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The Bitter and Sweet of Cherry Season

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Three generations of women come together at the family orchard to face secrets from the past and learn to believe in the power of hope and forgiveness.

In cherry season, anything is possible…

Everything Hope knows about the Orchard House is from the stories of her late mother. So when she arrives at the northern Michigan family estate late one night with a terrible secret and her ten-year-old daughter in tow, she’s not sure if she’ll be welcomed or turned away with a shotgun by the aunt she has never met.

Hope’s aunt, Peg, has lived in the Orchard House all her life, though the property has seen better days. She agrees to take Hope in if, in exchange, Hope helps with the cherry harvest—not exactly Hope’s specialty, but she’s out of options. As Hope works the orchard alongside her aunt, daughter and a kind man she finds increasingly difficult to ignore, a new life begins to blossom. But the mistakes of the past are never far behind, and soon the women will find themselves fighting harder than ever for their family roots and for each other.

310 pages, Paperback

First published June 9, 2020

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About the author

Molly Fader

3 books476 followers
Molly Fader is the author of The McAvoy Sister’s Book Of Secrets. As Molly O’Keefe she is the USA Today Bestselling author of over 50 contemporary romances. She lives in Toronto Ontario with her husband, two kids and rescue dog.

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881 (45%)
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280 (14%)
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39 (2%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 354 reviews
Profile Image for Jonetta.
2,243 reviews969 followers
June 16, 2020
Hope Wright is desperate. She arrives at her aunt’s home in Northern Michigan late at night sporting a black eye with her 10-year old daughter Tink in tow, who has stopped talking. She’s never met Aunt Peg but is counting on her to let them stay with her for awhile, at least for the night. After a frosty reception, Peg agrees to let them stay but as long as they do, both have to help harvest the cherries from her orchard.

It’s clear Hope is hiding something and soon it’s just as clear that Peg is, too. Hope’s is sort of easy to figure out and we’re just missing the details. But Peg’s secrets are more elusive and tied to her deceased sister, Hope’s mother. Though she’s lived on the property all of her life, she is a recluse, except for Abel, her neighbor who also helps with the harvest. I easily settled in, ready to learn more about these women and their stories and it didn’t disappoint. We get the points of view from not only Hope and Peg but Tink, too. Even though it took most of the book for everything to be revealed, I was in no hurry for that aspect to be resolved because the characterizations were so strong and I loved the journey.

I’m a long-time fan of the author, most of the books written under her pseudonym, Molly O’Keefe. It’s a guarantee that her characters will get under your skin and tug on your emotions and the Wright women certainly captured my mind and heart. Hope doesn’t even try to hide her vulnerability and Peg covers hers with a toughness that’s real to a large extent. My heart ached for her after discovering her truths. This was a wonderful story of three people who found each other at the right time in their lives and created family, a messy one but it works. I only wish I could have had more of them.

Posted on Blue Mood Café

(Thanks to Harlequin Audio for my complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.)
Profile Image for DJ Sakata.
3,063 reviews1,755 followers
November 2, 2020
Favorite Quotes:

Hank had been able to throw around compliments and kindness like he had them coming out his ears. But Peg was always so stingy with hers, like she only had a tiny, meager supply to get her through life and she meant to take some with her to her grave.

Tink was glaring at her like she would start a fire in her hair, if she could.

She did not like this one bit. She liked all her emotions separate. Her anger with her anger. Her guilt with her guilt. Nothing touching.

It was like when your ears pop, and everything goes from distant and removed to loud and present. Life, right there in the kitchen.

My Review:

This was superbly written and exceptionally well-crafted. How have I never read this talented wordsmith before? I was consumed by this maddeningly paced and striking tale and well and truly sucked into a compelling vortex of tautly held family secrets that were tucked away on a fruit farm in rural Michigan. The original storylines were shrewdly constructed and sneakily emotive with stealthy and unexpected hits of the feels. This underhanded author was wily and cunning in ruthlessly plucking, squeezing, and pulling on my overworked coronary muscle. This sly she-devil was also guilty of stinging my eyes and putting hot rocks in my throat more than once. The nerve! I was stunned and loved it; her word voodoo is strong! I must do further research on this phenomenon by amassing and perusing all her clever words.
Profile Image for Chris  C - A Midlife Wife.
1,560 reviews291 followers
April 17, 2020
Awesome story and now I am terribly homesick!
This book had me addicted from the very first page I think. It’s written in such a beautiful manner that you just never want it to end.

Loaded with highs and lows scattered throughout, the story is told in such an emotional and touching manner, it feels like you are one of the family.

It’s a story of secrets, regrets, drama, and romance that pulls you in and twists you up. Fader has crafted a beautiful story ripe with Americana and the warmth of home. It simply is a feel good book that keeps us believing in the strength of family ties.

A perfect heartwarming summer read. Not to be missed!

* copy received for review consideration
full review - https://amidlifewife.com/the-bitter-a...
Profile Image for Dale Harcombe.
Author 14 books317 followers
February 4, 2021
Hope Wright arrives with her daughter, Tink at her aunt’s orchard. She hopes this aunt will let her stay, at least until she can sort out another plan. Hope and Tink are on the run from Daniel. Having made their escape they cannot afford for him to find them. Taking in the black eye Hope sports, Aunt Peg agrees to let them stay provided they help with the cherry harvest. That suits Hope. Hope is not afraid of hard work. Her prime concern is their safety from Daniel, so she aims to keep a low profile. Both Hope and Peg have secrets that are revealed as the story unfolds.
A story of family, loyalty, domestic abuse and love in several forms, I was right there with these characters and liked the way it swept from Hope to Peg to Tink, throughout the novel. Emotionally engaging, I was keen to keep turning the pages. Several likeable characters and one not likeable at all, plus the secrets, make sure the tension is maintained throughout. A moving and engaging story, that captured and held my attention throughout. A recommended read. My first book by this author, I would be interested to read another.
Profile Image for Minxy Melissa.
2,411 reviews67 followers
August 8, 2023
There were indeed three generations of voices in The Bitter and Sweet of Cherry Season and, at first, I wasn’t too thrilled with the point of view from Tink, Hope’s daughter. There was a high element of stress and drama surrounding Hope and Tink that I wasn’t sure if having a voice of a pre-teen was going to add a pleasant element. Tink was very angry but there was a history there that was slowly explained. Now, I am glad that this book included Hope, Peg, and Tink as main characters with their own voice because they each added interest to not only their character but to the other characters as well. I ended up absolutely adoring them all and the relationship that was developed between them was memorable and endearing. Overall, The Bitter and Sweet of Cherry Season was a well spun story about secrets, love, fear, and forgiveness. This was such a moving and compelling read, I absolutely highly recommend it!

This review is based on a complimentary book I received from NetGalley. It is an honest and voluntary review. The complimentary receipt of it in no way affected my review or rating.
Profile Image for Kendall.
644 reviews653 followers
June 14, 2020
I absolutely loved Molly Fader's last book!!

The Bitter and Sweet of Cherry Season was nothing short of her talent. Another set of characters that just leaves you heart melting.

Molly Fader explores a charming story about new beginnings, growth, and learning to forgive yourself for the past mistakes.

I loved the setting of this one and the homey feel with the growing of the cherry fields. This was definitely a feel good book with strong female characters and gives you that feeling of love and warmth upon finishing the last page. I loved Hope's aunt Peg!!! I couldn't get enough of her!

I have really become a huge fan of Molly Fader and can't wait to see what she comes out with next!!

4 stars!

Thank you so much to Netgalley and Harlequin/Graydon Books for the arc in exchange for an honest review.

Pub date: 6/9/20
Published to GR: 6/14/20
Profile Image for Pam Jenoff.
Author 24 books5,348 followers
March 4, 2021
This is a touching story of hope, a woman who returns to her late mother's ancestral estate with her 10 year old daughter. Hope meets her aunt who invites them to stay, but she is dogged by dark secrets from her past. A poignant story about coming home again by a wonderful author!
Profile Image for Jen.
1,166 reviews102 followers
May 18, 2020
This was a feel good, homey novel with strong female characters. I loved the character development and the setting. The family drama and the secrets revealed were relatable. This was a down to earth, feel good, warm fuzzies at the end type of read. My thanks to the publisher for the advance reader in exchange for my honest review.
Profile Image for Allison.
714 reviews413 followers
May 18, 2020
I feel like I read a different book than some of the other early reviews I've seen, because I just wasn't a fan of this one.

A woman fleeing from her past. Three generations of women facing family secrets in a small town. If you're going with a plot that has been done countless times before, you need to do it well. I don't think this was executed well at all. I thought all the family dynamics were okay - I spent the majority of the book thinking I'd give it three stars. But then the way it all came together at the end fell pretty flat. I think it comes down to the fact that I felt no emotional connection to these characters, and since you're given enough hints to figure everything out for yourself, I didn't feel any sense of relief once the characters caught up.

The real low point for me was the romance. It didn't make any sense, and I felt no chemistry or emotion between the two characters at all. If anything, I found it bizarre. This woman is fleeing from a man, shows up with a bleeding face and is described as being half starved, jumpy and a little crazed from exhaustion - but I'm supposed to believe that this guy sees her and basically falls in love at first sight (and vice versa)? I don't get it. Give this poor woman a few days to breathe (and eat). Maybe I could have gone with it if I'd actually felt their connection instead of just being told it was there.

Basically, I just think this plot has been done much better elsewhere.
Profile Image for Shalini (shaliniandbooks).
2,521 reviews208 followers
June 21, 2020
A beautiful book which made me feel all the emotions. 3 women each flawed with hidden secrets. One author who linked them lovingly in the bonds of a relationship but keeping friendship and respect at the core.

Hope and daughter Tink came to Peg's home in the middle of the night with a battered face and shattered soul. It was the middle of the cherry season. Able was the co-owner who provided the love interest.

My second book by the author, I found the writing so vivid and enchanting. The words used were simple, but they conveyed heart wrenching emotions. Violence dogged the characters as moments of impending danger. The author managed the social issues quite sensitively.

Secrets brought a wedge between the characters, but that made me all the more interested in them. The story soon revealed all that it was hiding. And I was blown away.

A lovely read over a lazy Sunday afternoon
Profile Image for Robin Loves Reading.
2,239 reviews391 followers
June 10, 2020
Hope and her daughter Jenny (Tink) show up one day on Hope’s Aunt Peg’s doorstep. This is very difficult for her because she never met her aunt. Her mother died about a year ago and Hope is bouncing back from a very bad relationship and her and Tink have almost nothing or nowhere else to go. Arriving at Peg‘s Orchard House, where it is cherry season, the time is really good because Peg needs assistance. This in turn will help Hope and Tink in immeasurable ways.

Not only do we have Hope’s issues, we begin to learn things about Peg that Hope was completely unaware of. Hope arrived at her Aunt’s house completely broken. She had moments of despair that were so sad that they brought tears to my eyes. It was bad enough that Hope did not know if she would feel welcome at Peg’s home, She doesn’t know what the future will offer for her and Tink.

While Hope is helping with the cherry harvest, she meets someone that is working along with them that begins to change her outlook. This literally gave hope to this very touching story. This story of three generations had each of their points of view, including Tink’s. That poor child, only ten years old, had the world on her shoulders.

This compelling read offered several lessons, including trust and forgiveness. It also dealt with secrets of the past and how they impacted the lives that the three primary characters in the story were experiencing. This dramatic book really caught me by surprise and I am very pleased to have had an opportunity to read a story that affected me on such a visceral level. The conclusion had me bawling. Kudos for Molly Fader for writing such a wonderful story.

Many thanks to Graydon House and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.
Profile Image for Kris (My Novelesque Life).
4,659 reviews189 followers
June 10, 2020
2020; Graydon House/Harlequin

I have been having a few tough days, and just couldn't read much. Nothing seemed to keep my attention, and even the audiobook I was listening to felt painful. On Monday, when I went to check my reading journal, I noticed I was supposed to do a review for The Bitter and Sweet of Cherry Season on Tuesday. I started this one early in the evening, so I figured I would not be finished in time for reviewing. The characters and story just hooked me in the beginning, that I read until my eyes closed at 71% read. After work today, I had a few Zoom book launches, but decided to skip one and went back to this engaging novel. Thank you, Molly for getting me out of my reading funk and giving me an escape for awhile. What drew me to this novel was the delicious cover, but it was the characters that kept me reading. This novel does not shy away from difficult issues, yet it keeps it from getting too dark. Like other great contemporary fiction/romance, this is a story that is has realistic characters and stories, but doesn't go to the dark place. It gives the reader a happily ever after, but makes the characters work for it. I really want to read Molly's previous novel, The McAvoy Sisters Book of Secrets now, and take a look at her books written under Molly O'Keefe. I would recommend this novel to anyone looking for a distraction, especially during the hard times of 2020. I do have to say that Molly is great with characterizations, that I wouldn't mind if this became a series/trilogy, and find out what happens to Janice and the other gals of Friday Nights.

***I received a complimentary copy of this ebook from the publisher through Edelweiss and NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.***
Profile Image for Donna.
3,975 reviews54 followers
March 4, 2021
For me this fell into the Chick Lit category....which is a category I do NOT flock to. This wasn't quite 4 stars as far as the story line goes (mostly for predictability), but I really liked the writing. So I'll round up to 4.

I enjoyed this author's descriptive strokes. She had a way of getting the reader right to where they needed to be. It also wasn't overly flowery which is such a plus given the genre this is in. Excessive wordiness is probably one of the biggest reasons I shy away from books like this.

While this one had a sweet note, it was balanced by harder subjects like domestic abuse, abandonment, and some violence. The characters were also a little on the sweet and perfect side but Peg and Tink added some dimension there. So all in all, this was a pleasant read. I'll stick to the 4 stars.
Profile Image for Nic.
1,546 reviews140 followers
June 8, 2020
What a delightful book with interesting characters. Family drama and deep rooted past secrets draw you in.
You learn lots of information about how a cherry harvest is accomplished which I found quite intriguing.
The Bitter and Sweet of Cherry Season is about three generations of women coming together after years apart. Getting to see how they overcome all that’s been thrown at them was beautiful. Heartbreaking and emotional at times with many heartwarming moments thrown in to keep you smiling.
I was sad when I finished this book.
Perfect summer read!
Definitely recommend you pick this book up and read it.
Many thanks to NetGalley, the publisher and author for the opportunity to read and review this book for my honest opinion.
Publish Date: 9 June 2020
*great book for a book club pick
Profile Image for Kristina.
3,520 reviews64 followers
June 6, 2020
The Bitter and Sweet of Cherry Season by Molly Fader has Hope and her daughter, Tink arriving at The Orchard House in the middle of the night. They have nowhere else to go and danger could follow them to the farm. Peg is surprised to see Hope after so many years and especially in her condition. Hope and Tink need a place to stay which Peg is willing to provide. She can use their assistance with the cherry harvest. Peg has lived on the farm her whole life and she cannot imagine living anywhere else. She is alone, though, through choices she made. As Hope helps with the harvest, she spends time with Abel who co-owns the cherry orchard with Peg. As time passes, Hope begins to dream of a happy future for herself and Tink. Unfortunately, trouble is not far away and soon the women will find themselves in a difficult situation. The Bitter and Sweet of Cherry Season is a novel of secrets, drama, and romance. It has strong female characters who have made mistakes and have secrets. Hope’s face tells Peg all she needs to know as to why Hope and Tink arrived in the middle of the night looking frightened. Tink refuses to talk and does not want to be touched. Peg has a room that is off limits to Hope and Tink. I liked getting to know the three women. I thought the characters were realistic and I enjoyed the descriptions of the farm. It was interesting learning how cherries are harvested. There is drama and excitement later in the story that will have readers on the edge of their seats. I do want to warn you that there is violence that can be upsetting. I did feel that the romance with Hope was too soon considering her recent trauma. I did not appreciate the foul language in the book (not everyone uses that type of language). The point-of-view alternates between Hope, Peg and Tink. It does allow a reader to see what each female is thinking and feeling. However, I did find it confusing and it messed with the flow of the book. I was happy with the epilogue and how this sweet story ended. My favorite line was, “It was surprising how sharp happiness was. Bitter and sweet all at once.” The Bitter and Sweet of Cherry Season is a story about finding forgiveness, surprising secrets, missing memories, female relationships, succulent cherries, and family.
Profile Image for Genevieve Trono.
594 reviews104 followers
March 25, 2020
This charming and fast read found me at the perfect time. I loved everything about this three-generational group of women, as they rediscovered themselves and each other on their family cherry farm.

While there weren't a ton of unexpected twists, the family secrets were held until the very end, and my attention was pleasantly held throughout. The ending left me happy, satisfied and missing these fun characters already. If you're looking for a happy ending, this is a wonderful comfort read!

Thank you to NetGalley and Graydon House for a gifted copy.
Profile Image for Amy.
629 reviews1 follower
June 29, 2023
My 2nd book by this author and another great story. I really enjoyed it- probably liked sunshine girls a bit better, but this was a believable story with interesting characters and enough action to keep my engaged all the way through.
Profile Image for Myrna.
714 reviews
June 26, 2020
This was a well-paced, likeable story with some tension about dealing with loss, mistakes made and growth. It was a very enjoyable read but I knocked down a star since this story has been told by other writers. We all need an aunt Peg in our lives. Look forward to reading more from this author.
Profile Image for T. Rosado.
1,724 reviews45 followers
September 6, 2020

This was a great women's fic novel with some mystery, suspense, and light romance. I enjoyed the story arc and found all of the characters and situations believable. For me, there was a slight resemblance to Katherine Center's, The Lost Husband. I think that's what kept me from rating it higher. TLH is one of my favorite Center books and I kept finding vague similarities where unfairly, this book couldn't compete. Definitely not the author's fault. The story was still compelling and enjoyable on it's own merit.
Profile Image for Kathryn.
1,509 reviews249 followers
March 30, 2021
Really enjoyed this story, via audiobook. Will be looking at other books by the author. Great characters, plot, tension.
Profile Image for Sue .
1,700 reviews101 followers
June 27, 2020
I decided to buy this book when I saw that it was set in Michigan. Once I started, I realized that the book was so much more than the setting - it was a well written family story about three generations of women and the secrets that they kept. The story is told alternately by the three women and their secrets unfold gradually until the big secret near the end that threatens to destroy all that they've built.

Hope is on the run with her ten year old daughter, Tink. They have nowhere to hide until Hope remembers her aunt's farm in Michigan. She goes with no idea of whether she'll find shelter there but she is desperate to keep her daughter safe. Her aunt Peg comes to the door, rifle in hand to see who has shown up at her isolated farm house after dark. When she finds out who it is, she invites Hope and Tink into the house and is totally shocked to see Hope's black and blue face from a recent beating. She invites them to stay for a few days which soon becomes longer as they develop a relationship with each other.

Hope is in her late 20s. She's spent much of her previous life taking care of her mother as her health deteriorated. She tried to be a good mother to Tink but after her mother died, she got more depressed until she met a man who made her feel better about herself. The man was anything but good to her and she and her daughter fled into the night to get away from him. Hope needs to learn to love herself and to quit blaming herself for things in her past. Tink is 10 years old and doesn't have a lot of friends in school. She is a quiet solitaire child who was negatively affected by her mother's depression and her grandmother's death. When she arrives at the farm with her mother, she hasn't spoken in several weeks due to trauma. Peg is Hope's aunt and is the owner of Orchard House, the family farm in Michigan. Hope's mom had fled the farm at a very young age because she hated the life there with her strict parents and had never returned. Peg is an unlikable grouchy woman who appears to have no friends and not much of a life beyond the farm and the cherry crop. But is everything and everyone what they appear to be in the beginning? As the secrets are revealed, the women begin to grow closer until the final big secret comes to light. Can Peg and Hope and Tink become a real family or will the secrets that they keep from each other keep them from learning to accept each other?

This is my first book by this author and after reading this, I plan to look up some of her older books. I enjoy reading about strong women - which all three of these women are even though they may not realize how strong they really are. I loved the relationship that developed between them and I enjoyed seeing Hope start to let down her barriers and begin to accept other people. I was thrilled to see Tink begin to accept life and become a fun little girl and to see Peg learn to accept her past mistakes...but will the changes stay positive or will they all fall back into their old ways? The mistakes of the past are never far behind, and soon the women find themselves fighting harder than ever for their family roots and for each other.
Profile Image for Tea Leaves and Reads.
860 reviews53 followers
May 16, 2020
I was consumed by this book. It actually surprised me how much I was drawn to the characters, the setting and even the season. It's the first book that I've read by Molly Fader/Molly O'Keefe and it won't be the last. I was excited to read that she has over 50 published books however many of them are a different style to this and are more focused on romance. I would say that this book was domestic fiction. There was a healthy dose of family drama, relationships and secrets. Molly writes with great characterisation and a mix of bittersweet and humour. What a perfect combination for a Summer read.

What makes it even more attractive is the cover - it's stunning. I really like it when a book cover is eye-catching and the book itself is a gripping, fun read.
Profile Image for Carla.
6,131 reviews134 followers
June 4, 2020
Living just across the river from Detroit Michigan and having been to the Cherry Festival in Traverse City, I was immediately attracted to this story. What I was not expecting was this beautiful, heartbreaking story about three female relatives who had been though so much, and the men who loved them.

Hope is a mother who got into a bad situation with a man, that ended in violence. She fled with her 10 year old daughter, Tink (Jenny) to a place she had only heard of from her mother. The Orchard House is a cherry orchard where she hopes to hide out and maybe find refuge. Peg, her aunt, welcomes them begrudgingly and puts them to work helping with the cherry harvest. All three of these females have secrets and are holding them close to the breast. Can sharing their secrets help them heal and move forward instead of hiding and stagnating?

This was such an emotional story. I loved how strong they were, even though sometimes the strength came out because of fear. The other women in town slowly and unobrusively stole their way into their lives and hearts helping them to open up to others. This story was like being on a roller coaster with highs and lows. There was drama, emotion, friendship, forgiveness, love, self-reflection and acceptance. I loved how the men gave support and love, but did not push or force the women to accept their love. Of course the one villain from Hope's life makes an appearance and the results are wonderful. This was a very uplifting story about women supporting each other and helping them to find their path and follow their dreams with some angst and dram. I loved this story and read it from start to finish within the day, I could not stop. I definitely recommend this one to people who enjoy a well-written women's story. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book upon request. The rating, ideas and opinions shared are my own.
Profile Image for Annette.
1,908 reviews29 followers
June 9, 2020
Have you ever started reading a book and you immediately feel like you’re right inside the book?! I felt that way with this story from page one. Three generations of strong women coming together under one roof. This book was so good I didn’t want it to end! It was descriptive , could almost taste the cherries! Definitely recommend! Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the early copy
Profile Image for Katie Mac.
815 reviews
February 29, 2020
I received an eARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

4.5 stars. I'm a sucker for gentle books about family drama, and this one was no exception.

Molly Fader, who has written fifty (!) books, effectively conveys the trauma of Hope and Tink, who have escaped from an abusive sitation, and that of Peg, who has secrets of her own. I loved Fader's depiction of this small town; she conveyed the warmth and the distinct cast of characters without making it twee or cheesy.

It is a cozy book, but it also contains a great deal of depth. Read for an experience that is both heart-warming and heart-wrenching.
Profile Image for Kat.
345 reviews18 followers
May 25, 2020
Hope is just looking for the safest place she can find for herself and her ten year old daughter, Tink. With a bruise on her face and a cut on her lip, she needs somewhere to hide and keep her daughter safe from their recent past. Peg is Hope's aunt, a relative she has never met. Peg runs a cherry orchard along with her business partner Abel and isn't into all that hospitality stuff. But she has a past with Hope, and having Hope there stirs up the past and all the pain with it. But neither can she afford to let Hope go.

Cherries are my favorite fruit, so I almost jumped into participating in this blog tour without even looking at what the book was about. But, once I saw it was women's fiction and deals with the pains of the past for one tiny family, I was hooked. I adore women's fiction when it doesn't come with a heavy dose of romance, and, boy, did this book deliver! It also reminded me of one of my favorite books, Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen, just with a lot less magic and a darker overtone. Needless to say, I was quite smitten with this book.

The Characters: Perfectly Crafted

I don't know how they did it, but the whole cast of characters broke my heart and then put it back together. Everyone, from Hope and Tink to Peg to Abel to Janice and everyone in between were hurting, had pain in their pasts, but were working hard to move past them and find a better, brighter future. They were so amazingly well drawn and so much fun to read about. They all seemed a bit too bright, but it also highlighted their own individual pains. I wish we had gotten to know the minor characters better, but my favorite part was really getting to know Hope, Tink, and Peg.

Hope, Tink, and Peg are dealing with their own losses and traumatizing experiences. It often felt like it went on too long with no resolution or change in sight, and then it miraculously got better, but I did like that it highlighted the fact that just talking about bad things can help make it seem a little better. Hope felt especially human to me. She's just a single mom trying her best to find a good life for her and her daughter, but her own childhood has colored that. It was fascinating to read how history continued to have an impact, but that there's always hope for a brighter future. Tink was also so much fun. As a ten year old girl, there's a lot of spunk in her, but her life has also been tinged with fear, loss, and trauma, but I loved how healing The Orchard House was for her and how it helped her find empowerment. Peg was kind of awesome as a rough around the edges kind of lady who didn't stand for any nonsense. I loved how her own past carried weight into her later years, but that she was also able to be redeemed.

Every character felt like someone who could walk off the pages. They felt real and alive with histories and baggage. They felt like real people. Some of them did feel a little one note, but most of them were very well crafted. I loved getting to know them and enjoyed reading about how they interacted and reacted to each other. I really felt for them and my introduction to Hope, Tink, and Peg really hurt my heart.

The Setting: A Cherry Orchard

Most of the book takes place at The Orchard House, the cherry orchard, and the town. It's a small, isolated area in Michigan and I really got a small town feel to it. Everyone knew everyone else, but secrets still abounded. It was fascinating to see how the secrets were peeled back little by little and that no one actually held a grudge against anyone else. They were always there for each other, which was incredibly heartwarming.

I loved the orchard and The Orchard House. Of course, that might be because I just love cherries and wouldn't mind living there myself, but I felt like I could feel the cherries, taste them. I felt like I was actually in the orchard. I loved it, and thought the house and the garden beside it was charming. I couldn't help but wish I could live there, too.

I really liked the town. It was small, but had a fun eccentricity to it that made it really interesting. Everyone was so trusting, honest, and kind. It was kind of bizarre at first as I come from a large city that would be the exact opposite, but I couldn't help finding it charming. The only weird thing was how beloved the cherries were. It seemed a little weird that everyone adored the cherries.

The only thing that bothered me, just a little, was that I could never remember this book takes place in Michigan. I don't know anything about Michigan, and I'm not sure I know anything coming out of the book except that small towns seem really isolated. And there's a lot of open space. Maybe. Anyways, I adored the orchard and the small town, but I'm on the fence as to whether it really screamed Michigan to me.

The Plot: Full of Pain and Hope

Not only did the characters break my heart and put it back together, but so did the story. The first chapters made my heart hurt, but then brightness and hope started to find their way into the story and then all of a sudden there was incredible magic to be found in the orchard and with this family.

This is the story of two women and a girl who come to each other broken being able to find their feet and their way forward in life. The ghosts of the past hang low and heavy over them, but they're all fighters, and it was lovely to see them knit back together into a family.

I liked that there was just a bit of romance, and a whole lot more about friendship. I liked that the pacing, more or less, matched the natural healing pace of Hope and Tink. I liked that this story felt like it was unfolding naturally. There were steps forward and steps backward, but they were always moving on a path together.

As I mentioned, this book reminded me of Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen. There are a lot of parallels between the characters, circumstances, events, and story in general. But, as much as it reminded me of one of my favorite books, it also had a darker edge to it that made sure I didn't settle too comfortably into the story. It kept me on my toes, kept me reading to see how it would all turn out. There isn't as much magic, but there's that same family love. Just a little darker.

Overall: Heartbreaking and Uplifting

I adored this book. Not only did it remind me of my favorite fruit and one of my favorite books, but it was also so much fun to read about the characters. Tink was so spunky and Hope felt like she could use all the hope in the world. I really liked the light sprinkle of romance, but my favorite parts had to do with Hope, Tink, and Peg finding friendship. This was a really lovely read, one that had me reading every moment I could.

Thank you to Netgalley, Justine Sha, and Graydon House Books for a free e-copy. All opinions expressed are my own.
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1,715 reviews44 followers
July 19, 2020
Once again, Brenda Novak’s book group has introduced me to an author who is not to be missed! Molly Fader wrote a book that is entertaining, engrossing and emotionally charged. The main characters are Hope, her daughter Tink, her aunt Peg, and Abel who owns the cherry orchard. When a physically damaged Hope shows up on the farm with her emotionally damaged daughter, Peg tries her best to stay distant. This book unravels the relationship between the two woman and the secrets that both of them are keeping hidden. Only Tink is totally genuine. She is wise beyond her years in a way that is heart-breaking at times. Abel is the perfect romantic interest as well as the perfect boss. Without giving too much away, I just want to say that this book is all about the strength that women call on when they are at the end of their ropes. Peg and Hope have to find their way to each other before they can begin to heal from their past. I loved this book and highly recommend it to those who enjoy contemporary fiction.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I own an autographed copy of this book. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own.
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