“This is a glorious book—lyrical, honest, compassionate, and wise. It reminds us that gardens and families are messy businesses, but from them we can harvest hope and food and moments of grace.”
—Erica Bauermeister, author of The School of Essential Ingredients
“With buoyant grace and empathic insights, Weaver offers an ardent tribute to both the science of perseverance and the art of letting go.”
“Filled with sensuous descriptions, this beguiling story enchants. Gardeners and non-gardeners alike will delight in this lyrical tale of how a garden grows a family.”
—Diana Abu-Jaber, author of The Language of Baklava and Birds of Paradise
“Mothers and daughters everywhere will recognize their own lives in this heartbreaking and heartwarming journey. A moving, insightful reminder to never give up on a family…or a garden.”
—Rebekah Denn, Seattle Times
“Orchard House is a glorious and deeply moving story of one family’s redemption quite literally from the ground up, and how the very act of working an overgrown, wild garden—with invasive vines and painful thorns that threaten to smother and tear—resulted in the fruits of peace and healing. If Anne Lamott and Wendell Berry ever had a literary lovechild, Tara Austen Weaver might well be her.”
—Elissa Altman, author of Poor Man’s Feast: A Love Story of Comfort, Desire and The Art of Simple Cooking
“Orchard House is an honest portrayal of the thorny process of mending a broken family; like coaxing a neglected garden into full fruit, the process is painful yet offers moments of sweet redemption. Weaver’s prose—especially when talking food—sings.”
—Novella Carpenter, author of Farm City and Gone Feral
From Kirkus Reviews:
When Edible Seattle editor Weaver (The Butcher and the Vegetarian, 2010, etc.) and her mother first found an overgrown half-acre of garden in a quiet neighborhood, they didn’t see the work required to turn the chaos into a cultivated garden. They only saw the potential, feeling a sense of magic as they stood among the huge rhododendrons and blackberry vines laden with berries. Some of Weaver’s best memories from her childhood involved a garden, her mother, and fresh tomatoes and ripe strawberries, and she hoped those brief moments of happiness and togetherness might reappear in this new garden and orchard. Strong descriptions of the numerous vegetable plants and fruit trees Weaver planted and the work involved to reclaim this neglected oasis intermingle with her personal reflections on her childhood, her longings for a solid family life and the desire for a community of friends. Lyrical passages recount the joyous moments Weaver shared with her nieces and nephews, brief passages of time that took her breath away at the beauty of it all—when the light hit at just the right angle or when her nieces shouted with glee, their faces and hands smeared with berry juice. Her anxiety, frustration and weariness also play an integral part in this narrative, as she continued to learn that gardening is not an exact science. Nature has its own moods and quirks as much as any human, and she had to learn to be flexible and adapt or break in the process. The result was an abundance of harvests—of food, friendship and love.
Honest and moving, one woman’s initiation into intensive gardening with her mother, which changed a neglected space into something beautiful and bountiful and shifted their relationship as well.