With deep realism and authenticity, award winning author Heidi Chiavaroli takes readers to the post-Civil War era in Massachusetts in her latest novel, The Orchard House. This time-slip novel follows the historical storyline of Johanna Suhre, who is taking care of Louisa May Alcott’s parents in their home, and the present-day storyline of thirty-seven-year-old Taylor Bennett, who struggled for years to fit in and suffered heartbreaking betrayal from her adoptive family. Readers also are given further insight into Taylor’s life with scenes from her teenage years in the contemporary storyline. Both storylines come together in a satisfying resolution which allows for forgiveness and hope for the future.
Heidi Chiavaroli is known for writing incredible time-slip novels that tackle difficult topics while, at the same time, drawing readers closer to their faith. Topics of domestic abuse and doubts of self-worth are addressed in both storylines. Even though I have never read Little Women and was not particularly familiar with Louisa May Alcott, since Heidi Chiavaroli wrote The Orchard House, I knew I had to read this book!
Heidi Chiavaroli always writes extremely captivating tales in both her historical and contemporary storylines, but this time, her contemporary storyline absolutely blew me away. I was completely mesmerized by the contemporary storyline and could not wait to read more of Taylor’s story.
The Orchard House is highly recommended for fans of historical fiction, women’s fiction, and readers who enjoy time-slip novels.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers and was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine. Inkwell Faith Content Rating (2.5) – Moderate
Two women, one living in present day Massachusetts and another in Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House soon after the Civil War, overcome their own personal demons and search for a place to belong.
Abandoned by her own family, Taylor is determined not to mess up her chance at joining the home of her best friend, Victoria Bennett. But despite attending summer camp at Louisa May Alcott’s historic Orchard House with Victoria and sharing dreams of becoming famous authors, Taylor struggles to fit in. As she enters college and begins dating, it feels like Taylor is finally finding her place and some stability . . . until Victoria’s betrayal changes everything.
While Louisa May Alcott is off traveling the world, Johanna Suhre accepts a job tending Louisa’s aging parents and their home in Concord. Soon after arriving at Orchard House, Johanna meets Nathan Bancroft and, ignoring Louisa’s words of caution, falls in love and accepts Nathan’s proposal. But before long, Johanna experiences her husband’s dark side, and she can’t hide the bruises that appear.
After receiving news of Lorraine Bennett’s cancer diagnosis, Taylor knows she must return home to see her adoptive mother again. Now a successful author, Taylor is determined to spend little time in Concord. Yet she becomes drawn into the story of a woman who lived there centuries before. And through her story, Taylor may just find forgiveness and a place to belong.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Heidi Chiavaroli (pronounced shev-uh-roli . . . sort of like Chevrolet and ravioli mushed together) wrote her first story in third grade, titled I'd Cross the Desert for Milk. It wasn't until years later that she revisited writing, using her two small boys' nap times to pursue what she thought at the time was a foolish dream. Despite a long road to publication, she hasn't stopped writing since!
Heidi writes women's fiction, combining her love of history and literature to write split-time stories. Her debut novel, Freedom's Ring, was a Carol Award winner and a Christy Award finalist, a Romantic Times Top Pick and a Booklist Top Ten Romance Debut. Heidi loves exploring places that whisper of historical secrets, especially with her family. She loves running, hiking, baking, and dates with her husband. Heidi makes her home in Massachusetts with her husband and two sons. Visit her online at heidichiavaroli.com.