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The Orchard: A Memoir (Europe and Overseas)

“Not since Jane Smiley’s A Thousand Acres has there been so enrapturing a family drama percolating out from the back forty.”

In this bestselling, critically acclaimed memoir, Anne Frasier shares the deeply moving and personal story of her years on an apple farm. The Orchard is the story of a street-smart city girl who must adapt to a new life on an apple farm after she falls in love with Adrian Curtis, the golden boy of a prominent local family whose lives and orchards seem to be cursed. Married after only three months, young Anne finds life with Adrian on the farm far more difficult and dangerous than she expected. Rejected by her husband’s family as an outsider, she slowly learns for herself about the isolated world of farming, pesticides, environmental destruction, and death, even as she falls more deeply in love with her husband, a man she at first hardly knew. When the increasingly dangerous chemicals used on farms begin to take a toll on the land and the people who tend it, the couple’s fragile love will be tested as she and Adrian struggle to defend ground that has been in his family for generations. An unforgettable story of struggle, resilience, and love in the American heartland, The Orchard will change the way you think about farmers and family.


"The Orchard is a lovely book in all the ways that really matter, one of those rare and wonderful memoirs in which people you’ve never met become your friends. I read it in a single sitting, lost in the story, and by the time I put it down, I was amazed by the author’s ability to evoke such genuine emotion. Read it: you’ll be glad you did."

—Nicholas Sparks:

"A hypnotic tale of place, people, and of Midwestern family roots that run deep, stubbornly hidden, and equally menacing—The Orchard is sublime and enchanting, like a reflecting pool. Touch the surface and watch the ripples carry you away."

—Jamie Ford, New York Times bestselling author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

"While reading this extraordinarily moving memoir, I kept remembering the last two lines of Muriel Rukeyser’s poem “Kathe Kollwitz” (“What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? The world would split open”), for [Frasier] proffers a worldview that is at once eloquent, sincere, and searing."

—Librarians’ Best Books of the Year

"Eerie and atmospheric, this is an indie movie in print. You’ll read and read to see where it is going, although it’s clear early on that the future is not going to be kind to anyone involved. [Frasier’s] story is more proof that only love can break your heart."

—Library JournaI

"This poignant memoir of love, labor, and dangerous pesticides reveals the terrible true price."

—O, The Oprah Magazine Fall Read

"...equal parts moving love story and environmental warning."

—B+ Featured Review in Entertainment Weekly

"...a gripping account of divided loyalties, the real cost of farming and the shattered people on the front lines. Not since Jane Smiley’s A Thousand Acres has there been so enrapturing a family drama percolating out from the back forty."


"A poignant and merciless memoir that portrays a pivotal moment in American farming...Her prose is efficient and, in very few words, evokes feelings that linger long after the book is finished."

—Roanoke Times

"This memoir is viscera encapsulated, of young, passionate love and shattering tragedy around the corner, of a horrible childhood redeemed by motherhood and literary output in secret, of not fitting in until you make everything fit you... One of the favorite books of the year."

—Publishers Lunch

"A finely wrought story... In such unforgiving soil, [Frasier’s] growth over the years is remarkable. She raises two children, nurtures her marriage and comes into her own as a writer. Her journey, at times lonely and sad, is ultimately triumphant. Readers will be glad she found a home for this brave book."