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The Orchardist's Daughter

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  137 ratings  ·  38 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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3.80  · 
Rating details
 ·  137 ratings  ·  38 reviews

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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
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
Shelves: drama, australian
‘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 the
Theresa Smith
Feb 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
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 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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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 b
Bree T
Feb 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
I found this story really interesting in lots of different ways.

Mikaela lived a very isolated life on her parent’s farm. Her father had strong ideas about what constituted men’s work and what was women’s work and Mikaela stayed mostly inside being homeschooled in Jesus by her mother and helping with chores. Occasionally though, her father allowed her outside work and these times were her favourite. She has a real connection to the land and after her parents are lost in a house fire and the farm
Dion Perry
This book is told through the eyes of three very different point of view characters: a young woman raised in religious extremism, a young man who is a park ranger in a logging town, and a boy whose father is a heavy drinker and unproud of his son. Set in a fictional town southwest of Hobart, the story promises to be about the conflict between loggers and conservationists. However, it fails to really explore this theme in depth and skirts around the edges failing to deliver. Instead, the book bec ...more
Mar 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Viggers projects the forests of Southern Tasmania as a central character in her engaging Australian "yarn". And, this is what her readers will most enjoy. Against a backdrop of the ongoing controversy between "loggers" and so-called "greenies", the residents of a remote rural town struggle to find their own voices.

The central character, Miki, must fight against the manipulative, controlling power of her guardian-brother if she is to live her own life. Kurt's abusive behaviour leads the narrative
Robyn Gibson
Feb 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A fire destroys the family home killing the parents of sixteen-year-old Mikaela and her brother Kurt. Mikaela has never been away from the farm, is home-schooled and knows nobody other than her family. After the fire they set up a take-away fish and chips shop in town and Kurt keeps Mikaela trapped inside, she is never allowed to go outside and when he goes away to Hobart one day a week he locks her in the shop. This is how his parents lived their lives.
Leon moves from Bruny Island in Tasmania
Apr 15, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019
Published by Allen&Unwin, The Orchadist's Daughter is Karen Viggers first novel.

Whilst I enjoyed this book, I wanted more. The relationship between Miki and Kurt deserved more exploration and I feel like I knew what was coming before Miki did.

Visually, the book was extremely enjoyable. I've never visited Tasmania but I felt like I was there with the characters. I could smell the forest, the fish and chip shop, even the woodfire in the visitor's centre.

I can see why others love this book,
Sarah Lewis
Mar 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Written from three points of view (a ten-year-old boy, a seventeen-year-old girl from a strict religious family and a young park ranger) this beautiful novel is a rare thing, a literary page-turner. Although it took a little while before I was flinging the pages, the characters were well worth spending extra time with. Set in rural Tasmania, in a small town where loggers hate greenies and violence is common, the old growth forest is the star of this book, unless you count the sheer brilliance of ...more
Susan Senior
Mar 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: serious readers
This book simmers with tension. Ms Viggers has written yet another great book but I had to stop and have a break halfway through - unusual for me. This was because of the many flawed and ugly characters and a very tense storyline. Not an easy book to read if that is what you are looking for but then Karen Viggers doesn't do "easy". Yet again she has excelled.
Apr 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
I loved it. Understanding Leon's struggle to be accepted into a new community, but his never failing humanity for all around him. Meeting Mikaela and understanding the isolation she was forced to endure. Max's struggle with bullying and his love for his dog Rosie and all her pups. But above all, reading more about Tasmania's wilderness was just beguiling.
Debbie Harris
Mar 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was an exceptional read! Set in a small town in Tasmania it was realistic, riveting and held me well until the end. It was odd because I'd only just finished Tara Westover's Educated and this was quite similar in some ways.
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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