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The Orchid House

3.73 of 5 stars 3.73  ·  rating details  ·  7,630 ratings  ·  972 reviews

For fans of The House at Riverton and Rebecca—a debut spanning from the 1930s to the present day, from a magnificent estate in war-torn England to Thailand, this sweeping novel tells the tale of a concert pianist, Julia, and the prominent Crawford family whose shocking secrets are revealed, leading to devastating consequences for generations to come.

As a child Julia Forre
Paperback, 449 pages
Published February 14th 2012 by Atria Books (first published 2010)
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Community Reviews

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This was so much crap! Bullshit at its best, to be precise. Seriously, I expected so much from this book, like a great family saga, with some romance and some interesting plot. And in the end, I didn't get anything but crap!

I mean the prologue was kinda great and I thought, OMG, this book has to fantastic. I was SO wrong. After the prologue the whole story goes down the drain and only consists of stupid and blunt characters that are all so very annoying and not likeable at all. Plus, they don't
Meg - A Bookish Affair
On the whole, I really liked this book. I questioned a couple things (I'll get into that) but as a whole, I really liked this historical fiction book.

Julia has just suffered a great loss in her life and has gone back to see her grandmother who begins telling her stories of the people who once lived in a great house where Julia's grandmother worked. As with many of these stories that take place in two time periods, I liked the old one a lot better.

I loved seeing how the mystery of Julia's famil
Tanja Berg
This novel is so bad it is a shame to the written word. I cannot believe I read through 577 pages of clichées, stick figures, stupid plot and uninteresting intrigue. I should have left it at page 80, with "Oh Julia, I'll never forget until my dying day, the moment I walked into that Magnolia bedroom and saw her for the first time". That should have been a hint that there were only worse things to come.

The story is that of Julia, who is in deep morning after the loss of husband and child. She's b
Lucinda Riley's endings are disgustingly cheesy, with everything being more than a little too perfect. Especially her characters. Here with her famous pianist (tormented by recent loss), and recently with her extremely gifted artist (tormented by recent loss) and ballerinas (also tormented by recent loss) of "The Girl on the Cliff". Riley clearly lives in a dream where all the good people get to live off of their art. She's part of a wave of authors that I feel are generally trying to be Kate Mo ...more
It is worth noting that Hothouse Flower was republished in 2012 with the title of The Orchid House just so that any confusion with readers thinking it might be a different story, when this is not the case are cleared up straight away. Although the central theme of a family saga set in a country house spanning from the 1930's to the present day is far from an original one, this one is different. It has such a multi layered story to tell us with so many stirring and compelling love stories, secret ...more
Book was displayed in a bookstore as "for fans of Downton Abbey" - I've never watched the show but everyone has told me I'll love it.

In this case, I regret wasting my time. I feel like a fool because I kept slogging on until the end, despite early and plentiful signs that it wasn't going to be what I hoped; I admit I was interested enough in the plot to just read a little further... a little further... But it just could have been so much better.

Characters just never come alive and are hard to c
I would have rated this book 3.5 stars, if half stars were allowed on Goodreads.

There is truth about the old adage, "less is more". I was happily reading along when one extra twist in the story punted it firmly into the realm of melodrama. Unfortunately, there were a couple more twists to come. Lucinda Riley, you were doing just fine until you started to embellish too much.

The story had promise. I loved the fable told at the beginning of the novel and how it played out throughout the story. Whi
Khanh (Clowns, Nightmares, and Bunnies)
I've read a lot of contemporary chick lit in my day, I only wished I had saved myself the time and money and had just gone straight to reading The Orchid House instead, since the author kindly read all those books for me, and then conveniently condensed every single modern-woman literature trope into one book. Elin Hildebrand? Audrey Niffenegger? Kristin Hannah? Nah. Save yourself hundreds of books and hundreds of dollars, you will find them all condensed here.

Let's see, off the top of my head,
I love these lines from the book: We are sharing a moment in time. Like the universe, there is no beginning or end. We just are.
This is what Kit told Julia when they were at Wharton Park looking at the stars and everything seemed to be perfect for them. Of course, Julia was still grieving for her son and husband, but Kit was helping her.
Then she found out that Xavier had done something terrible, and it sent her reeling causing her to wonder if she and Kit could ever make it together. Then a tru
Carla Ford
This wonderful novel is an exploration of the many ways in which we are powerless, or allow ourselves to be powerless, to change the course our lives take. Sometime we have to go a certain direction out of family obligation, or we get started on a path where it is just too hard to turn back. Sometime we turn a blind eye to reality, and live in a world of not quite reality because we are afraid to face the truth. Sometimes we really have no choices, and we do the best we can with what life hands ...more
Jaime Boler
The Baker's Daughter by Sarah McCoy (Random House; 304 pages; $23).
The Orchid House by Lucinda Riley (Simon and Schuster; 464 pages; $15).

Over the past few years, the book world has witnessed a rising trend in which a present-day protagonist, grappling with her own problems, stumbles upon an intriguing past mystery. Only when she solves the puzzle can she then tackle what is wrong in her own life. Curiously, many of said novels have ties to World War II. Recent notable books in this genre are T
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
The Orchid House is set on two continents, covers three generations, and has interesting entanglements between two families who both hail from an English country estate. The author has complicated relationships betwixt the families and draws interesting parallels between generations. While the foreshadowing of events lacked subtlety, I still found it to have an engaging story line. The dialog was definitely not reflective of how anyone I know actually speaks, but, I thought, perhaps this is how ...more
Sorry, this was a wallbanger for me, and I only made it less than 100 pages in. Started it with such high hopes (beautiful cover, great blurb), when I got to where one sister is telling the other how old she is and about her house, dogs, husband and kids I thought 'hmmm, not sure her sister needs to be TOLD how old she (her sister) is', but gave it the benefit of the doubt. A few pages later I got to where the same sister prefaces a conversation with her father (amid an improbably perfect domest ...more
After reading a book that opened up parts of my emotions I had closed off, I now find myself yearning for more. I couldn´t go back to books were sensible to read. My emotions needed to be heard, the full spectrum of them.
Standing in the bookstore, scanning the shelves for something to inspire me, I finally gave up, and asked the salesperson for something similar that I´d read, when my eyes noticed the cover of "The Orchid House", and the excerpt that they gave away for free. I started reading,
Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews
What better way to heal from a tragedy than to go back to a time and a place when life was good. Julia had lost her husband and her son in a tragic accident in France and decided to return to England to begin healing and to begin re-acquainting herself with her family.

Julia was having a difficult time with her grief, but luck came her way one day when she was given a diary that belonged to her grandfather.

The diary had been found under the floorboards in one of the cottages on the Crawford esta
I ended up liking the characters and plot of this book more than I expected when I started reading. The book jumps back and forth between the present and recollections from two generations back and deftly spins a story that reveals hidden connections, secrets, and parallels between many of the characters. There are repeated themes of dealing with the grief of losing loved ones, the conflict between love and duty, and the strong bond of family. The settings are lovely, featuring an English countr ...more
Catia Pereira
Começo pelo fim: este foi o 1º livro que li desta escritora e gostei de lê-lo. Classifiquei-o com 4 estrelas pelo facto de se enquadrar num estilo de que eu gosto de ler: sagas familiares que passam por várias gerações. Tenho um fraco por livros deste género onde a dinâmica familiar (com suas perdas, virtudes, enganos e defeitos) é abordada. Gostei da forma como o drama pessoal de Júlia Forrester, a protagonista, se entrelaça com a descoberta e entendimento do seu passado familiar e, na mesma me ...more
Danielle Rossman
Lucinda Riley's novel The Orchid House is perhaps the most charming novel I have read in quite a long time. She takes modern and historical fiction and creates a blended tale of how one home...Wharton Park casts a magic spell over generations of people. I am a lover of Historical fiction because not only does this style of writing add deeper overtones to novels, but also because when done correctly, the characters become richer overall. Lucinda Riley's use of language is also quite fascinating a ...more
Merle Louzensky
There were elements of The Orchid House which I enjoyed; however, I felt that Lucinda Riley's plot and characterization left me wanting more.

What I enjoyed:

The settings, alternating from an aristocratic English estate to exotic Thailand, to France
The time periods of World War II and modern day
The novel's opening chapters established a fairy tale-ish quality with an old Siamese fable followed by haunting chapters on Julia's grief over losing her husband and son.

Had Riley sustained the tone(s)
I saved this book to read on holiday and it began full of promise.

I was soon disappointed. It was very cliched and very predictable, not one surprise to be had!

There were moments in book that were supposed to be tragic, but the way the author transcribes the various dialects in the book were comical and I found myself laughing instead of crying.

When I was close to the end, (and I was reading it on a Kindle, so couldn’t be sure when I was on the very last page), there were two occasions when I t
I would have given this book 5 stars except for one story section that just did not live up to the rest of the book. So I will not ruin the story for future readers, the section starting around page 400 should have had a different story line. Having said that, I thought the book was very engrossing . The subject matter and story line was different from other books that one might compare this book to in a review! Enjoyed all the characters. Also I joyed the integration of cultures , and different ...more
I really enjoyed this book,I felt for Julia from the very beginning
This story is filled with lots of secrets from the past,it is heartbreaking and emotional and I was very surprised by secrets that were revealed at the end.The historical fiction sections were completely fascinating, not that the modern ones were not. I recommend it
Incredibly disappointing. Annoying and illogical characters in the present, annoying and predictable characters in the past, unconvincing plot with a ridiculous return from the dead. I bought the large print edition hoping it would be suitable for my grandmother but she would have thought it was trashy so I donated it to the library instead.
Rachel Nielsen
Ok - so I liked the book, but I just keep getting stuck on the fact that it seems to minimalize immorality, because it makes a person "happy" or it all works out in the end {for some people and 50 years later}. I don't think that is what the author was necessarily going for, but it's what I took out of it. FYI - the intimacy was not detailed.

There was a shocking twist towards the end of the book that I did not see coming, which I love.

I really like her style of writing and the way a story from
Lauren Ferguson
I enjoyed reading the book. It is incredibly flawed, but if you're looking for something light and can easily forgive an author with a tendency to underestimate the intelligence of her audience, you'll be fine. I liked the main character and felt connected to her which kept me reading.

However, did it not bother anyone else that this half Thai child was passed off as the natural child of two people of English descent without raising any questions? You're trying to tell me that even
Kris Irvin
I am 200 pages into this tripe and I refuse to waste my time any further. I was recommended this book by Goodreads because I love Kate Morton's novels, du Maurier's "Rebecca" and Downton Abbey.

Yeah, this book is nothing like those.

Sure, it takes place in the same time period, and it's all about ye olde English drama, but holy crap, it is just not well done. None of the characters are even remotely likable and they are all caricatures of the same person. The same hollowed out, shell of a person
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
What an incredibly beautiful story. The lyrical language caught me from the very beginning. Lucinda Riley's novel is impressive, weaving together a tale that spans decades and continents.

Julia, at first, is not the most likable character; she is too lost in her depression, the cause of which you do not know for a while, to be too understandable, at least to someone lacking such an experience. She is actually rather rude to her well meaning family members, pushing away those that would help. But,
As a child Julia Forrester spent many idyllic hours in the hothouse of Wharton Park, the great house where her grandfather tended exotic orchids. Years later, while struggling with overwhelming grief over the death of her husband and young child, she returns to the tranquility of the estate. There she reunites with Kit Crawford, heir to the estate and her possible salvation.
When they discover an old diary, Julia seeks out her grandmother to learn the truth behind a love affair that almost destr
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Too long a road 6 76 Mar 23, 2014 01:04AM  
misleading... 3 39 Mar 21, 2014 10:34PM  
dialogue in The Orchid House 1 21 Nov 26, 2013 02:32PM  
Around the World ...: Discussion for The Orchid House 19 82 Jul 31, 2013 06:01PM  
Coffee Talk: The Orchid House 40 55 Jul 29, 2013 09:26PM  
*Best Sellers* Bo...: Hothouse Flower/The Orchid House 25 43 Sep 14, 2012 02:01PM  
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AKA: Lucinda Edmonds

Lucinda Riley was born in Ireland and during her childhood travelled extensively abroad, particularly to the Far East to visit her father.

Moving to London she became an actress working in film, theatre and television. Five years ago she designed and built a house on the island of Koh Chang in Thailand, where her father had purchased land many years before. Her passion for histo
More about Lucinda Riley...
The Girl on the Cliff The Lavender Garden The Midnight Rose The Italian Girl The Seven Sisters: A Novel

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“Because -' she looked up at Bill and gave him a smile that lit up her face, granting him a sudden flash of her true beauty - 'love never die, Mister Bill. It never die.” 5 likes
“Julia played for them: for her husband and her beloved son. And tried to believe somewhere in her heart that, wherever they were, they could hear her.” 3 likes
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