Book Club: Beyond the Orchard

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Author: Anna Romer
ISBN: 978-19-251-8442-6
RRP: $29.99

Beyond the Orchard is the third suspenseful offering from Australian Anna Romer, I have read all three and loved them all.

A tale of dark family secrets, buried for decades, and told in multiple time periods this is one that I found very difficult to put down. There are two distinct times, past and present, but we have a couple of different periods within those two times.

Lucy Briar left home years ago and moved to London, running from an awkward situation with an unrequited love. In London she met her fiance and they have mapped out a life together, until Lucy receives a letter from her estranged grandfather asking her to come see him. Eventually she returns home, on her own, hoping to resolve her feelings and find the answers she seeks to childhood questions.

Elements of the story have a very fairy tale type quality, and there are fairy tale references, so the choice of Briar for the family name really struck a chord in that vein for me.

Soon after her arrival home Lucy’s father suffers a fall that sees him hospitalised and her grandfather passes away. She is left reeling and wondering if she will ever get her answers. At her father’s insistence Lucy heads to the historic family guesthouse, Bitterwood Estate, to clear out her grandfathers things before the Estate is sold – and to find the photo album that created the rift between father and son.

Lucy has some traumatic memories of Bitterwood Estate and dreads returning but she knows that to find the answers she seeks she has to go. She’s not sure how she’ll get her answers now that her grandfather isn’t there to hand over whatever it was he had that would explain everything.

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The quest for answers, and the album, seems overwhelming when for every inch of progress there seems to be a bigger setback. Much of the album has been reduced to ashes, and Lucy can’t find anything addressed to her from her grandfather that may hold the answers. The further she gets packing up the house the more information the house releases. The blurb says that the house begins to give up its ghosts, and it certainly does, but these are metaphorical ghosts not paranoramal ones.

Lucy was followed to Bitterwood Estate by Morgan, the man she was running from, who has come to help her get the house in order. His proximity isn’t helping her cold feet, though he certainly helps her make progress in the quest for answers.

Lucy’s father Ron is a writer, he takes fairy tales and twists them, making the villians the heroes and telling the story from a different perspective. He and Lucy are a team, she illustrates for him. There is a little bit of  life experience in Ron’s retellings and none more so than the manuscript he’s just finished, that Lucy starts illustrating while she’s at Bitterwood Estate. Ron’s writing is part of his coping mechanism, he writes to work through the things in life he’s struggling with.

Beyond The Orchard is haunting and suspenseful, and it leaves you guessing. There were many times throughout that I was sure I knew what was going on, only to discover how wrong I was.

A tale of love, loss, betrayal, desire and family secrets this is not to be missed.

Lucy was a beautiful character, haunted by ghosts of her own, and always running away from something. Throughout the story we see her starting to face some of her demons so that she can move forward and stop running.

Yet again Romer has written with great depth and sincerity, a touching novel that brought me to the brink of tears on a number of occasions and one which I hope to read again one day just to see what else I pick up on that I may have missed on the first read.

Beyond the Orchard is book #57 for the Australian Women Writer’s Challenge 2016.

Available now from Simon & Schuster, Angus & Robertson Bookworld, Booktopia and where all good books are sold.

You can find Anna at her Website as well as on Facebook.

Thanks to Simon & Schuster 30 of our lucky Beauty and Lace Club member will be reading Beyond the Orchard so please be aware there may be spoilers in the comments below.

28 thoughts on “Book Club: Beyond the Orchard

  1. Wow!! What a great read. A family saga on a grand scale. Spanning the early 1900’s to the 1990’s.
    Lucy Briar happily living in London with her fiancé Adam is called home to Australia after a 5 year absence.
    Her father Ron is estranged from his father; Lucy’s grandfather Edwin, who owns Bitterwood Estate a family guesthouse on the wild Victorian coastline.
    Lucy has demons of her own to deal with but when her grandfather dies and her father asks her to go to Bitterwood and retrieve a precious photo album she seeks to address those ghosts from her past . This begins a search for not only those people in the photo album but Lucy’s quest to find herself and face her demons.
    The past is brought to the present and so many lives are forever changed by the events that have taken place at Bitterwood over the past 60 years.

    Interspersed through the book is a wonderful recreated fairytale that Ron writes. The recreated tales are Ron’s therapy for his traumatic life and they mirror life events.

    The tragic events of the past, the heartbreak and fragile nature of love that are built on secrets and betrayals make this book an emotional roller coaster but one I couldn’t put down. Beautifully written!
    Thank @beautyandlace for the opportunity to read and review.

  2. Beyond the Orchard is a fantastic read, I really like Anna Romer’s writing. This book is as good as her previous novel Lyrebird Hill.

    It is really a mystery, however it contains a series of revelations rather than one plot twist, and i liked that better ,seemingly more real. Beyond the Orchard offers up a believable story of tangled relationships over generations, a glimpse in time of at least three time periods, which Anna Romer manages to weave together effortlessly.

    Overall I enjoyed this novel it was a heart wrenching story of loss, love, and redemption. It is beautifully written. Thank you for giving the opportunity to be part of the review team and I highly recommend it !

  3. Whether you’re a fan of mystery, romance or thrillers, Beyond the Orchard is a wonderful read. It is completely engrossing and beautifully written and lures you in from the very beginning.

    The main character Lucy Briar is determined to uncover the secrets in her family’s past that continue to haunt both her and her father’s lives. A past he seems to hint at in his popular reimagined fairy tales!

    The story cleverly moves between Lucy’s present day- with her bittersweet childhood memories and perceptions, and the past life, tragedies and betrayals of Lucy’s now deceased grandparents when they lived at the once grand Bitterwood Estate, with its abandoned orchard and mysterious, underground ice house.

    As Lucy sorts through her grandparents belongings she discovers old photographs and letters which at first uncover more questions than answers. However as the story unfolds Lucy not only discovers more about herself, she also reveals a sad and tragically twisted family history that has remained hidden up to this point.

    I really enjoyed this book and it’s setting on Victoria’s coastline is beautifully evocative – a perfect backdrop for this haunting and intriguing tale!

  4. Thankyou Beautyandlace for the opportunity to read (and enjoy) ‘Beyond the Orchard’ by Anna Romer. It kept me enthralled from the first page till the last. I just had to keep reading!
    Lucy, 26, has been in London for 5 years (escaping a sad love affair) before returning on holiday from London. Now engaged to Adam from London who she is to marry soon, now her wedding invitation reply from her grandfather Edwin has prompted her return. He has indicated he has some relevant information he wants to personally give to her. Intrigued, she now intends to persue this, only on her return to have her grandfather die before she can meet up with him. Her father Ron seems very secretive about his past and estrangement from his father. He ends up in hospital and Lucy is left to search and go through Edwin’s possessions at Bitterwood the family property. She discovers things are not as her father thought regarding his mother.
    We read of a shipwreck and a 13 year old girl being the only survivor becoming a welcome addition to Edwin and Clarice’s (his wife) family and also two aboriginal children befriending Orah.
    The book is in sections of years, 1929, 1930, 1931, 1977 and 1993 following the various characters through the years. I didn’t mind this at all as it only made the book more intersting.
    Lucy’s father Ron wrote twisted fairy tales and she illustrated them, I found them lovely.
    Bitterwood was a wonderful property, lots of fruit trees, silkworms from the mulberries grown, an icehouse, and close to the sea.
    Lucy’s close family friend features prominently in the book as does an adorable white cat.
    I really, really enjoyed this book, it was full of mystery, twists and turns, unpredictable, and so very well written.
    I can’t praise Anna Romer enough, and her name of authors I must read will be top of my books to realist.

  5. Few stories rarely draw you in from the first page but Anna Romer’s ‘Beyond The Orchard’ achieves this. Instantly the reader is aware that a sinister act has occurred, one of passion perhaps; the abandoning of a dead body in the bowels of an old underground icehouse.

    And so the story proceeds. We are introduced to three generations of one family beginning with Edwin. Always the less noticed, less loved younger brother of Ron, the story introduces both boys in battle during WW1. Edwin secretly in love with his brother’s girlfriend, Clarice, Edwin is confronted by a returning soldier in the front line. He shoots and kills his own brother Ron, and the reader is left wondering if it was a case of tragic friendly fire or indeed opportunistic due to jealousy. Another plot surfaces.

    The story is told from the perspective of his granddaughter Lucy. Returning from London after 5 years when Lucy receives a letter of plea from her elderly grandfather, Edwin. Upon her arrival she discovers her grandfather has died and she is now charged with sorting through her grandfather’s belonging, at the request of her father Ron who has been estranged from Edwin since he was 15 years old. From an early age Lucy has known about unspoken secrets in her family and she is determined to seek the answers.

    As you read through each chapter a new mystery is revealed. None of the characters are void of their own emotional turmoil. Ron reveals he grew up with an emotionally absent father in Edwin. The mother he has always known as Dulcie, reveals on her death bed that she is in fact his stepmother. Ron then learns about the existence of his birth mother, Clarice, who deserted the family when he was a baby; a resentment Ron has held since the age of 15. Ron marries happily and then his life spirals into despair when his wife drowns. Ron turns to alcohol and his 10 year old daughter Lucy is left to live with her estranged grandfather Edwin for months whilst Ron is institutionalised. Here Lucy discovers a forbidden secret, the remains of a body in the icehouse on the family property. More intrigue.

    Lucy buries this thought into the recesses of her mind and continues to further deal with her own demons in her life. She is secretly in love with a family friend, Morgan, who is 17 years her senior. Finally revealing her feelings for Morgan, she is shunned by him and escapes to London to begin a new life.

    This book jumps from one chapter retelling the 1930s storyline with Edwin to a new chapter in 1993 during Lucy’s life. This method of storytelling has the potential to complicate the reader but Anna Romer manages this brilliantly.

    Anna Romer leads you to certain assumptions as to who the mystery body is lying deep in the icehouse. And what greater triumph is there in a book to discover you were completely wrong. The eternal mysteries finally unravel at the end of the book and with a sigh you realise the triumph of success that this author has created.

    I absolutely loved this book. It’s full of emotion, intrigue, personal anguish, misunderstanding and mostly intense love. Don’t worry about the housework, just keep reading, you won’t want to put it down.

  6. OHHHH What a glorious book. Thank you so very much, Beauty and Lace and Simon and Schuster for the opportunity to read this wonderful Australian novel that is right up there with my all time favourite books. From the beautifully visual cover to the last word, I just loved it.

    I am always thrilled when young Australian authors delight me the way Anna Romer does. I loved Lyrebird Hill and Beyond the Orchard is as brilliant as it gets. Rarely do I feel that there are no flaws in a book – this doesn’t always spoil the book – but with Beyond the Orchard there is not one flaw. The time lines spanning decades, the reorganised fairy tales Lucy’s father, Ron writes that Lucy illustrates, the sympathetic characterisation and the way the story flows is perfect.

    Retelling in any way is unnecessary because no one reviews books better than Michelle and it would be unfair to let anything slip that would spoil the beautiful way everything is woven together. So often with time span and several characters something goes missing – definitely not with Beyond the Orchard. It is, without any doubt, one of the most satisfying books I’ve read and it never delves into the ordinary but it is always completely believable.

    Definitely as wonderful as a book can be, in my opinion and I now can’t wait to read Anna’s other book, Thornwood House.

  7. Beyond the Orchard is an absolutely wonderful read . A great family saga spanning generations of the one family,
    Staring with brothers Edwin and Ron in the WW1 era where the intrigue and mystery begins .
    Told from the perspective of his granddaughter Lucy , there are time jumps which within some books can be somewhat confusing, but not in this case .It actually all weaves in perfectly .
    There is so much mystery and intrigue through every generation of the family that it could have very well become confusing , but I found Beyond The Orchard to be a fascinating read.
    It would make a lovely gift for a loved one who loves to read or as a Christmas gift to yourself.
    Thank you to Beauty and Lace and Simon and Schuster for allowing me to read and review this fantastic novel .

  8. “Beyond the Orchard” is the second book I’ve read by Anna Romer, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

    Lucy Briar has returned home to Australia in response to a mysterious letter from her Grandfather. Her family has long been riven by secrets, and a letter from him suggests that he may be able to resolve at least some of them. Coming home adds extra complications; although Lucy is engaged, she has her doubts about her planned marriage, and confronting relationships from the past that were left open ended doesn’t help.

    This story is interspersed with the story of Lucy’s grandfather and his household in the 1930’s; it quickly becomes clear that this will have a significant bearing on how things resolve in 1993. How is not so clear.

    Romer keeps the reader in suspense, and carefully unspools her story of family secrets, how they started, why they were kept, and some of their ramifications. As the final revelations emerge in the last chapters, there is a sense of completeness and that it was all foreshadowed, but not many readers will have worked out every last detail.

    This is a well written story, carefully plotted and written with an absorbing style and a pace that keeps you engaged. The characters are generally convincing, and it’s saddening to read about people who deserve good things when you know something bad is looming for them. Still, this is ultimately a positive book with a hopeful eye on the future.

    I did have some minor problems with character behaviour. Lucy doesn’t go off to see her Grandfather with any haste; she lingers in Melbourne for no very specific reason. There is one secret which has festered for years, the effect of which could have at least been alleviated had someone shared one very simple piece of information (I’m trying to avoid spoilers here), and no good reason is ever given for why they don’t. When Lucy’s grandfather dies, their next of kin is advised by letter weeks later – in 1993. Surely the police would have made a phone call? These things seem to occur just to keep the secrets going for a bit longer, not for any reason connected with character or common sense.

    Interestingly, despite all the secrets and apparent bad behaviour, pretty much all of the characters are sympathetic to some extent. It takes a while for that to emerge with some characters, but by and large this is a story of flawed people doing the best they can.

    If I have a significant criticism of this novel, it’s that the sense of time and place was not very strong. It felt a little unmoored; I had no strong sense of a particular era or a particular place. I’m not sure if this was deliberate or not, but it was a little disappointing in a novel that switched between eras. This doesn’t affect the readability of the novel or the effect of the carefully crafted plot.

    Overall I really enjoyed this, as will most readers who like a complex plot combined with a very readable style.

  9. Beyond The Orchard written by Anna Romer is a beautiful written book.
    It will have readers intrigued from the 1st chapter till the last chapter.
    This book has romance, suspense, lies, sadness and happiness.
    The first chapter begins in 1931 nearly all the chapters of this book are different years but the book flows so well between the years
    Lucy Brair is the main character in this book she has returned from London to see her grandfather,
    Lucy is determined to find out about her family’s past history
    This book is extremely interesting and I found it very hard to put down as I wanted to know what mystery/secrets were going to be revealed in the next chapters
    Thank you for choosing me to read this book
    I would highly recommend
    I will also be reading Anna’s other books

  10. Beyond the Orchard by Anna Romer is a beautifully written book to read and like her previous novel, Lyrebird Hill, it effortlessly travels back and forth through different timelines.
    Lucy Briar has hidden troubles in her background – a deep dark secret from her childhood that she has not shared with anyone. She does not know if they are memories or just bad recurring nightmares. Running away from an embarrassing situation to the other side of the world, she meets and is engaged to Adam.
    Lucy receives a letter from her Grandfather and writes that he will explain ‘all’. She leaves Adam in London and returns home to Australia to find answers.
    This is the beginning of a discovery of long buried secrets that will rip apart her family.
    There is tragedy, love, betrayal and loyalty all interwoven around Lucy’s Grandfathers old Guest House called Bitterwood state.
    The house slowly releases it’s secrets that have stayed hidden for over 70 years.
    The more Lucy searches the crumbling guesthouse with all its clutter, the more she uncovers and is slowly piecing together the events that lead up to the present day.
    Beyond the Orchard has many twists and turns and when you think you know what is happening, another little crossroads is uncovered leading up to such an unexpected conclusion it will leave you stunned.
    Thank you so much to Beauty and Lace Book Club and Simon & Schuster for the opportunity to read and review this stunning book that I highly recommend will definitely re-read.

  11. Beyond the Orchard had me reeled in from the behinning. I really enjoyed Anna Romer’s writing style, it is quite unique.

    We follow Lucy on her journey back to Australia after receiving a letter from her Grandfather Edwin promising to explain everything.
    The book goes between the early 1900s and early 1990s and we slowly learn bits and pieces, however the twists and turns threw me a few times, just when I’d think aha that’s what happened there’d be something else to throw me off. Romer sure had me on my toes.
    I loved the characters Clarice and Orah but won’t say too much in case I give something away.
    Bitterwood, the estate where most of this book is written around came across dark even when the characters were all happy. The icehouse just gave me the creeps.
    This is definitely a great Christmas gift idea for the mystery lover in your family!
    Thanks again for a good read 🙂

  12. I really enjoyed this book and the further I read the more I didn’t want to stop. Beyond the Orchard is a book that jumps around from past to present uncovering the family secrets that have been buried for 60 years. In the present (actually 1993) we see the story through Lucy’s eyes as she returns to Melbourne after running from her own problems and tries to uncover her Grandpa’s secrets in the family guesthouse. We see the past through a number of different characters eyes as what happened to each of them is revealed. And we see how what happened affected all the characters involved. It’s a bit of a dark tragic story and the landscapes sound beautiful.

    The story really sucks you in on Lucy’s journey of discovery and it is written really well. Thanks for the opportunity Beauty and Lace. 🙂

  13. Thank you Beauty & Lace, and Simon & Schuster for the opportunity to read Beyond The Orchard.
    I have read one of Anna Romer’s other novels, Lyrebird Hill, and although I enjoyed that one a bit more than this one, Beyond The Orchard is worth reading!
    In this book, the main character is Lucy Briar, who returns to Australia from London after receiving a mysterious letter from her grandfather, Edwin.
    Edwin has had a rocky relationship with his son Ron, Lucy’s father, and it is up to Lucy to figure out why.
    Soon after she returns, her dad injures himself and ends up hospitalised, and her grandfather passes away.
    Lucy has left behind her fiance Adam back in London, and upon returning to Australia, she finds out that the man she once had very strong feelings for, Morgan, is now divorced. As Morgan is quite a few years older than Lucy, their relationship didn’t take off when Lucy was younger, but it isn’t long before her feelings for him are reignited.
    I liked Morgan’s character, especially as he helps Lucy decipher many of the mysteries that surround her family’s past.
    With regards to Adam, I felt that his character was almost non-existent throughout the story. It’s as though Lucy just forgot about him (for no real apparent reason). I don’t know if this was done on purpose, but I didn’t like this quality in her character as she seemed like a fairly loyal person, and this just clashed with that part of her nature.
    The story lapses back and forth in time from the early 1900’s to 1993. It was a little confusing for me at times, but the further into the story I read, the easier it became to interpret, and I could grasp the flow of the story better.
    I liked the element of mystery in this story, and I thought I knew what secrets were being kept hidden, but they turned out to be something else, so that was refreshing!
    Beyond The Orchard was a pleasant read, particularly if you enjoy books about family secrets, betrayal, and love.

  14. This is the second novel I have read by Anne Romer and again I thoroughly enjoyed it.

    The main character, Lucy Briar, arrives home after living overseas, unsure of her past, and her future. The storyline reveals the plot by featuring episodes in the present and the past, but the reader is always able to follow the characters without losing their way in the story, which sometimes happens in this style of story telling.

    I really enjoyed the story, and thank you for giving me the opportunity to read it.

  15. this is another of those books that I dont really want to put down… It is just so well written, and smoothly takes you from the past to the present. It is very difficult for the main you ng lady lucy when she returns to australia from being in london and getting engaged… Into her life again comes the man she loved, but who was married, but now he is divorced, and this becomes a sticky patch for lucy, as he knows how she felt, and I feel is trying to re-uite the two of them…. The grandfathers hidden agenda for lucy comes too late, and she is not able to know what her grandfather wished to tell her., and the photo album her own dad wants from his fathers house, is more or less destroyed by the mans father… wonderful absorbing reading …. thank you for the opportunity to read …..

  16. What a fantastic book! Right from the first page your hooked! Starting in the 1900’s when family secrets where kept firmly under the rug. From London to Australia where old romances are found. The tangled web of family secrets love and betrayal.
    Get a cool iced tea and find a quiet spot and get lost in the fantastic book xxx
    Thanks so much beauty and lace

  17. Four words is all I need to describe this book.
    Beautiful, haunting, mesmerizing and mystical.

    Once again Anna Romer has written such a beautiful story with detailed descriptions of the lands around the story.
    The story begins with Lucy arriving home to Australia after living in London. She is back to find out what it is that her grandpa wants to tell her. Finally those missing parts of her life might get put back together.
    Her life, her fathers life and all those around her will change and grow with each discovery.
    Secrets, love and heartache are just part of a growing story.
    From here Anna has woven a story that takes you back to the time of her grandfather and his whole story is written out and woven from one decade to another.
    Anna books are never just straight out love stories but rather a delicately woven time travel that lets the characters grow on you until you just can’t put the book down.
    Her attention to detail is amazing and you are drawn in so deeply that you start telling Lucy the places she should be looking to find the answers (hmmm maybe that was just me)

    This was a story that seemed so real, thank you Anna for sharing you gift of storytelling.

    Thanks Beauty and Lace and Simon and Schuster for giving me this book to read.

  18. Beyond the Orchard is an Australian saga spanning multiple years, taking in different generations and perspectives. It seems to have a lot in common with the late Bryce Courtenay’s work insofar as it’s an epic slice of Australiana. The book is the third novel by Anna Romer (Thornwood House) and a rich and detailed tapestry where some different characters lives are all interwoven together through a series of secrets and lies.

    The story stars Lucy Briar, a young woman whose mother passed away when she was just a young girl. Briar is now all grown up and has been living in London for the past few years. She is also newly engaged. Lucy left Australia for the UK a few years ago after a relationship with an older man (the father of a friend of hers) had gone awry.

    Lucy is called back to her childhood home after she is invited to her friends’ wedding. Before Briar arrives in Victoria she receives a message from her estranged grandfather that is completely unexpected. He wants to meet her and set the record straight on a few things regarding the past. Sadly, Lucy’s grandpa does not get the opportunity to follow through with his promise. But little by little Lucy undertakes he own detective work and uncovers a rich and complicated family history and some life events that involve her relatives as well as love, loss, death, despair and redemption.

    Anna Romer’s novel is a rather ambitious one that threads together the perspectives of various characters living at different points in history. She also adds additional textural flourishes in the form of extracts from a book written by Lucy’s father Ronald. These extra storylines add greater depth and meaning to the existing characters and their motivations because it is a case of art imitating life.

    Beyond the Orchard feels like it’s a real story because it is so atmospheric and emotional. It’s a testament to Romer’s fabulous writing that the characters seem as rich and complex as real people. Romer’s prose is well-written and sometimes quite poetic and beautiful. This book is a well-constructed one where mystery and romance make for one haunting and intriguing family history.

  19. Thank you for the opportunity to read Beyond The Orchard by Anna Romer.

    There were a lot of sections to this book and to-ing and fro-ing in chapters. I had a little fun the first few chapters, but after that it ran smoothly.

    This is the story of Lucy and her family. She feels she is happily engaged andlivin in London, until she receives correspondence from her grandfather alluding to a mystery.

    She travels home to Victoria trying to find some answers only to find out her grandfather has dies and her father had a fall. She goes to Bitterwood Estate for her father, to tidy the estate. She is also hoping to fin some answers to her family questions. These include who is in photos found at the estate, why her father and grandfather don’t get along, finding out about her heritage, her grandfather’s relationship with his brother Ronald and what actually happened to her mother. Then there is the issue of the mysterious icehouse.

    The story is also interspersed with Lucy’s father Ron’s written fairy tales that hep him sort through his troubles relationship with his father Edwin. Throw in a possible romance for Lucy and all the ingredients are there for a family mystery to be solved and relationships healed.

    The story is written in the past and present as it unravels and by the end I couldn’t wait for certain moments to be revealed. I would really recommend this book as one to delve into to work out a family and how everything impacts and all is not as it seems.

  20. Mesmerising reading the book that once opened cannot be put down until the end thank you to Anna Romer for a wonderful read.

    A storyline that cover past & present intrigue loss & love but draws a family to one place to uncover dark secrets that have to be told in order to mend

    The story moves from present to past but overall is a storyline that can be followed as Lucy delves into the history as requested by her grandfather

    Thanks Beauty & Lace for the opportunity to review such a good book.

  21. Beyond the Orchard is truly and intriguing story. Lucy, coming home for a visit to see her Grandfather, Edwin, after receiving a letter and locket from him. She also has some past demons to deal with before going back to London to marry her fiance. She catches up with her Dad, Ron, who becomes unwell after hearing that Edwin had died, this is also before Lucy has a chance to see him in regards to the letter.
    Ron asks Lucy to go to Edwin’s home, Bitterwood Estate, to search for a family photo album he hopes will answer a lot of questions he has of the past (Ron was estranged from Edwin for many years.
    While at Bitterwood, Lucy uncovers many trouble relationships in Edwin’s past, she has many unsolved memories as does Ron. Now is the time to deal with them all.
    Wow! What a story, and enjoyable, unpredictable tale of the past. Flicking backwood and forward through different years and characters who were involved in Edwin’s life. This captures different personalities, darkness and concerns.
    A book to read and then re-read to ensure you get the true elements of each character and the flow of the story.
    A bit hard to read at times however well worth it.

  22. Ok so I read this twice why because it really took me a lot to get into . While I did enjoy this book I did have trouble following it . In saying that I did pass it on to my mum who is really enjoying it

  23. Thank You Beauty and Lace for letting me review this book. I enjoyed it very much I love family sagas and this book spans from 1900’s to 1990’s and does not disappoint. It is a book that has three generations of the family.

    Lucy Briar 26 is the main character, who is called back from London after five years of living there with her fiance Adam. Her search into her past starts when her grandfather dies. The book holds a lot of intrigue when she finds out about her family’s past. I found the book held many secrets that made it so I could not put it down.

    I love Australian authors and this book did not disappoint. It is well written and kept me turning the pages.

  24. I found Beyond the Orchard to be an enigma and I’m still not sure how I feel about it. The book opens in 1931 in Bitterwood, a tragic event has clearly occurred and someone is taking action to cover it up, but what has occurred, and who the characters involved are is not revealed. The story then moves to Melbourne in June of 1993 where we meet Lucy Briar, Lucy has left her fiance Adam in London and returned to Australia after receiving a cryptic note from her grandfather asking her to visit as he has something to explain.

    From the beginning it is clear that there are interesting family dynamics at play as Lucy is loathe to tell her father that she is here to visit her grandfather as she is sure dad will try to stop her from visiting him. We discover that dad writes fractured fairy stories, taking traditional children’s fairy stories and putting some strange twists onto them, Lucy, a talented artist, does the illustrations.

    Other characters come into play Nina the childhood friend who has married Coby, Coby who fell for Lucy when she was younger is the foster son of Morgan an older man that Lucy had a crush on when younger, and appears to be the reason that Lucy fled to London.

    Then before Lucy gets the chance to see her grandfather he dies, and her father requests that Lucy return to Bitterwood to find a photo album.

    But Bitterwood holds many fears for Lucy as a result of something she thought she saw when young. Lucy must conquer her fears and return to Bitterwood to resolve the mystery of the photo album, and what her grandfather wanted to tell her.

    The story itself is captivating, laden with hints and red herrings as to what occurred all those years ago and how it relates to Lucy and her father today and moves between past and present to build the story to it’s conclusion.

    However at times I struggled with the number of dates and timelines I was trying to follow moving from Bitterwood 1931 to Melbourne June 1993 to the Victorian coast 1929 back to Melbourne June 1993 then to Bitterwood May 1993, Victorian Coast 1929, Melbourne June 1993, and then to France in 1917 and back and forth. On a number of occasions I found I had to go back and reread chapters to try to get my head around what period I was reading, and which characters were involved, and how that related to the rest of the story.

    I can honestly say that this is a book that I enjoyed for the quality of the writing and the storyline, while being totally frustrated by the number of different timelines involved.

    Many thanks to Beauty and Lace and Simon and Schuster for the opportunity to read and review this book.

  25. Beyond the Orchard was a novel that focused on the Briar family. The main character Lucy was living in the present (which was 1993) but the book stretches back to scenes at the beginning of the 1900s. The beginning of each chapter or section lets you know where you are (place and year) but I did find this a bit confusing especially in the beginning when I didn’t know the characters yet so I had to kept flicking back and checking if this was before/after prior events. There is also a “non – fiction” story woven in that has connections to the story and this made me stop and think a few times to work out what the story might be telling.

    It is hard to write much without giving away any parts of the story but I will say the story fleshes out well as the book goes on and we learn more about the past. It becomes interesting as the story goes on and certain links become clear. There are also many times when the story seemed to point at a particular thing happening but then it turns out it was something else…not everything is as it appears lets say.

    Beyond the orchard is quite a long read but it is a good one. By the end I was satisfied that I had all the big answers but the ending did leave me a little sad after learning what happened. I think it was the same for Lucy but it also gave her closure which allowed her to move forward with her life.

  26. Beyond the orchard by Anna Romer

    Well well what an amazing and engrossing read!

    This story goes from one chapter to the another telling the 2 stories from different times (one of lucy and 1 of her grandparents) but this was not confusing and only added to the beauty and mysteryof the story! It really lures you in because you just cant wait to read what happens next but in reading the next chapter you get distracted along the way

    The only negative I found was that (and it may just be the copy I got) every second page seemed to be double printed, each word was printed again a few millimeters higher so it appeared the words had a shadow. Made it quite challenging and lengthy to read

    Thankyou beauty and Lace I thoroughly enjoyed this book and cant wait to Read others from Anna Romer

  27. I really enjoyed this book. It was haunting and endearing.
    Lucy is engaged to her Fiancé whom she met in London after leaving Australia rather abruptly. She thought her life was planned but then receives a call from her grandfather to return home.
    She does so but her grandfather passes and leaves Bitterwood estate to his son, Lucys father. As he is in hospital, he asks Lucy to go back to the estate with so many memories to find a photo album.
    This is the start of the hauntingly intriguing story. She uncovers many things about her past and sometimes struggles to work some things out, but her grandfather is not there to answer questions she has. She is determined to find out, and try to make sense and peace with it all.
    It was a pleasure to read and as I read it I thought I had worked parts out only to double question what I had read.

  28. Beyond the orchard is quite good book to read .Lucy Briar 26 is the main character, who is called back from London after five years of living there with her fiance Adam. Her search into her past starts when her grandfather dies. The book holds a lot of intrigue when she finds out about her family’s past. the story seemed to point at a particular thing happening but then it turns out it was something else…not everything is as it appears .
    The tragic events of the past, the heartbreak and fragile nature of love that are built on secrets and betrayals make this book an emotional roller coaster but one I couldn’t put down.

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