Beyond the Orchard
Simon & Schuster AU
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.
When Lucy Briar received the letter from her grandfather she knew she needed to return home to find answers. Alex, her fiancé remained in London and when Lucy saw how happy her father was on her return, she was sorry it had been five years since she’d been home. Melbourne was where her heart was; it was where she’d grown up and where her friends were. But the event of five years previously which had caused her to flee to London hadn’t been resolved…
The sudden shock of her grandfather’s passing then her father’s bad fall where he was hospitalised had her heart in her throat. But when her dad asked Lucy to go to Bitterwood, the home of her grandfather, the place where her father was born and also a place of bad memories for her, Lucy wanted to refuse. But she couldn’t. The bitterness and anger that had stood between her grandfather Edwin, and her father Ron all those years needed resolution. And though Edwin was gone, Lucy wanted to find the answers to her dad’s estrangement of his father.
With her cat Basil by her side, and Morgan wanting to help, Lucy began to sort out Edwin’s life. But what she found was more confusion – the mystery surrounding the early family life in 1931 was deep. Photographs from that long ago time of faces Lucy didn’t recognise made her more determined to discover the truth. But would there be peace and resolution at the end of her search? The secrets which had surrounded Edwin’s life were there to be found…
Beyond the Orchard is another atmospheric and emotional read by Aussie author Anna Romer. The tragedy of the past; the heartbreak and fragility of a love built on secrets and betrayal – this novel has amazing depth and character. I’ve loved this author’s past work and this one didn’t disappoint. A very highly recommended 4.5 star read from me.
With thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this copy to read in exchange for my honest review.