The Apple Orchard (Bella Vista #1)
Published April 30th 2013
Tess Delaney makes a living restoring stolen treasures to their rightful owners. People like Annelise Winther, who refuses to sell her long-gone mother’s beloved necklace—despite Tess’s advice. To Annelise, the jewel’s value is in its memories.
But Tess’s own history is filled with gaps: a father she never met, a mother who spent more time traveling than with her daughter. So Tess is shocked when she discovers the grandfather she never knew is in a coma. And that she has been named in his will to inherit half of Bella Vista, a hundred-acre apple orchard in the magical Sonoma town called Archangel.
The rest is willed to Isabel Johansen. A half sister she’s never heard of.
Against the rich landscape of Bella Vista, Tess begins to discover a world filled with the simple pleasures of food and family, of the warm earth beneath her bare feet. A world where family comes first and the roots of history run deep. A place where falling in love is not only possible, but inevitable.
There are ten sections to The Apple Orchard, each part starts with a recipe. Now I am no cook, but each one as I glanced over it, inspired me and I thought – oh I want to try this out sometime. The very last one for Baked Hot Chocolate sounds decadent and yummy. Isabel the half sister of Tess, is a wonderful cook and when she is stressed she bakes up a whirlwind of goodies. Her kitchen would be warm and welcoming.
The story opens with Marcus in the orchard – he is the grandfather of Isabel and Tess. I immediately took a liking to this gracious old man. On one level we rarely meet him throughout the book, yet his life is woven in and out as the story unfolds. Fittingly the end of the book also has Marcus as a focus.
In the beginning of The Apple Orchard Tess is a highly successful professional with an anxiety disorder, her main focus is her job in the city. She is aiming to be a high flyer. However Tess is lonely, she has a tenuous relationship with her mother and has never known her father. When she is suddenly faced with a family she never knew about, her world turns upside down. Dominic the man who brings her the news of this family, is very linked to her lost family, and as she visits this new family, Dominic becomes an important person in her life. His two children also play their part in opening up Tess’ heart. They are adorable.