BOOK CLUB: The Orchardist’s Daughter

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Author: Karen Viggers
ISBN: 9781760630584
RRP: $29.99
Publication Date:
February 2019
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Copy: Courtesy of the Publisher

Karen Viggers is an author who is new to me but the cover of The Orchardist’s Daughter captured my attention so we got it on the Book Club list and a selection of members have been reading the book. I look forward to their thoughts while I wait for the opportunity to pick this one up.


Synopsis from the Publisher’s Website:

Sixteen-year-old Mikaela has grown up isolated and homeschooled on an apple orchard in southeastern Tasmania, until an unexpected event shatters her family. Eighteen months later, she and her older brother Kurt are running a small business in a timber town. Miki longs to make connections and spend more time in her beloved forest, but she is kept a virtual prisoner by Kurt, who leads a secret life of his own.

When Miki meets Leon, another outsider, things slowly begin to change. But the power to stand up for yourself must come from within. And Miki has to fight to uncover the truth of her past and discover her strength and spirit.

Set in the old-growth eucalypt forests and vast rugged mountains of southern Tasmania, The Orchardist’s Daughter is an uplifting story about friendship, resilience and finding the courage to break free.

The Orchardist’s Daughter is published by Allen & Unwin and is available now where all good books are sold.

Thanks to Allen & Unwin 10 of our Beauty and Lace Club members will be reading The Orchardist’s Daughter so please be aware there may be spoilers in the comments below.

11 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: The Orchardist’s Daughter

  1. Have just finished The Orchardist’s Daughter. Have mixed feelings about this one. Overall it was a good read but I was not happy at all with the ending. Without any spoilers I’m hoping Karen Viggers next book or one in the near future will help finish the story. It has left me with many what ifs. But otherwise I quite enjoyed it.

  2. The book has not turned up yet! I borrowed a copy from a friend. Great read set in Tasmania. I seem to be reading a lot of books set in Tasmania lately and have enjoyed them all. Need to go there! It’s a story about a small logging town and all the politics involved in that. We have the clash between logging and conservation, The main characters come from dysfunctional but very different backgrounds and their struggle to break free, fit in and find happiness make for a wonderful read.

  3. Thank you for the opportunity to read The Orchardist’s Daughter by Karen Viggers.

    This was a wonderfully descriptive book set in Tasmania. I felt like I was there amongst the foliage and in the small town. It is the story of Miki and her brother Kurt. They run the takeaway shop and when not working their only life is in the forests nearby. Kurt has a day a week out on his own, but does not let his sister do the same.

    When Leon arrives in town he is trying to find his way and fit in in town. This seems hard as everyone is quite closed to outsiders. I love the descriptions of how their lives unfold and slowly change. It was an unreal situation to most, but told in a relatable way. It brought up the difficulties of loggers and conservationists having to be together and negotiate a way forward.

    The book was dramatic and I would really like a follow-up to see what happens next. A wonderful, thought provoking Australian read.

  4. Thanks beauty and lace! Another great bookclub read,
    Based in Tasmania an easy to read story about a brother and sister both trying to cope.
    I love the way it brought together old school issues and new age issues in the one story, really makes you stop and think! It also is one those stories you can really disgust a character!
    Really really enjoyed this book Definately worth the read!

  5. I must say That I found the Orchardists daughter A little bit hard to get into at first, the characters felt a little flat , but as I got to know them I found I couldn’t put the book down ….

    There are three main characters in this book Miki who has a brother Kurt that locks her in their home when he goes out for the day , she has been so dominated by her brother that she has trouble seeing that what he is doing is wrong and controlling ..

    Leon the Park ranger from Bruny island ( he was in The light Keepers Wife another great book ) who is new in town and is trying to fit in, this is going to be hard in a town full of loggers that hate park rangers

    Then there’s Max a ten year old boy who loves his dog but is getting bullied constantly at school .

    I love the way the author portrays Max he’s constantly trying to rationalize and understand the way adults think which really doesn’t make a lot of sense to a 10 year old “why should he clean his room if it’s going to get dirty again?” Max is my favourite.

    As the story develops and the main characters cross paths and get to know one another the underlying problems of the town, which is domestic abuse, the fear of job loss and bullying come to the fore. This is when the community start to see the need to support one another…I’ll give this book a three and a half stars.

    Thank you to beauty and Lace

  6. The Orchardist’s Daughter is a lovely story that is beautifully told.

    Set in Tasmania, this is the story of Miki who after tragic circumstances is virtually held prisoner by her overly protective older brother, Kurt. Leon is a park ranger who is new to the neighbourhood and as an outsider, tries very hard to fit in with the locals who, being loggers, give Leon a very hard time. Then there’s Max, a young boy who is bullied by his friend’s big brother.

    Karen Viggers has written a very interesting story and I was eager to find out what would happen to each of the characters. She touches on topics such as domestic abuse, logging in a small town, friendship, standing up for yourself, bullying and community togetherness in times of need. Her great descriptive words helped me imagine and feel the forest and mountain ranges come alive. I also enjoyed learning more about each character and especially loved the way Karen allowed the reader to experience Max’s perspective.

    Thank you Beauty and Lace for the opportunity to read and review this book. It’s not a favourite, but definitely one I would recommend.,

  7. Thankyou Beauty and Lace and Allen and Unwin for giving me the opportunity to read and review The Orchardist’s Daughter.
    I really enjoyed reading this book as it was well written and quite original with an interesting story.
    The characters though some quite dysfunctional were believable.
    Set in the beautiful scenery of Tasmania we follow the lives of Miki, Kurt and Leon and learn about life in a small logging town, looking at the issues of ‘fitting in’ in a small community, conflict between conservationists and loggers and also of bullying and domestic violence.
    The struggle to overcome these issues and to find happiness make for an interesting and thought provoking read.
    I loved the jacket cover photo too. It definitely caught my eye when choosing the book.
    I would recommend this book to others and look forward to reading more books by Karen Viggers.

  8. Thanks to Beauty and Lace Bookclub and Allen & Unwin for a copy in return for an honest review.

    Whilst I really enjoyed this story, it wasn’t what I was expecting, I’m not sure what I was expecting exactly, but it wasn’t the story I got.

    This was a story about belonging and finding out where you fit in the world, it was a story about bullying, childhood bullying and adult bullying including physical and mental abuse from family. It was a story about our fragile and beautiful environment, flora and fauna.

    It was a powerful story, Karen Viggers shows her love for the environment throughout, making us aware of the many impacts we are having upon this fragile ecosystem.

    Through Miki’s love of the Tasmanian Devil, she has befriended at the tip and through Leon and scientist Dale we learn about the tumours that are wiping out the devil population and what scientists are trying to do to combat this disease.

    Logging, especially of old-growth forests has always been something that has baffled me and this is another subject tackled in this novel. Our governments have much to answer for in the destruction of our forests, forests we can never replace. The Wedge-tailed Eagle is another being that is impacted by the destruction of the forests. It isn’t just one species of anything that is impacted, everything is connected and everything is impacted when we destroy any part of the environment.

    The three main characters in this novel are all struggling to find their place. Miki has been isolated all her life, first by her parents and then by her brother Kurt. This aspect of the story really affected me for some reason. I found it hard to understand how her family could do this to her and how Miki, up until now, had gone along with the limits placed upon her, it made me angry and uncomfortable. What Kurt did was nothing short of abuse and abuse in any form should not be tolerated, the people in the town, by ignoring what was going on, were essentially condoning this behaviour. This wasn’t the only behaviour and abuse the town continually ignored, condoning domestic abuse and bullying at every turn.  We need to start speaking up for those who can’t.

    Newcomer Leon’s presence in the town is the catalyst for many changes, including people opening their eyes to their behaviour. Leon was a lovely and genuine character who I was rooting for throughout. His neighbour, a young boy called Max is struggling with a dysfunctional family, an abusive father, and a school bully, Leon becomes his saviour, someone he can count on and trust.

    As these three people impact each other and start to learn about who they are, what they want out of life and what they deserve, changes are on the way and secrets will be uncovered.I think for me, I would have liked a bit more of an emotional connection between the characters, I felt that though they were connected on some level, the lack of emotional connection didn’t draw me into the story as I would have liked. 

    A well written story, that explores important issues.

  9. Thank you for the opportunity to read this book. Unfortunately, I really did not enjoy this book at all. It was oppressive and made me very uncomfortable. I actually could not finish it. I did read half of it, and maybe it improves as it goes on but I found it a very difficult read.

  10. Sorry for the late review on this as sadly my book got lost in the mail however, I am so glad I waited for a new copy to arrive. I loved, loved, loved this book so much! I was captivated from the beginning to the end, so much, that I just wanted it to keep going. I almost want there to be a second book as there are so many things I would love to know ‘what happened next’ but that might also be the beauty of the story and perhaps it finished exactly where it needed too.
    The story follows 3 main characters Mikaela (Miki), Leon and Max. They slowly become entwined through the book but are definitely stand alone characters that I loved equally. Karen Viggers describes her characters beautifully and I could picture them and their little town and community so well. There were also so many different topics she touches on from many environmental issues to domestic violence and bullying that it was incredibly sad and at times made reading uncomfortable but I think that also reading that there are some good people out there trying to do the right thing drew me in even more. The story line was very relatable, a tiny Tasmanian community doing it tough but still managing to come together at times of need plus covering such current hot topics I could not get enough.
    Thank you so very much Beauty & Lace and to Allen & Unwin on a fantastic read. I am hunting down Karen Viggers’ other books immediately.

  11. The Orchardist’s Daughter, by Karen Viggers, was a wonderful surprise. While the book incorporates some disturbing themes, it was a delight to read because of the author’s ability to create well-rounded and believable characters. The book centres around three main characters – Miki, a young woman who is at the mercy of her older brother; Leon, a new arrival whose presence in town is not welcomed by some townsfolk; and Max, a young boy with a challenging family and school life. Each character has his or her unique history and story, however there are overlapping themes among them. Viggers beautifully explores these themes through the journeys of each of the main characters, while also highlighting the uplifting and positive elements that allow each individual to remain strong. I particularly appreciated the depiction of minor characters within the book, with the author seeming to honour the role and story of every single character. I felt as though I could picture each person mentioned.

    Thank you to Beauty & Lace and Allen & Unwin for the opportunity to read The Orchardist’s Daughter. I had no idea what to expect when this book arrived, but I’m so glad that I was able to discover this beautiful story. I have been left to ponder a number of unanswered questions, but I don’t feel that these detract from the ending of the story, rather adding to the authenticity of the book. After all, isn’t “real life” full of unanswered questions?

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