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The Apple Orchard

(Bella Vista Chronicles #1)

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  10,456 ratings  ·  1,240 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
Hardcover, 432 pages
Published April 30th 2013 by Harlequin MIRA (first published April 17th 2012)
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really liked it 4.00  · 
Rating details
 ·  10,456 ratings  ·  1,240 reviews

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Jul 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: wwii, read-in-2015

I've always been a big fan of the TV show Antiques 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 in
Jaime W
Jun 19, 2014 rated it it was ok
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
Apr 19, 2013 rated it liked it

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
May 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
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 rated it it was ok
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
Jun 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Karen Kay
Tess never had much of a family life, she never knew her father and her mother chose her work over Tess. Suddenly, family secrets begin to weave their way into her life. From the Nazi occupation of Denmark to wine country in California, Tess discovers a family she never knew.

I was expecting this book to be a bit of a fluff read, and the fluff is there, but was pleasantly surprised to find it has a little more depth in story. Hopefully the next book in the series will offer more character develop
Mar 21, 2013 rated it liked it
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
May 28, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Dale Harcombe
Jun 07, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Apr 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Cathy Daniel
Aug 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What an excellent book! It took me a few chapters to get into but don't give up. I'm glad I didn't. Once the groundwork was laid it came together quickly. And that groundwork was necessary overall. I loved the flashbacks to WW2, the little mystery and even the realistic and sometimes aggravating relationships. The ending was perfect! So perfect! First book by this author but not last.
Jun 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There is so much to love about this book. The storyline with its WWII backdrop pulled me in, and the characters were richly drawn with their complex issues. The author uses many layers to build the story as the past mingles with the present. The storyline includes a mystery, romance, secrets, and redemption. And the relationship between Tess and Dominic was beautifully rendered – not forced at all.


Tess Delaney, a strong character with a vivid personality, was a professional treasure
Apr 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
May 22, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
Jun 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Susan Wiggs has a way of sneaking up on a reader and hooking them with her fascinating characterizations, and the beauty of her settings.

Tess Delaney knows something is missing from her life, but she could never have guessed it would be a sister she’d never heard of, or a family she’d never met.

What follows is the story of discovering herself through the connections of a family she’s always dreamed of having, and maybe a little romance along the way.

This book touches on tough family dynamics, fo
Judy Collins
Jun 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
#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
Dec 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
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.
Il confine dei libri
May 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: letti
Salve lettrici.
Quest’anno, per farmi compagnia nel giorno degli innamorati, ho scelto una lettura molto intrigante. Niente romance e romanzi rosa per me, ma una bellissima storia familiare ricca di intrighi e amore. Sto parlando di “Il profumo delle mele rosse”, il nuovo romanzo di Susan Wiggs, che ho amato in “Parole, ricordi e sciroppo d’acero”. Il suo nuovo romanzo, uscito a fine anno, racconta la storia di una famiglia che nasconde non pochi segreti. Abbiamo due sorelle, nate lo stesso giorn
Oct 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4 Stars

♥ RRRC October 2018 Monthly Challenge #2.OLYMPIAN GODS AND GODDESSES-HESTIA
Kris - My Novelesque Life

(I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review).

Tess Delaney is stunned to learn that she has a half sister and half an inheritance to Bella Vista Orchard. Dominic Rossi, sexy Italian banker and executor of Tess' grandfather's estates, pops the news to Tess that her grandfather is ill and she could come into money. Tess is blown away to learn that her secretive mother has never mentioned a sister and grandfather to her especially since she asked constantly about her
Suzanne Barrett
May 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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

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
Mar 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Julie Barrett
Mar 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
Tess Delaney is a successful women whose job is tracking old artifacts and selling them for the Sheffield Auction House. Raised by her beloved grandmother while her mother was busy traveling, Tess longs for the comfort of a close family. What a surprise when she learns she is heir to Bella Vista, a 100 acre apple orchard in the Napa Valley. She discovers a half sister, Isabel, raised by her grandmother and grandfather at Bella Vista. Persuaded to visit Bella Vista by the handsome banker Dominic, ...more
May 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
May 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
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.

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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

Other books in the series

Bella Vista Chronicles (2 books)
  • The Beekeeper's Ball (Bella Vista Chronicles, #2)
“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
“She loved old things. The brown-brick place was a survivor of the 1907 earthquake and fire, and proudly bore a plaque from the historical society. The building had a haunted history- it was the site of a crime of passion- but Tess didn't mind. She'd never been superstitious.
The apartment was filled with items she'd collected through the years, simply because she liked them or was intrigued by them. There was a balance between heirloom and kitsch. The common thread seemed to be that each object had a story, like a pottery jug with a bas-relief love story told in pictures, in which she'd found a note reading, "Long may we run. -Gilbert." Or the antique clock on the living room wall, each of its carved figures modeled after one of the clockmaker's twelve children. She favored the unusual, so long as it appeared to have been treasured by someone, once upon a time. Her mail spilled from an antique box containing a pigeon-racing counter with a brass plate engraved from a father to a son. She hung her huge handbag on a wrought iron finial from a town library that had burned and been rebuilt in a matter of weeks by an entire community.
Other people's treasures captivated her. They always had, steeped in hidden history, bearing the nicks and gouges and fingerprints of previous owners. She'd probably developed the affinity from spending so much of her childhood in her grandmother's antique shop.”
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