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.
Where to begin! This is such a sprawling story of secrets and mystery. I have red and loved Anna Romer’s two previous novels and this one will garner the same high praise from her followers, like me.
Beyond The Orchard has a slightly different feel to it than her previous two novels. It is a big story (around 450 pages) and a complex plot taking it from a light read to one that requires reader concentration, especially as the story timeline jumps around a bit. But the structure is very well handled and as usual, Anna’s beautiful prose and sublime imagery sets her apart from her contemporaries. The fairytale thread was intriguing, adding a Kate Forsyth edge.