Pacific Northwest author Susan Wiggs has a long list of best-selling novels that have earned her accolades, awards and the adoration of a legion of fans. In The Apple Orchard, Wiggs begins a new series set in California’s verdant Sonoma Valley, presenting readers with a riveting novel that combines history, romance and suspense.
What if you suddenly learned that everything you thought was true about your life was not, in fact, the whole truth? This is the position that Tess Delaney is placed in when she’s blindsided by a revelation that shatters nearly everything she’s believed about her past.
At 29, Tess has carved out a successful career as a treasure hunter, restoring stolen pieces to their rightful owners. She lives a career-focused life filled with travel, a handful of friends and an apartment in San Francisco, where she rarely spends any time. All of this changes when Dominic Rossi arrives at her office one morning to tell her that her grandfather—whom she didn’t even know existed—has been severely injured. Furthermore, Tess learns that she has a half-sister with whom she now shares responsibility for Bella Vista, a hundred-acre apple orchard in California’s Sonoma County.
Stunned by Dominic’s news, Tess agrees to travel with him to Bella Vista, where she meets her sister, Isabel, who is just as fascinated as Tess by their newly discovered connection. Bella Vista’s rolling green acres are a revelation, representing a slower pace of life that is vastly different from Tess’s fast-track lifestyle in San Francisco.
Tess had only planned on a short visit, but the need to learn more about the family she never knew makes her stay. And then there’s Dominic, whose solid strength, goodness and undeniably rugged good looks are difficult to ignore. The days quickly slide by, and Tess finds herself more entranced by and entangled with her sister, Dominic and Bella Vista.
But there are secrets at Bella Vista. Secrets that stretch back to World War II and her grandfather’s childhood in Denmark. Fortunately for her newly discovered family, Tess is a woman trained to solve mysteries. Her inquiries could bring resolution and happiness to Bella Vista’s residents, but will it mean happiness for Tess, too?
The Apple Orchard is a feast for the senses—rich with fascinating detail about researching provenance for lost treasures and the sumptuous descriptions of fabulous food, accompanied by actual recipes. Readers will fall in love with Tess’s family, the fragrant, vital life-pulse of Bella Vista’s lush acres, and California’s warm golden sunshine. The second book in the Bella Vista series will focus on Tess’s sister, Isabel, a prospect that is sure to have many readers eagerly awaiting their next visit to the luscious Sonoma apple orchard.