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The Orchardist's Daughter

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  499 ratings  ·  89 reviews
A story of freedom, forgiveness and finding the strength to break free. International bestselling writer Karen Viggers returns to remote Tasmania, the setting of her most popular novel The Lightkeeper's Wife.

Sixteen-year-old Mikaela has grown up isolated and home-schooled on an apple orchard in southeastern Tasmania, until an unexpected event shatters her family. Eighteen
Paperback, 384 pages
Published February 4th 2019 by Allen & Unwin
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Kylie D
I found The Orchardist's Daughter to be an absorbing read, and an interesting look into some critical conservation issues that Tasmania is fighting. We follow the lives of those living in a small logging town in southern Tasmania, including Leon, a park ranger, surrounded by those whose livelihoods his job threatens, and Miki, who runs the local takeaway with her brother Kurt. Leon finds himself as an outsider in a town full of bullies, and struggles to integrate, but his challenges are nothing ...more
Sixteen-year-old Mikaela moved to the small timber town with her older brother Kurt after their parents were lost in a house fire. Miki grieved for her parents, but Kurt made a home for them behind the fish’n’chip shop which they ran. Being the only takeaway shop in town they were reasonably busy – but Miki didn’t get out except with Kurt when they went to the forest on a Monday. He kept her closeted inside – for her safety he said. Miki didn’t argue; she didn’t want to make him angry.

When Leon
Mar 22, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 5000-2019
This started really well! I liked Leon as a character and loved the Tasmanian setting. I could see a good mystery developing regarding Miki and Kurt. All good so far.

As the story proceeded and we met more characters the abuse appeared, which is okay as a part of the whole story, but in The Orchardist's Daughter it took over the whole narrative. Domestic abuse, child abuse, bullying - even some unpleasant passages about cruelty to dogs. I found myself skimming which means I am not actually enjoyi
What a magnificent book written by Aussie author Karen Viggers. This was one of those books where once you started it you didn’t want to put it down, but as I was coming closer to the end, I did put it down for a bit as I didn’t want the story to end as it was such a good story.

Mikaela lived a lonely and isolated life with her parents and brother on the family farm. She was home schooled, so there was no interaction with other children. Her father had strong views on certain issues such as men
Jan 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Orchardist’s Daughter is the fourth novel by Australian veterinarian and author, Karen Viggers. Parks Ranger Leon Walker has finally left his parents on Bruny Island to take up a position in a small southern Tasmanian logging town. He can still head back to mum if she needs him, but he’s hoping he can make a difference to the public’s attitude to conservation. And here he can visit Grandpa, maybe get him talking about family history a bit.

In the eighteen months since Mikaela Muller’s parent
Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews
4.5 stars
‘She thought how the land was made of many things: forest and heath, mountains and streams, plains lakes, clouds, sky. The land had layers. Like people. Like trees. Every element complemented the others, and every element was different. She liked how things came together to make a whole. A landscape. A country. A world. Everything was here.’

The Orchardist’s Daughter is a book that I have been eagerly awaiting. This new novel from Australian storytel
Dale Harcombe
Jan 31, 2019 rated it liked it
Three and a half stars.
Evocative descriptions of Bruny Island and the Tasmanian landscape, made this an interesting read. I especially loved the description of the Skywalk excursion. With the exception of Leon, his grandfather, Miki, Max and Geraldine, there are a lot of largely unlikeable characters and portrayal of a harsh lifestyle. As often happens, children learn from the examples they have around them, either in their own family of other townsfolk. Jaden is one who has learned from others
Theresa Smith
Feb 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: aww2019
This is one novel that has been worth the wait and anticipation. The Orchardist’s Daughter is a study on bullying and its insidious transition into domestic violence. Set against the backdrop of a town divided, logger versus conservationist, the old growth forests of Tasmania and the disease afflicted Tasmanian devils give evidence to the effects that humans have had on this once pristine environment. The main characters that drive this story are Leon, Miki, and Max. Leon is new to town, a park ...more
Feb 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Leon's arrival in the small, southern Tasmanian logging town signifies a new beginning; new home, new job, new life. He's looking forward to seeing more of his Grandpa, who is living in a nearby old people's home, but he knows it won't be easy gaining acceptance here, as the new Parks Officer in a town economically reliant on the forest.

Next door, 10yo Max watches his new neighbour moving in with guarded interest. A sensitive kid, he gets lots of tough love from his mum, but it's the approval o
Leon Jane
Feb 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
‘As she read, she felt like she was fighting the swordfish with the old man, the line cutting into her hands. She loved the swordfish as he did. She saw the changing colours and moods of the sky and the sea.’

The Orchardist’s Daughter is such a beautifully written novel. Through different characters lives I enjoyed the delivery of the premise that we all have different iterations of entrapment - some more tragic than others - that keep us from our desires; from our life objectives. This was t
Brooke - One Woman's Brief Book Reviews

The Orchardist's Daughter by Karen Viggers. (2019).

16 year old Miki grew up isolated and homeschooled on an apple orchard in Tasmania. After a tragedy, she and her brother Kurt are running a takeaway shop in a timber town. Miki longs to make connections and spend more time on her beloved forest but Kurt locks her up like a prisoner while he leads his own secret life. When Miki meets Leon, another outsider, things slowly begin to chang
Jennifer (JC-S)
‘How did you recover from a loss so large you could barely believe it?’

South-east Tasmania provides the setting for this novel. Here, in a small timber town divided between those who want logging to continue and those who want to preserve the remaining forest, we meet three main characters who need to find their own place in the world.

Mikaela (Miki) was 16 years old when her parents were killed in a fire. She’d been home-schooled by her mother on the family orchard. Miki’s isolation continued w
Patty Killion
Apr 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
3.5 Stars

Let's just star off with the prologue of The Orchardist's Daughter:

Sixteen-year-old Mikaela has grown up isolated and home-schooled on an apple orchard in southeastern Tasmania, until an unexpected event shatters her family. Eighteen months later, she and her older brother Kurt are running a small business in a timber town. Miki longs to make connections and spend more time in her beloved forest, but she is kept a virtual prisoner by Kurt, who leads a secret life of his own.

When Miki me
I was recently at a writers festival, where Karen Viggers was included on a panel and the facilitator while describing The Orchardist's Daughter mentioned it was very ominous and sad without mentioning the themes of hope that definitely ran through the book... It struck me as odd, as while I was about 60 percent of the way through at this stage, I did not feel this way about the story at all... The writing did capture a sense that a storm was brewing amongst the town where it is set and the char ...more
I really enjoyed this book by Karen Viggers. I thought at the beginning that I could see how it would end, but it didn't turn out how I expected, which was a nice surprise. I loved the descriptions of the Tasmanian bush and the Tassie devils - I've not been to Tasmania before, but the descriptions made me feel like I was there.

Some of the themes of the story were quite heavy - domestic abuse, manipulation, bullying - but they were really well dealt with, and despite the sombre themes, the story
Feb 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: gifted, first-reads
The Orchardist’s Daughter is a rich, no-holds-barred portrait of life in a small Tasmanian community, covering issues from environmental protection to domestic violence and emotional abuse (note some material may be triggering). It’s a far heavier read than I expected, but Viggers imbues her realism with just the right dose of hope to be empowering.

Nearly eighteen year old Miki lives under her brother’s thumb, locked in their house and unable to influence anything about her life, even which stat
I picked this up as part of my aim to read more local author's works. Because of the title (xxx daughter) I was also under the misconception it was a historical fiction about a woman living under a man's shadow. One of the main protagonists is living under a man's shadow of violence but it's set in contemporary Tasmania, and it almost becomes a story about misogyny that is so repeated through time and through many of the character's experiences, it is like it is frozen in time.
Tassie is known f
Chloe Groom
Mar 21, 2019 rated it did not like it
Contains spoilers, but trust me, I'm doing you a favour.

The book begins with a tragedy, a house fire in which the protagonist Miki and her evil brother Kurt's parents are killed. The cause of the fire is a mystery and the family have been living a hermit-like lifestyle of unnamed religious observance in rural Tasmania. It's an interesting enough premise and one that reminded me of Tara Westover’s excellent memoir, 'Educated'. Readers might think that these are the themes that the book is going t
Apr 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
... So, an interesting author, and The orchardist’s daughter is an interesting, enjoyable book. It is set in a small logging town in Tasmania, and has quite a formal structure, starting with a Prologue, followed by four parts – Seeds, Germination, Growth, Understorey – and ending with an Epilogue. It is told third person through the perspective of three characters – Miki, the titular orchardist’s daughter who is 17 years old for most of the novel; Leon, a Park Ranger, who is 25 years old at the ...more
Dec 13, 2019 rated it liked it
There was a lot of abuse in this book which took a long time to resolve.
Dawn Hough
Apr 05, 2019 rated it it was ok
I'm not a great fan of this book - I just think it was a bland story with a "nothing" ending. Harsh words and I'm sure there will be people who love this book, just not for me.
Anthony Panegyres
Apr 22, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
3.5 stars. Really liked the themes and setting. Becomes engrossing too. Personally felt it a touch heavy handed at times, but it’s still an absorbing and strong Australian novel. Little disappointed by the ending, which I can only describe as twee. Parts throughout though are truly beautiful.
Jan 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Set in southern Tasmania we are taken to a small community set amongst the forest, for some it is a way of life of logging and industry and for others it is a mixture of eco-tourism and conservation. We see the lives of old-timers and new comers and what makes a small community tick, the passion for wildlife and protecting the trees for future generations as well as making space for industry - always a balance. We see lives that are impacted by family violence, bullying and emotional abuse and t ...more
Mar 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Just a few extra descriptive words, just a bit more added detail...and the scene painted before our eyes engulfs the reader in eye-misting emotion. Karen has the ability to write a page turning story that makes one not want to leave the characters alone for too long. The neighbours you don't want to know about, the behind the scenes in others families, the truth you don't want to see. All brought together in this compelling tale of life in a Tasmanian town. An outstanding novel that will be reme ...more
I broke two of my rules (no books where the title mentions wife, daughter or girl and no books whose covers feature women in frocks from the back). I broke them because I want to read more by local authors. I don't regret the choice but I did return unfinished 3 Stella Prize shortlist titles this week, so I regret the precious reading time.

The setting, rural southern Tasmania, was the best part of this book. The characters are cliched and the twists well telegraphed and everything is explained.
Lesley Moseley
May 02, 2019 rated it it was ok
Have to count it as a DNF as when I started to read yesterday, just couldn't continue. Went to the last few chapters, and found I could pick it up, there. SOOOO glad I didn't waste days plowing through this unrelenting portrayal of despair and violence.
Jun 21, 2019 rated it liked it
A quick read capturing themes of the environment and family domestic violence. Unfortunately I didn’t find the characters particularly believable for people in that situation but the plot held my interest.
Jan 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
4.5 would be a better rating.

I received this copy from Allen & Unwin.

This is such a big story. So big, I can see these great characters in future books as they have so much more to offer.

The book takes place in Tasmania with concurrent tales of young Max and his family, Leon starting a new life and Mikaela and her brother Kurt starting over after a fire. The characters slowly intersect each other’s lives until the tension filled ending, which will have you reading like mad and holding your breat
Review to come
Alison Petchell
Sep 17, 2019 rated it liked it
Although I very much enjoyed the way Karen Viggers brought the Tasmanian bush and small town community to life I found the story overall a bit melodramatic and that was an annoying distraction as it was otherwise a great, layered depiction of bullying in all its forms.
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Karen Viggers was born in Melbourne, Australia, and grew up in the Dandenong Ranges riding horses and writing stories. She studied Veterinary Science at Melbourne University, and then worked in mixed animal practice for seven years before completing a PhD at the Australian National University, Canberra, in wildlife health from which she published numerous scientific papers.

Since then she has worke

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