I received a free copy of The Orchid House for my honest review.
About the Book:
Spanning from the 1930s to the present day, from the Wharton Park estate in England to Thailand, this sweeping novel tells the tale of a concert pianist and the aristocratic Crawford family, whose shocking secrets are revealed, leading to devastating consequences.
As a child, concert pianist Julia Forrester spent many idyllic hours in the hothouse of Wharton Park, the grand estate 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 this tranquil place. 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 the estate. Their search takes them back to the 1940s when Harry, a former heir to Wharton Park, married his young society bride, Olivia, on the eve of World War II. When the two lovers are cruelly separated, the impact will be felt for generations to come.
This atmospheric story alternates between the magical world of Wharton Park and Thailand during World War II. Filled with twists and turns, passions and lies, and ultimately redemption, The Orchid House is a beautiful, romantic, and poignant novel.
About the Author:
Lucinda Riley is the author of The Orchid House, which has sold more than 1 million copies in nineteen countries. Born in Ireland, she currently lives in rural England with her husband and four children.
I suppose one could call this a book of coming full circle. Julia grew up at Wharton Park as the granddaughter of the gardener. She loved spending time with him as he tended to his orchids. What she didn’t know was that there were many secrets hiding at the house.
As an adult Julia suffers a great loss and comes back to England from France and meets the current heir to Wharton Park, Kit. and despite her mourning she falls in love. She also falls back in love with the place of her childhood. Kit cannot afford to keep Wharton Park so he decides to sell and live in what was, ironically Julia’s childhood home. While renovating he finds a diary which he assumes to be Julia’s grandfathers. Julia takes it to her grandmother who then starts to tell her the history of the people of Wharton Park. Julia does not know how this will impact her and her grandmother soon grows tired in the telling.
As Julia grows stronger in her health and her love for Kit she decides to go back to France to close out her life there but she runs into an unexpected complication. I won’t say what so as to not ruin a plot point but I will say that it didn’t ring true to me and Julia’s reactions to it were also somewhat out of character.
Overall I did enjoy the book but there were some parts that just didn’t make sense to me. For example: Julia’s grandmother starts on this grand explanation of the diary, detailing the lives of Kit’s ancestors and then just stops because she is tired. It leaves off at an integral point and yet NO ONE is curious enough to find out the ending for weeks? This did not make sense to me. Second was the incident in France to which I referred to above. Doesn’t make sense AT ALL. Yet all just go along with the “plot point” as if it happens every day. I don’t think so.
The historical part was far more compelling than the story written in current times. I didn’t really connect with either Julia or Kit and was happier when reading about the antics of their ancestors.