Summary from goodreads:
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 Theresa 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 and the land that has been in his family for generations. She becomes a reluctant player in their attempt to keep the codling moth from destroying the orchard, but she and Adrian eventually come to know that their efforts will not only fail but will ultimately take an irreparable toll.
For some reason, I have read several memoirs this year and most of them seem to be pretty depressing. This may be the saddest I read all year.
First of all, Theresa did not have a happy childhood. She was moved from place to place with a mother who had many issues with men and taking care of her children. She is usually living in cities, so when she finally gets away from her mother and out to the country she is surprised, most of all by a young man she quickly falls in love with. Their love story was really beautiful and loving, at least until they were married.
Then she finds out that she has the worst in-laws. They reject her right away and don’t even try to get to know her. They even have him over for dinner while she is preparing them dinner at their own house! I cannot image feeling like that and I can’t imagine how she put up with it!
Of course, it isn’t all about their love, it is also about the horrors of farming at that time, especially at an orchard. I know pesticides are bad, but I never thought of how they would affect the farmers and families who live near those farms, especially before they were tightly regulated. Well, as you probably, guess it was not good. Cancer was more rampant, especially at a younger age.
Sadly, Theresa had to experience that first-hand with her husband. He tried organic farming, but by then it was too late. Their story broke my heart. Her strength through it all did bring hope. And the end is full of hope.
If you think this sounds like an interesting read, it is. But be prepared to be sad.