Title: Beyond The Orchard
Author: Anna Romer
Publisher: 1 November 2016 by Simon and Schuster
Pages: 464 pages
How I Read It: ARC book
Genre: historical fiction, romance, mystery
My Rating: 5 crowns
A haunting story of yearning, love and betrayal from the bestselling author of Thornwood House
Lucy Briar has arrived home in turmoil after years overseas. She’s met her fiancé in London and has her life mapped out, but something is holding her back.
Hoping to ground herself and find answers, Lucy settles into once familiar routines. But old tortured feelings flood Lucy’s existence when her beloved father, Ron, is hospitalised and Morgan – the man who drove her away all those years ago – seeks her out.
Worse, Ron implores Lucy to visit Bitterwood Estate, the crumbling historic family guesthouse now left to him. He needs Lucy to find something– an old photograph album, the very thing that drove Ron and his father apart.
Lucy has her own painful memories of Bitterwood, darkness that has plagued her dreams since she was young. But as Lucy searches for the album, the house begins to give up its ghosts and she is driven to put them to rest.
And there, held tightly between the house, the orchard and the soaring cliffs, Lucy uncovers a long-hidden secret that shattered a family’s bond and kept a frightened young girl in its thrall ... and Lucy discovers just how fierce the lonely heart can be.
This is Anna Romer’s third book and I couldn’t wait to read it. I am happy to say that the high standard she set from the very beginning of her literary career has continued. What an amazing author she is proving to be, with this instalment cementing her in the upper echelon of Australian writers.
“Drinking in the night air, he blinked to clear his eyes, clutching her to him, wishing he could turn back time, wishing . . . but no; he would not let his mind revisit what he had done.”
I was hooked from the first page as she deftly wove a superior tale of secrets that seamlessly went from past to present. That takes skill. For you see this is a historical mystery with a touch of romance of the very highest calibre. A story that will draw you in and keep you glued to the very end.
“Through the orchard I went, following the torch beam along the path and down the slope to the dank clearing.”
Beyond the Orchard is yet another atmospheric tale of past tragedies, betrayal, love and of secrets. There is such great depth and character to both the players and plot. At its heart it is a mystery and you are the passenger, as Romer deftly moves the puzzle pieces around the board, with revelations slowly unfolding. It’s so engaging and authentic with snapshots from three past generation, all woven together to a fulfilling conclusion.
“Instinct told me that the developed photos –along with the other items –were all pieces of a much larger puzzle.”
Romer can now be called a master of contemporary and historical family stories with her latest, Beyond the Orchard, up there with her previous two novels. I have no hesitation in highly recommending this book. Much like the main character, as a reader you will be ....
“... drawn into a vortex where past and present existed simultaneously. It made me giddy, made my pulse thunder in my ears, made my skin damp with anticipation. Made me ever more determined to find the explanation.”
This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The quoted material may have changed in the final release