The Orchard

Author: Jeffery Stepakoff
ISBN: 978-0312581596
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books

Penned by Jeffery Stepakoff, the writer and co-producer of the drama series Dawson’s Creek, The Orchard is a heartwarming story primarily set in a lush orchard (hence the name) in the atmospheric locales of Georgia. In The Orchard, with his graceful eloquence, Stepakoff weaves a seamless love story that is both delectable and thoroughly enjoyable.

As the rising star and the ultimate career girl who develops aromas and tastes for a major Atlanta-based company, Grace Lyndon’s world is dominated by perfumes and flavors. She leads an independent life, spending all her energy to develop exclusive scents and flavors extracted from all over the world. While she has no man in her life Grace evades going on dates set up by her friends. She has no qualms about being single largely due to the fact that she is committed to her passion – her job. Besides, she hardly ever has the time.

When Grace picks up and tastes an exquisite apple, she falls in love with the flavor from the first bite. Determined to track down the apple’s origin, Grace sets off at night on a journey that brings her to a lush orchard which belongs to Dylan Jackson, a widowed single father. Dylan is still silently suffering from the loss of her loving wife. Since his wife’s demise, Dylan has dedicated his life’s work on raising his feisty kid named Carter and tending to his North Georgia apple farm.

After their rather dramatic first meeting, Grace and Dylan become fast friends conspicuously ignoring the sparks felt by each other’s presence. Gradually, the bond between Grace and Dylan develops into a rather fragile relationship with Grace tied up to her career and Dylan chained to his past and the memories of his wife.

With its beautifully constructed plot, this novel will win you over on many levels. The Orchard is mainly a character-driven story in which a large part has been invested to develop the protagonists. The appealing heroine is one of them. Grace Lyndon is the kind of character you could easily become friends with. Dylan Jackson, as the charming hero, is equally likeable. But the real character who will steal your heart is the lively Carter.

The highpoint of this feel-good novel lies in its succinct writing which in turn makes it an easy read. The Orchard is also the perfect read to gift for your better half. All in all, The Orchard is a highly satisfying novel that spells out the perfect Southern love story. Keep your apples ready as you devour this scrumptious bite of a novel.

Jeffery Stepakoff has written for more than a dozen different television series, including the Emmy-winning The Wonder Years, Sisters. Author of the acclaimed novel, Fireworks Over Toccoa, he has also developed and written plays, TV pilots and major motion pictures, including Disney’s Tarzan and Brother Bear.

Reviewed for by Hamdhoon Rashad