The Apple Orchard (Bella Vista Chronicles, #1)
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The Apple Orchard (Bella Vista Chronicles #1)

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  3,545 ratings  ·  629 reviews
#1 New York Times bestselling author Susan Wiggs brings readers into the lush abundance of Sonoma County, in a story of sisters, friendship and the invisible bonds of history that are woven like a spell around us.

Tess Delaney makes a living returning stolen treasures to their rightful owners. She loves illuminating history, filling the spaces in people's hearts with stori...more
Hardcover, 432 pages
Published April 30th 2013 by Harlequin MIRA (first published April 17th 2012)
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I was about to give up on Susan Wiggs after the last few Lakeshore novels, which were lackluster at best. But starting a new series with completely new characters seems to have revitalized her writing. Although the story is predictable, the writing is strong, and the historical details add a nice touch of depth. The romance is one her best in recent memory, even if the hero is a little too close to perfect. You can really feel the full range of Tess' emotions around Dominic, and the happy ending...more

I remember visiting the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C. and standing in front of an exhibit with a boat. The exhibit was dedicated to Denmark during World War II, and how they saved almost all of the population of Jewish people. They rowed their people to safety under the cover of night. I was struck by the heroics of this nation. The Denmark Rescue saved 7,200 people, a momentous act of bravery and compassion.

The Apple Orchard by Susan Wiggs includes...more
Jul 03, 2013 Jill rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2013
A career woman finds herself with a family she never knew about, learns that the family estate is about to be lost, and must choose between committing to this new life or returning to her old habits.

The prose becomes overly sentimental about the wonders of country living and the "conflict" is based on the tired notion that country life with family is better than working alone in the city. The "moral" could be boiled down to "the city will kill you, but the country makes you whole." I also would...more
Kathy Worrell
I won this book in a First Reads giveaway. This is another author who's novels I have never read! What a shame. Susan Wiggs writes a wonderful, heart filled novel. I enjoyed this book very much! To top it off, she adds a bunch of really great sounding recipes that I will definitely try!
I'm torn about this book. I read an ARC for it as an ebook through Netgalley and I hope some of the issues I had with it were a product of it being an ARC and that they will have been fixed in the final printing. Annoying things such as a character not being in a scene and then suddenly he is letting go of the hand of the protagonist and saying he'll meet her later. (In the scene where Tess watches them working the cider press, she heads inside with Isabel and then the next line is..."Tess could...more
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. Her mother Shannon traveled while Tess’s grandmother raised her. She never met her father and didn’t have an inkling who he was. Tess, like the women in her family before her, felt she didn’t need a permanent relationship with a man. On the morning of a very important meeting with her boss to discuss her promotion, her...more
This novel was a pleasure to read. I love learning something while enjoying interesting characters and a well thought out plot line. I liked the flashbacks to Denmark during the German occupation. Wiggs does a masterful job connecting the present day storyline with the events from the past. The present day romance while inevitable seemed almost unnecessary when compared to the love stories of those who survived that terrible time in Europe.
This may be my new favourite by this author. Great read...more
Jaime W
Surprised this made a best of 2013 was just ok. The romance was predictable and really, really stupid. The characters were underdeveloped and flat. But I watch stupid tv sometimes so I read stupid books sometimes for entertainment
Suzanne Barrett
Set in beautiful Sonoma county, this is a story of friendship, love and memories.

San Francosco-based Tess Delaney restores stolen treasures to their rightful owners, a vocation at which she is very good and from which she derives immense satisfaction. Often her finds lead her to heirlooms lost during the Nazi occupation of Europe. One such example is a necklace that belonged to Annaliese Winther's mother. The impoverished elderly woman refuses to sell it despite knowing the money received could...more
Theresa (Tess) Delaney doesn't eat right. She smokes too much. She's too thin. She works too much. She's got stress.

Tess travels the world finding forgotten and sometimes stolen treasures so that those treasures can be reunited with their rightful owners as she did with the necklace she found for Annelise Winther that was stolen from their family by Nazi's in Denmark. Tess was certain that Annelise would want to auction off this valuable necklace and is shocked when Annelise refuses to sell and...more
Julie Barrett
The Apple Orchard by Susan Wiggs
A really super book to me is one that talks of travel, food and the art of working with ones hands. This book has that and more.
The book starts out with the oldest of the family, Magnus Johnasen runs the apple orchard, Belle Vista in his 80's on the tree ladder when he gets a call on his cell...
Love that there are recipes in this book. Love the nature and especially trees as I come from a family of nursery men.
Tess Delaney works for an auction house in CA and she...more
Jennifer Waugh
This book is simply delicious! I have never read a book by this author before (I received this book as Good Reads Giveaway), and now I am a Susan Wiggs fan. The story revolves around the importance of family and discovering oneself. The ideas are not new, but the story is interesting enough to keep you engaged and wanting to know what happens next. The vivid descriptions of Sonoma makes the reader yearn to take a wine tasting trip. I am not even an avid cook, but the yummy recipes at the beginni...more
I can't believe that I haven't read a book written by Susan Wiggs until now!!!!!!!!!!! There wasn't one thing that I didn't enjoy about this story. I would love to do what Tess does for a living, what an exciting career, finding lost items and trying to find their owner and tell their story. I especially loved the vulnerability of Tess and Isabel when they find out that they're sisters. I'm glad that the author decided to make them friends because it truly added to the charm of the story.

Really good! A contemporary read with a great mix of history, my favorite type of read. I'm looking forward to the next release in this series.
I've tried reading another book by Susan Wiggs and abandoned it, I can hardly believe this is the same author. I'll have to try some of her other books now.
Judy Collins
#1 in the Bella Vista Series – Loved this book! Wow, it was a little different than Susan’s normal books – as enjoyed the setting in Sonoma Wine Country, culinary (and yummy recipes), the love of food, wine, antiques, romance, travel – from generations past, Nazi, beautiful estate and apple orchards, family, lost and hidden treasures, family and love - this book has it all – from Italy to Ireland and more ---I am so looking forward to reading more in this series! Great research and well written...more
Imagine my surprise while listening to this book and finding out it's full of recipes - yummy sounding recipes. I will now request the book from the library. The baked hot chocolate sounds wonderful, apple pie, focaccia bread, marinara sauce oh my. The story was a good balance of a World War II story and today. I thoroughly enjoyed listening!
Donna Antaramian
May 21, 2014 Donna Antaramian rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: friends
Shelves: 2014, audiobook
The Apple Orchard by Susan Wiggs is the 1st book of the Bella Vista Chronicles. This is a story of 2 sisters, unknown to each other that are brought together when Magnus, their grandfather and patriarch of Bella Vista falls and lands in a coma.

Tess Delaney, works in the big city for the Sheffield Auction House where she finds lost family treasures and reunites them with their owners. Tess grew up with her grandmother in Ireland knowing nothing about her father and with a mother that was always t...more
After reading several books dealing with war, murder, slavery and racism, my brain was ready for some lighter fare. I picked up "The Apple Orchard'' by Susan Wiggs, and was not disappointed.

Tess Delaney never knew what it was like to have a "real'' family. Her single mother was usually gone, traveling for work. Tess was raised by her beloved Irish grandmother, who died when Tess was 15.

As a grownup, Tess is driven by her career as an expert who finds lost treasures and restores them to their ri...more
It's been a long time since I picked up a book and didn't want to put it down until it was done. This book was exactly that. Loved the characters and the way the story was told (bits & pieces from the past mixed in with the present). It made me want to move to a small town in Sonoma County, drink wine and do lots of baking. As a added bonus, recipes are even included throughout the book!

This was the first book I've read by Susan Wiggs and I can assure you that it won't be the last. I've alr...more
I think this book has heaps of potential, but was never quite realized. It is, at its heart, a relational story, with promises of character development. I never quite got that, and I wasn't sold on the development. I didn't understand why Tess had that panic attack in the elevator at the beginning of the story, and all of a sudden she has a condition? Why was this not fleshed out before? Why couldn't she have recounted past instances so it wasn't dropped on the reader like we're supposed to run...more
Pretty good story that was marred by a lot of little details that weren't quite right. What has happened to all the good editors in the world? Downsized maybe? Just need someone who has enough of a clue to realize the San Francisco earthquake and fire the author mentions happened in 1906 not 1907. Someone who thinks to double check when honey crisp apples were developed - they were developed in Minnesota as cold weather tolerant trees and were released in the 1990s - so they couldn't possibly in...more
Sharon Chance
“The Apple Orchard, the latest novel from best-selling author Susan Wiggs, weaves the present with the past. The present consists of the story of Tess Delaney and her half-sister Isabel Johansen and their struggle to save the family orchard while getting to know each other. The past is a blend of the story of Tess’s mother and father’s relationship and the story of Tess and Isabel’s paternal grandfather Magnus and his work as a member of the Danish Resistance during World War II. And then there...more
3 1/2 stars. The story is decent, the characters have depth, the main character's career is downright interesting. Where it could be better is in the showing versus telling.

For example, a randomly chosen section from The Apple Orchard goes like this:
"She slid a sheet of biscuits into the oven and stood back, watching as Isabel coached the kids through cutting up apples, slicing grapes and celery and chopping walnuts for a fuit salad. Isabel had some kind of dressing to toss in, made with honey...more
To say Susan Wiggs’ The Apple Orchard was different than I’d anticipated is an understatement — but in a good way. I went into this 400-plus-page book expecting some romance set against a sparkling California backdrop — and Wiggs delivered on that front. But I was also treated to some mystery and some history . . . all while a burgeoning love affair simmered just beneath the surface.

In short: delicious.

So we have Tess Delaney, a purveyor of fine goods — a woman in San Francisco who specializes i...more
I started reading the books of Susan Wiggs when she was writing historical romance, and she remained an autobuy author for me when she moved to novels that are a hybrid of women’s fiction and contemporary romance. One of the things I have always loved about Wiggs’s books is her ability to weave together story strands, each forming its own pattern and yet integrated into a rich and complex whole. The Apple Orchard is a splendid example of this gift, taking the reader back to Magnus Johansen’s pas...more
Tess was raised by a single mother. In fact, her birth certificate documents her father as unknown. Tess's grandmother was also a single mother. Tess is...single. Her grandmother, with whom she spent much of her life in Dublin has passed. Her mother travels extensively and is rather detached in her role of a mother to Tess. In her 30's, Tess has managed without a sense of family and has become a strong, independent woman, working for a prestigious firm that helps people locate long-lost family t...more
Tess Delaney makes finding old artifacts and turning them into treasures her job. Tess receives a shock when she finds out she has a grandfather. Not only a grandfather but also a half sister. In addition that she is has just inherited half of Bella Vista.

Tess takes time off work to visit her half sister and Bella Vista. Tess meets Dominic in the process. Tess and her half sister find some old letters. They uncover their family history.

The Apple Orchard is a charming, fast read. All the apple...more
"The Apple Orchard' By Susan Wiggs is just delicious! Tess our main character is a "Treasure Hunter" She tracts down lost heirlooms, documents them and changes peoples lives. Well her own life is about to be forever changed in this wonderful charming story that takes us back in History to the German Invasion of Denmark, how lives were taken and how children became heroes even if they grow up flawed and make mistakes that affect the lives in their families for generations to come. Families conne...more
OH IT WAS HEAVEN! I wanted to stay wrapped up in this book forever. This is the kind of novel that fills your heart and soul with warmth and makes you just feel good! The recipes are to die for as well.

This novel has one of the most beautiful opening chapters that I have ever seen. The descriptions of the landscape are so vivid and alive that you can almost smell the apples and hear the buzz of the honeybees. Immediately I was drawn in to this story and never lost interest throughout the entire...more
Mel Raschke
The Apple Orchard centers around a family with unknown history, missing relationships, relationships on the verge of being lost, and a young woman, Tess Delaney, who is often at the center of all these familial mysteries. Successful, bright and upwardly mobile in her career, Tess seems to have at all as the book opens. Suddenly a shift change occurs when Tess is drawn into a family dynamic she knows nothing about quite unexpectedly. She finds a grandfather whom she has never met lying in a coma,...more
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I love her writing and this book 3 13 Jul 27, 2014 09:26AM  
Classic Readers : The Apple Orchard 7 6 Jan 26, 2014 12:45PM  
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Susan Wiggs's life is all about family, friends...and fiction. She lives at the water's edge on an island in Puget Sound, and she commutes to her writers' group in a 17-foot motorboat. She serves as author liaison for Field's End, a literary community on Bainbridge Island, Washington, bringing inspiration and instruction from the world's top authors to her seaside community. (See
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