The Orchard by Theresa Weir
Grand Central • $24.99 • published September 21, 2011

Ever since reading the first paragraph of Kelly Blewett's review of The Orchard, I have wanted to read this memoir. Here's the part that caught my eye:

Theresa Weir, better known as prolific suspense writer Anne Frasier, admits she received a lukewarm reception when she approached her publishing contacts about her latest book idea. “They wanted thrillers, Anne Frasier books,” she explains in the acknowledgements. Instead, Weir offers readers a heartfelt story about her own life. In fact, though the book is categorized as a memoir, the recognizably gothic feel of the descriptions and the suspense-filled plot, as well as the extensive disclaimer in the opening pages, make it clear this finely wrought story portrays a particular, and partly fictionalized, perspective.

The story is about what happens when Weir falls in love with Adrian Curtis, moves to his family's orchard and discovers the tragic consequences of pesticide use. This is a sad and remarkable journey that's also a page-turner. Here's an excerpt from the beginning, soon after Weir meets Curtis:
"Come live with me."

Had I heard right? I had a buzz going, and maybe the roar in my head had distorted his words.

"There's a house on the farm that's supposed to be for me." He took a drag from his cigarette. The tip glowed, and I could briefly see his face, his eyes squinted against the smoke. "It's tiny. Originally built for apple pickers."

Everything shifted.

What I had known as my life changed in a matter of seconds. Like finding out you'd put a puzzle together all wrong. I dumped the pieces and began reconstructing, creating a completely new picture.

Did he mean what he was saying, or was it something he wouldn't give any thought to, come morning?

I didn't want him to think this was what I'd been angling for, because it wasn't. "Move in together . . . Wow. I don't know . . ." My response was cautious with a touch of disinterest.

"Not move in together. Get married. We'd have to get married."

If we hadn't been the only two people there, I would have looked over my shoulder to see if he was talking to someone else. Married. We'd barely just met. "You're drunk." I held my breath.

"Not that drunk."

Do you want to read The Orchard? What are you reading today?

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