Monday, December 19, 2011

Review: "The Orchid House" by Lucinda Riley

From Goodreads:  As a child Julia Forrester spent many idyllic hours in the hothouse of Wharton Park, the great house where her grandfather tended exotic orchids. Years later, while struggling with overwhelming grief over the death of her husband and young child, she returns to the tranquility of the estate. There she reunites with Kit Crawford, heir to the estate and her possible salvation.

When they discover an old diary, Julia seeks out her grandmother to learn the truth behind a love affair that almost destroyed Wharton Park. Their search takes them back to the 1930s when a former heir to Wharton Park married his young society bride on the eve of World War II. When the two lovers are cruelly separated, the impact will be felt on generations to come.

My Thoughts: I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for a fair review.  The Orchid House was a fascinating read.  It contained characters functioning in the present as well as ones functioning in the past.  The author handled the transition really well.  Rather than constantly flipping back and forth between time periods, there were big chunks of the story taking place in one period or another.  She also did a good job of drawing me into the story; there was some really important information about the main character, Julia, that was alluded to for a few chapters which peaked my interest and made me want to keep reading to find out what exactly had happened to her.  I really liked Julia as a character and I definitely sympathized with her situation.  I felt like the author did a good job of shuttling her through the stages of grief and it was nice to see her come out of her situation without being completely destroyed.

I did feel like the story was somewhat far-fetched.  While being engaging, the story had several moments where I was like ‘What? That would never happen’.  There were also a lot of layers to the story and every time I felt like one issue was resolved, another weird issue would rear its head.  And while I did think the characters deserved a happy ending, the story wrapped itself up a little too nicely.  I guess I was expecting a story that was a little more plausible than this one was. 3 stars.

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