The Orchard by Theresa Weir – Audiobook Review

The Orchard by Theresa Weir, narrated by Ellen Archer
Published in audio by Hachette Audio, published in print by TK


Theresa Weir had a tough life as a child, and things didn’t really become any easier when she married Adrian Curtis and joined him on his family’s apple farm. Derided as an outsider – particularly by Adrian’s mother – Theresa must struggle to find her place in this world, even as she has significant reservations about the use of pesticides.

Thoughts on the story:

The Orchard had a bit of a slow start, mostly because of the slightly odd timeline. The book is nearly half over before Adrian and Theresa wed, even though they know each other for only a few months before marrying (this portion includes a lot of flashbacks to Theresa’s childhood, which are edifying, but perhaps not enough to justify drawing this part out so much). The second half of the book comprises the entire rest of Theresa and Adrian’s life together, which gives some events a rushed feel. Suddenly, the couple has two children, next thing you know, Theresa is writing a book, and then is a published author. Still, despite what is an initially puzzling timeline, Weir has created a story with power and heart. Both a very personal memoir, and an exploration of the place of pesticides in farming.


Thoughts on the audio production:

Ellen Archer did a wonderful job conveying Weir’s life. For my full audio review, please see my Audiofile Magazine review.


A moving book, very well narrated. Recommended.

Buy this book from:
Powells: Print*
Indiebound: Print*

I’m launching a brand-new meme every Friday! I encourage you to review any audiobooks you review on Fridays and include the link here. If you have reviewed an audiobook earlier in the week, please feel free to link that review as well. Thanks to Pam for creating the button.

Source: Audiofile.
* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.
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The Bucolic Plague by Josh Kilmer-Purcell – Book Review

The Bucolic Plague by Josh Kilmer-Purcell
Published by Harper Books, an imprint of Harper Collins

Josh Kilmer-Purcell, a former drag queen, and his partner Brent, the Dr. Brent of Martha Stewart fame, have a yearly apple-picking tradition. They like to escape New York City, getting far enough away that even the crowds of New Yorkers escaping to the country do not touch their weekend. On one such weekend, Josh and Brent discovered a small town upstate that looked dead but was full of wonderfully friendly people. During their reluctant trip back to the city, they stumbled upon a gorgeous old mansion on a farm.

Here’s another one for the LOVED pile! Not only did I finish “The Bucolic Plague” in a single day, I did so after sitting down with it at 7:30. I read it in a single sitting, so captivated by Kilmer-Purcell, both his story and his writing, that I didn’t put it down again until I finished sometime around midnight, and long after I had planned to go to bed. Okay, that’s not entirely true, I did have to get up to get a drink and stretch my legs once or twice, but I was always drawn immediately back to the book, to soak in life at The Beekman.

“The Bucolic Plague” had everything I look for in a memoir. First of all, there was an interesting story to be told. Two men rushing back and forth from their high-powered Manhattan jobs to their idyllic farm, trying desperately to make it work well enough that they can keep it, but with plenty of conflict and roadblocks along the way – what’s not to love? In addition, Kilmer-Purcell was both funny and honest. He didn’t shy away from talking about trying to market himself and his farm to keep it going. With their new show out, “The Fabulous Beekman Boys,” that could easily have been something that he tried to downplay, but then “The Bucolic Plague” wouldn’t have had the ring of both desperation and truth that it did. I also appreciated that he was able to look relatively objectively at his and Brett’s problems without ever seeming like he was being overly harsh on his partner. He acknowledged that they were both to blame for some of the tension between them and was remarkably even-handed in his analysis.

The chicken report: Chickens weren’t huge stars in “The Bucolic Plague,” but when they did appear, their presence stole the show. One of my favorite scenes in the entire book was the first night that Josh and Brent spent at The Beekman, when they decided to make their first meal in the house with their chickens’ eggs. Unfortunately, nobody had been collecting the eggs and they had no guarantees about how fresh any of the eggs were. And, well, you can imagine the rest (or buy the book and read it for yourself).

I absolutely adored this book, and I think that you will too. I highly recommend it.

Buy this book from:
A local independent bookstore via Indiebound.*

Source: Discovery Communications.
* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.