Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Orchid House

by Lucinda Riley
September 24-October 17, 2012

And with that, the book hangover is finally cured! Or maybe I just had a really long string of so-so books? Either way, The Orchid House was a delight to read. I was lucky enough to receive a FREE copy from Simon & Schuster when I joined their fan club. What a treat to find it in my mailbox! (If you aren't a fan, I highly recommend it.) In the welcome letter, S&S claims that The Orchid House is a fan favorite, and they were 100% correct. I first gave my copy to my mother who decidedly has much more time to read than I do. She devoured the whole thing in less than a week, even claiming that she forced herself to slow down because she didn't want it to end. When it was back in my hands, my mother made me swear to read it post haste.

I'm glad I did! The Orchid House weaves between present day, World War II and the 1930s, in places from England to Thailand, and boasts an enchanting cast of characters. When Julia, a concert pianist mourning the tragic death of her husband and baby son, returns to Wharton Park, the estate her grandfather worked when she was a child, she discovers a diary that leads her back in time. As Julia learns the history of the home and the generations who lived in it, she begins to heal with the help of the current heir of Wharton Park, Kit Crawford. Together they learn secrets from the past and develop their own special relationship. Each character who came along was fantastic. The story continued to develop and get so much better. I can see why my mother didn't want it to end. Riley has the ability to bring to life characters and inanimate objects alike. My only issues were with the description of Julia's husband and child's death. While it was a bit too graphic, and the after effects were slightly campy, Orchid House found its way back quickly and in a satisfying way. Phew!

I most definitely recommend this one when you're looking for a refreshing break from the everyday mundane.
"Through the pain and the joy of the journey I have made in the past two years, I have learned the most important lesson like can offer, and I am glad of it.
 The moment is all we have."

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