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The Apple Orchard (Bella Vista Chronicles #1)

3.94  ·  Rating Details  ·  7,585 Ratings  ·  1,009 Reviews
Tess Delaney makes a living returning stolen treasures to their rightful owners. She loves illuminating history, filling the spaces in people's hearts with stories of their family legacies.

But Tess's own history is filled with gaps: a father she never met, and a mother who spent more time traveling than with her daughter.

Then Dominic Rossi arrives on the doorstep of the
Paperback, 448 pages
Published April 29th 2014 by Harlequin MIRA (first published April 17th 2012)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Oct 20, 2015 ☮Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wwii, read-in-2015

I've always been a big fan of the TV showAntiques Roadshow, and absolutely love how the appraisers know just what to look for and exactly how to raise the excitement level on a rare find. Here we have Tess who searches out treasures for a living in San Francisco, loves her work, but has no real family or family life--at all. Then a handsome banker enters her life with news that she has a half sister and grandfather in Sonoma County, and the old man is leaving her half his estate, which includ
Jaime W
Jun 19, 2014 Jaime W rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
May 13, 2013 Erin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

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
Nov 10, 2015 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: women-s-fiction
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
Jul 03, 2013 Jill rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Book of Secrets ☕
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
Dale Harcombe
Three and a half stars. This is an enjoyable read about a woman who discovers she had family connections she never knew about. Even though I didn’t understand Tess at times with her frantic lifestyle, I liked her. I also really liked Isabel, though I’m certainly not one into cooking as she is. These are the two main characters and then there is a love interest in Dominic. I have to admit to finding Dominic Rossi a bit too similar to the main male character of at least one of other book by Susan ...more
Mar 21, 2013 Sarah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 11, 2013 Elvan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Apr 22, 2013 Michelle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Judy Collins
Jun 07, 2013 Judy Collins rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
#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

Segreti di famiglia da svelare

Anche in questo romanzo di SUSAN WIGGS, le emozioni non si contano. È un uragano di passioni e segreti che si scontrano con il carattere della protagonista Tess, la quale è più decisa e determinata su un fronte, più fragile e insicura sull'altro. Se nel suo lavoro è la migliore, lo stesso non può dirsi per la sfera privata, dove è troppo riservata e sfuggente, preda di una sottile malinconia. Da sempre, Tess si sente privata dell'amore di una vera famiglia, proprio
The title and the cover of this book truly spoke to my imagination, so I had to give this book a shot. I have been a fan of Susan Wiggs for a long time – and I mostly like her books (but not all).
Here, with the Apple Orchard, I was a bit disappointed – especially in the contemporary part of the story. Tess and Dominic weren't particularly compelling to me. Their romance was all pretty much déjà-vu. More than that, this contemporary theme has been tackled before and better written by other roman
Suzanne Barrett
May 28, 2013 Suzanne Barrett rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
May 12, 2013 Janga rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 15, 2013 Maryellen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Julie Barrett
Mar 22, 2013 Julie Barrett rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 13, 2013 Carol rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
OK story. Maybe the characters in the story didn't see the plot twists coming, but the rest of us sure did. The heroine, Tess, had a major dose of Stupid Girl Syndrome strike her towards the end but managed to work through it. I felt like there was a disconnect somewhere in the character of Tess. It seemed like what we were hearing her think in her head was completely different than how she was portrayed interacting with others. I never really warmed up to her.

And now that I'm looking upwards at
Katie Bliss
Jan 18, 2015 Katie Bliss rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
There was nothing spectacular about this romance, but the food descriptions and recipes definitely enhanced the story, and without them the book would've been pretty lame. It's the typical career-driven woman story who really just pines for a family and to be loved, and then she gets whisked up by a dark, hunk of a man who's the perfect father and winemaker, plus it turns out she DOES have a family, who lives on an apple orchard and lives in a wonderful community of people who love each other... ...more
May 20, 2013 Jennifer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
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.

May 18, 2014 Janelle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-books, 2014
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.
Mar 13, 2016 Cindy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars. This is the second book I've read by Susan Wiggs. I now consider myself a fan of her writing. I went into this book thinking it was chick lit but discovered it had more depth than most romance novels. I liked the plot line, the setting (Sonoma wine country), the sister connection, missing heirlooms, and WWII flashbacks. The relationship between the protagonist and the hunky sensitive guy did not consume the book. It was just enough to add to the charm of the story. This is the first i ...more
I was not expecting this one to be so heavy, but I enjoyed it. We have Tess in the present, who discovers she has a grandfather and sister she never knew about in Archangel, California, and bonus, this news is delivered by a very attractive and very nice man. But after traveling Archangel and meeting her sister Isabel, they both come to discover they are very close to financial ruin. We also have her grandfather Magnus's story of his time in the Danish resistance, and the history behind a very v ...more
This is a story that will remind you just how magical and life altering love can be. The beauty of Sonoma County, sisters, friendship and finding out who you really are make for a most enchanting read from the creative imagination of Susan Wiggs. Open up your heart and let your senses be stirred by paying a visit to Bella Vista in Archangel California where the apples aren't the only fruit ripe for the picking.
Jun 22, 2013 Kathryn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, 2013
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 really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: friends
Shelves: 1-audiobook, 2014
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
Aug 09, 2016 Dianna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: borrowed
I loved this book! This first in the series is my first Susan Wiggs novel and I'm looking forward to #2. Delightful tale full of secrets, mystery, family drama and romance. Fun!
Jan 08, 2014 Jo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Kindle Book Club ...: Discussion, The Apple Orchard, Reading In Progress 36 22 Nov 12, 2015 12:20PM  
Kindle Book Club ...: SPOILER ALERT, The Apple Orchard, Reading Completed 4 9 Nov 11, 2015 07:59PM  
I love her writing and this book 3 15 Jul 27, 2014 09:26AM  
Classic Readers : The Apple Orchard 7 9 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 ...more
More about Susan Wiggs...

Other Books in the Series

Bella Vista Chronicles (2 books)
  • The Beekeeper's Ball (Bella Vista Chronicles, #2)

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“And if you don't believe memories are worth more than money, then perhaps you've not made the right kind of memories.” 5 likes
“Feed your friends, and their mouths will be too full to gossip, Bubbie used to say. Feed your enemies, and they’ll become your friends.” 2 likes
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