Recently I read Susan Wiggs’ THE APPLE ORCHARD. Wiggs’ main character, Tess Delaney, considers her life well planned out – she is up for a substantial promotion, has great friends, an apartment she enjoys – everything, except the closeness of family. Tess’s mother Shannon traveled while her grandmother raised her; her father was never a part of her life, in fact, she knew nothing about him. As a result, Tess, like all the women in her family before her, felt she didn’t need a permanent relationship with a man. Then one morning when she had a very important meeting scheduled with her boss to discuss her promotion, her life changed forever in ways she could not have imagined when Dominic Rossi, an attorney for the grandfather she didn’t know she had, showed up in her office. Rossi informed Tess that her grandfather Magnus Johansen was in a coma and she was named in his will and needed to come back with him to Archangel, a small town in the Sonoma country. This was the beginning of a journey filled with many unanswered questions and Tess didn’t want any interruptions in her life. She certainly wasn’t interested in traipsing off with a strange man to her grandfather’s orchard when she had such a rewarding job in San Francisco.
Confronted with many unsettling issues after arriving in Archangel, Tess doesn’t want to stay to sort through them. However, as each day goes by, she is more drawn to the life and family she discovered there. There is also Dominic Rossi who keeps turning up, but Tess definitely doesn’t need a relationship and a ready-made family to alter her life. Will she stay or return to her former life?
Wigg’s characters were extremely well-developed and the plot had many twists and turns to keep me turning the pages. Long after I finished the last page, my mind wandered back to Archangel, Tess, and the other characters. I highly recommend this book.