The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin

The OrchardistThe Orchardist is Amanda Coplin’s debut novel,  set in the American West, and spanning the late 19th through the 20th century.


This is the story of Talmadge, a man left alone to care for his family’s orchards after the death of his mother and the mysterious disappearance of his sister. Years later, two young pregnant sisters escape from a horrible environment and find themselves befriended by Talmadge. Though reluctant to be drawn into his benevolent care, necessity dictates that they must rely on him for survival. He tends to them as he has the orchards in his care.

Ms. Coplin’s book caught my eye on the Staff Picks display. The cover illustration reminded me of the valley where I grew up in Idaho, a valley covered with fruit orchards where I spent many a hot summer earning “school money” while harvesting those fruit trees. However, the cover of The Orchardist depicts an orchard in springtime dressed in blossoms – an awesome treat for all one’s senses, and a more pleasant memory for me than the sweat-soaked summer endeavors!

If you like a story that takes place over many years and is examined through the eyes, hearts and minds of its different characters you will appreciate this book.

“The Orchardist is a stunning accomplishment, hypnotic in its storytelling power, by turns lyrical and gritty, and filled with marvels. Coplin displays a dazzling sense of craftsmanship, and a talent for creating characters vivid and true. She also gives us insightful glimpses of the American West in the throes of a massive shift away from the agricultural style of life. ”
NPR book review

-Contributed by Shirley O.