Skip to main content
Displaying 1 of 1
The orchardist
Please select and request a specific volume by clicking one of the icons in the 'Find It' section below.
Find It
Fiction/Biography Profile
Talmadge (Male), Farmer, Recluse, Lone survivor of a homestead family; settled in rural Washington and expanded an apple and apricot orchard; spends his days planting and maintaining trees; sells fruit in town; becomes protective of two pregnant girls who are living in the woods on his property
Family relationships
Family tragedy
American West
Washington - West (U.S.)
- Pacific Northwest (U.S.)
Time Period
-- 20th century
Large Cover Image
Trade Reviews

  Library Journal Review

Coplin's compelling, well-crafted debut tracks the growing obsession of orchardist William Talmadge, who has lived at the foothills of the Cascade Mountains since the summer of 1857, when he was nine. A loner shaped by the land he loves, Talmadge has carefully tended his orchard for nearly 50 years. His only real confidante is Caroline Middey, an herbalist, midwife, and natural healer. His orderly life is altered forever when two runaway girls, Jane and Della, arrive at the edge of his orchard, dirty, starving, and pregnant. A tragedy leaves Talmadge caring for Jane's baby, Angelene. Della has no interest in childcare or boring fruit picking and soon takes off with the horse wranglers who visit Talmadge's field every spring. Talmadge cannot accept Della's desire to leave the orchard, which in his mind strangely parallels the disappearance of his sister Elsbeth when they were children. Still tortured by Elsbeth's unexplained disappearance, he attempts to help Della in a way he couldn't help his sister, but this obsession leads Talmadge into increasingly dark terrain. VERDICT Coplin's lyrical style and forceful storytelling provide many unexpected twists before the poignant conclusion. A breathtaking work from a genuinely accomplished writer.-Donna Bettencourt, Mesa Cty. P.L., Grand Junction, CO (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

  Publishers Weekly Review

The implacable hand of fate, and the efforts of a quiet, reclusive man to reclaim two young sisters from their harrowing past, are the major forces at play in this immensely affecting first novel. In a verdant valley in the Pacific Northwest during the early years of the 20th century, middle-aged Talmadge tends his orchards of plum, apricot, and apples, content with his solitary life and the seasonal changes of the landscape he loves. Two barely pubescent sisters, Jane and Della, both pregnant by an opium-addicted, violent brothel owner from whom they have escaped, touch Talmadge's otherwise stoic heart, and he shelters and protects them until the arrival of the girls' pursuers precipitates tragic consequences. Talmadge is left with one of the sisters, the baby daughter of the other, and an ardent wish to bring harmony to the lives entrusted to his care. Coplin relates the story with appropriate restraint, given Talmadge's reserved personality, and yet manages to evoke a world where the effects of two dramatic losses play out within a strikingly beautiful natural landscape. In contrast to the brothel owner, Michaelson, the other characters in Talmadge's community-an insightful, pragmatic midwife; a sensitive Nez Perce horse trader; a kindly judge-conduct their lives with dignity and wisdom. When Della fails to transcend the psychological trauma she's endured, and becomes determined to wreak revenge on Michaelson, Talmadge turns unlikely hero, ready to sacrifice his freedom to save her. But no miracles occur, as Coplin refuses to sentimentalize. Instead, she demonstrates that courage and compassion can transform unremarkable lives and redeem damaged souls. In the end, "three graves [lie] side by side," yet this eloquent, moving novel concludes on a note of affirmation. Agent: Bill Clegg, WME Entertainment. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
<p>At once intimate and epic, The Orchardist is historical fiction at its best, in the grand literary tradition of William Faulkner, Marilynne Robinson, Michael Ondaatje, Annie Proulx, and Toni Morrison.</p> <p>In her stunningly original and haunting debut novel, Amanda Coplin evokes a powerful sense of place, mixing tenderness and violence as she spins an engrossing tale of a solitary orchardist who provides shelter to two runaway teenage girls in the untamed American West, and the dramatic consequences of his actions. </p>
Librarian's View
Displaying 1 of 1