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The Orchardist

A Novel

This book can be downloaded and read in Apple Books on your Mac or iOS device.


At once intimate and epic, The Orchardist is historical fiction at its best, in the grand literary tradition of William Faulkner, Marilynne Robinson, Michael Ondaatje, Annie Proulx, and Toni Morrison.

In her stunningly original and haunting debut novel, Amanda Coplin evokes a powerful sense of place, mixing tenderness and violence as she spins an engrossing tale of a solitary orchardist who provides shelter to two runaway teenage girls in the untamed American West, and the dramatic consequences of his actions. 

From Publishers Weekly

Jun 04, 2012 – The implacable hand of fate, and the efforts of a quiet, reclusive man to reclaim two young sisters from their harrowing past, are the major forces at play in this immensely affecting first novel. In a verdant valley in the Pacific Northwest during the early years of the 20th century, middle-aged Talmadge tends his orchards of plum, apricot, and apples, content with his solitary life and the seasonal changes of the landscape he loves. Two barely pubescent sisters, Jane and Della, both pregnant by an opium-addicted, violent brothel owner from whom they have escaped, touch Talmadge s otherwise stoic heart, and he shelters and protects them until the arrival of the girls pursuers precipitates tragic consequences. Talmadge is left with one of the sisters, the baby daughter of the other, and an ardent wish to bring harmony to the lives entrusted to his care. Coplin relates the story with appropriate restraint, given Talmadge s reserved personality, and yet manages to evoke a world where the effects of two dramatic losses play out within a strikingly beautiful natural landscape. In contrast to the brothel owner, Michaelson, the other characters in Talmadge s community an insightful, pragmatic midwife; a sensitive Nez Perce horse trader; a kindly judge conduct their lives with dignity and wisdom. When Della fails to transcend the psychological trauma she s endured, and becomes determined to wreak revenge on Michaelson, Talmadge turns unlikely hero, ready to sacrifice his freedom to save her. But no miracles occur, as Coplin refuses to sentimentalize. Instead, she demonstrates that courage and compassion can transform unremarkable lives and redeem damaged souls. In the end, three graves side by side, yet this eloquent, moving novel concludes on a note of affirmation.

Customer Reviews

The orchardist

I was totally engrossed is this story of unspoken love and loss. It was very well written and deeply touching. Thank you.

Too long

The book starts off well. A man tending his orchard sees 2 young girls hiding out and decides to help them. The story of what had happened and what will happen to the two young sisters unfolds in the next 500+pages. Story should have been edited down to 350 pages. By page 150 I started to get impatient with all the extra unnecessary wording. The main character (man who tends/owns the orchard) just started to annoy me. He is a John Wayne person; kind affable, doesn't take action. Problem is the John Wayne characters got tough and took action . This guy never does. I wanted to shake him and yell "do something already"!! Well, it takes 500 pages for him to move to action. No I didn't read it thoroughly , just skimmed through. Reading a line or two on each page was enough (or less). Too many other things about this book was just annoying.


Enjoyed reading this very much. Wonderfully written and captures the beauty of what is never said - but should be (?)

The Orchardist
View in iTunes
  • $10.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Literary
  • Published: Aug 21, 2012
  • Publisher: Harper
  • Print Length: 448 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: This book can only be viewed on an iOS device with Apple Books on iOS 12 or later, iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings

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