Tuesday, February 9, 2021

The Orchard House by Heidi Chiavaroli


Book Summary


Abandoned by her own family, Taylor is determined not to mess up her chance at joining the home of her best friend, Victoria Bennett. But despite attending summer camp at Louisa May Alcott's historic Orchard House with Victoria and sharing dreams of becoming famous authors, Taylor struggles to fit in. As she enters college and begins dating, it feels like Taylor is finally finding her place and some stability . . . until Victoria's betrayal changes everything.

While Louisa May Alcott is off traveling the world, Johanna Suhre accepts a job tending Louisa's aging parents and their home in Concord. Soon after arriving at Orchard House, Johanna meets Nathan Bancroft and, ignoring Louisa's words of caution, falls in love and accepts Nathan's proposal. But before long, Johanna experiences her husband's dark side, and she can't hide the bruises that appear.

After receiving news of Lorraine Bennett's cancer diagnosis, Taylor knows she must return home to see her adoptive mother again. Now a successful author, Taylor is determined to spend little time in Concord. Yet she becomes drawn into the story of a woman who lived there centuries before. And through her story, Taylor may just find forgiveness and a place to belong.

My Thoughts

Th Orchard House by Heidi Chiavaroli is a fascinating historical novel.  It is a dual timeline story.  Taylor and Victoria are estranged sisters.  Victoria betrayed Taylor’s trust which caused Taylor to run away and not communicate with her family for the last sixteen years.  Taylor learns that her adoptive mother has cancer and returns home.  This is a chance to reconnect with her family and heal old wounds.  In 1865, Johanna Suhre has been corresponding with Louisa May Alcott regarding her brother, John who was nursed by the author.  Johanna wants to spread her wings and gets the offer to tend the Alcott house while Louisa travels as a companion to Europe.  At Orchard House, Johanna meets Nathan Bancroft.  She falls in love with the charming man and they marry.  Unfortunately, Johanna soon learns that there is another side to her husband.  I like how these two story lines tied together.  I thought The Orchard House was well-written with developed characters.  The book has gentle pacing which suits the story.  Louisa May Alcott along with her family, her writings, and Orchard House are prominently featured in past and present.  I could tell that that the author did her research for this novel as the historical information shined.  I enjoyed learning more about Louisa Mae Alcott and Orchard House. Heidi Chivaroli captured Louisa May Alcott.   The author tackled difficult topics in this time-slip novel.  Domestic abuse, insecurities regarding self-worth, feelings of not belonging, betrayal, and a cancer diagnose and treatment are some of the topics in the book.  Two sisters must find a way to overcome the past to become close again while dealing with betrayal and abuse.  Faith and God is woven into the story as well. Our characters go through some challenging times which draws them closer to each other and God.  The Orchard House is an engaging novel with a satisfying ending.  We see the importance of communication, forgiveness, faith, and to never give up hope.  Johanna and Louisa as well as Taylor and Victoria shared a connection.  The women may not always agree with each other, but they knew they could count on each other. I like how we get to know Louisa and Johanna through letters. It breaks up the dialogue and gives the novel another layer.  The Orchard House is a captivating time-slip novel with squabbling sisters, a heartless husband, long letters, an affluent author, an infirm mother, unflagging faith, and a faithful family.

The Orchard House is available from Amazon*.  You can find Heidi Chiavaroli's other novels here.  Thank you for reading my review today.  I hope that you enjoy The Orchard House as much as I did.  The images I used today include Orchard House, Louisa May Alcott at Orchard House, a postcard of staircase at Orchard House, Louisa May Alcott at her desk writing, and Louisa May Alcott reading.  I will be featuring Murder with a View by Diane Kelly next time.  It is the 3rd A House Flipper Mystery.  May you have an upbeat day.  Take care, be kind, and Happy Reading!


The Avid Reader

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