Author: Theresa Weir (Anne Frasier)
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Paperback: 256 pages
An unforgettable story of struggle, resilience, and love in the American heartland, this book will forever change the way you think about farmers and family…
At twenty-one, Theresa Weir falls in love with Adrian Curtis, the pride of a prominent local family whose lives and orchard are said to be cursed. Married after only three months, young Theresa finds life with Adrian on the farm far more difficult and dangerous than she expected. Rejected by her husband’s family as an outsider, she slowly learns about the isolated world of farming even as she falls more deeply in love with her husband, a man she at first hardly knew.
“But the mushroom incident set up a theme that would continue for the rest of my life, an acute awareness of human fragility and the knowledge that, consciously or subconsciously, we are all at the mercy of our own fears, and we are all waiting to die”– The Orchard
“There are things you don’t talk about. There are things you don’t want people to know because as soon as they know, you change. You become someone different in their eyes.”– The Orchard
As much as this novel is about Theresa, it is also about the environmental implications of chemicals used by farmers during this time. Theresa sheds light on a very important perspective here, not of the consumers, but of the farmers who used these chemicals. Again, I can’t say too much, but I think the story she has to tell is an important one.
This is definitely not a light hearted read. Tragedy is at every twist and turn, reminding me of a gothic style novel. Please don’t let that scare you off. This book is one of those books that leaves an impression and makes you think long after you are finished. Theresa has a story to tell. Her story is honest, raw, devastating, and above all, important.
On a personal note, I would like to explain why this novel made such an impression on me. My mother grew up on a farm here in Ohio from the 1950s through the late 1960s. After reading this book, I actually had a conversation with her about what it was like being a farmer during that time, and using chemicals that we now know to be harmful. She remembers her father and brothers going out to spray the crops. She also remembers how they wouldn’t spray on windy days for fear of causing cloud of chemicals that would drift and contaminate everything in its path. Unfortunately, not every farmer was as cautious. I never really thought about the implications of these chemicals on these farmers who were using them before we knew the harmful effects. One of my mother’s brothers is actually battling a rare form of cancer called multiple myeloma. Like most cancers, the exact cause of myeloma is not known, however environmental exposures to chemicals like herbicides and pesticides have been suggested. Are the chemicals that he helped his father spray onto crops the cause of his cancer? There is no way to know for sure, but I think it is safe to say it is likely a contributing factor.
My Rating: 4/5 Stars
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About the Author
Theresa Weir (a.k.a. Anne Frasier) is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of twenty-six books and numerous short stories that have spanned the genres of suspense, mystery, thriller, romantic suspense, paranormal, fantasy, and memoir. During her award-winning career, she’s written for Penguin Putnam, Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins Publishers, Bantam Books/Random House, Silhouette Books, Grand Central Publishing/Hachette, and Amazon’s Thomas & Mercer. Her titles have been printed in both hardcover and paperback and translated into twenty languages.
Her first memoir, THE ORCHARD, was a 2011 Oprah Magazine Fall Pick, Number Two on the Indie Next list, a featured B+ review in Entertainment Weekly, and a Librarians’ Best Books of 2011.