. Her male characters’ voices were okay, though not quite as good as the women. :-)

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.