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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Review: The Orchid House by Lucinda Riley

Title: The Orchid House
Author: Lucinda Riley
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Atria
Publish Date: February 14, 2012
Source: I received a copy from the publisher. This did not affect my review.

Why You're Reading This Book:
  • You're a historical fiction fan.
  • You like interesting settings.
What's the Story?:

From "As a child Julia Forrester spent many idyllic hours in the hothouse of Wharton Park, the great house where her grandfather tended exotic orchids. Years later, while struggling with overwhelming grief over the death of her husband and young child, she returns to the tranquility of the estate. There she reunites with Kit Crawford, heir to the estate and her possible salvation.

When they discover an old diary, Julia seeks out her grandmother to learn the truth behind a love affair that almost destroyed Wharton Park. Their search takes them back to the 1930s when a former heir to Wharton Park married his young society bride on the eve of World War II. When the two lovers are cruelly separated, the impact will be felt on generations to come."

My Two Cents:

On the whole, I really liked this book. I questioned a couple things (I'll get into that) but as a whole, I really liked this historical fiction book.

Julia has just suffered a great loss in her life and has gone back to see her grandmother who begins telling her stories of the people who once lived in a great house where Julia's grandmother worked. As with many of these stories that take place in two time periods, I liked the old one a lot better.

I loved seeing how the mystery of Julia's family came together. The historical part of the book takes place during World War II in both England and Thailand. I liked how the story was told by Julia's grandmother as sort of an omniscient point of view. The part of the story set in Thailand was definitely my favorite. It's a love story between two people who deeply care for each other and holds the secret to Julia's existence.

Now here's where I had some issues with the book. I had some trouble understanding the motives behind some of the characters. First, Henry, the heir to Wharton House, is sort of horrible. He leads Olivia on and traps her in a loveless marriage and only seems to be looking out for himself. He doesn't seem to understand why what he's doing is wrong and he sort of manipulates Julia's grandfather to get what he wants. Even though I liked the love story between Henry and Lidia, it made it a little hard to fully support their love story as Henry was just generally horrible.

The other issue that I had was everything that happened with Julia's personal life. I don't want to give anything away so excuse me for being vague. First, it just seemed a crazy that it would happen in the first place. I almost wished that it would have been left out of the book because aside from making Julia really sad, I don't think it added anything to the book.

I still really liked this book and would definitely recommend it even with these couple of things that I didn't care for.

Bottom line: This is a great historical fiction!



  1. This one is in my TBR pile, but not sure when I'll get to it. Thanks for the great review.

    1. It's definitely a solid read even with my confusion about some of the things that happen in the book!

  2. I have this one on my tbr list. It seemsother bloggers had a similar reaction towards the book. Thanks for the honest review!

  3. Meg, I felt the exact same way about what happened to Julia towards the end of the book. I found it hard to believe and I do not think it added anything to the book at all.

    1. Yeah, I just was really confused. It sort of took away from the main storyline.

  4. Gaah! Now I want to read it to know what happened to Julia! LOL And the Thailand angle also sounds interesting!

    1. I loved, loved, loved the portion of the book set in Thailand!

  5. I will be reading this one soon, and it sounds like Henry is going to drive me crazy! You've made me curious about Julia's fate.

    1. I can't wait to see what you think about it!

  6. I agree with the others that you make me curious about what happens to Julia! I'm kind of curious about Henry as well. This isn't my favorite genre, but you've managed to make me interested in this one. And I like this cover. :)

    1. The writing still makes it worth the read even if I had a little confusion.

  7. I get frustrated when I don't really believe or understand the motives either!


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