This week I read The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin. I really wanted to like this book, but I didn't. According to Indie Bound, The Orchardist is:
"Set in the untamed American West, a highly original and haunting debut novel about a makeshift family whose dramatic lives are shaped by violence, love, and an indelible connection to the land."
I believe that the operative word here is violence. There isn't much love in this novel except from William Talmadge, the title character. Talmadge enjoys tending his orchard, but his life is a lonely one because his only sister disappeared in the forrest when she was a young teen. Talmadge grieves over his loss the rest of his life, but an opportunity to protect presents itself when he's an older man. Two very pregnant teenagers show-up on his property. He feeds them and cares for them in spite of the fact that they stole from his fruit stall in town. He also gets them help from a local midwife when they both go into labor. The girls are running from a horrific situation, and when the girls' tormentor locates them on Talmadge's farm, they both hang themselves. One survives. After this point, the story arc falters, and the characters are poorly developed. The ending seems very rushed, and there is no clear conclusion. I was so disappointed.
This is Amanda Coplin's first novel, and the book had a fantastic start. I think she has the potential to be a great writer *if* she decides to develop a story through to its conclusion.
What have you been reading lately? This is a linky!
Until next time...