We owe it to each other to tell stories - Neil Gaiman

Friday, 10 February 2012

The Orchid House - Lucinda Riley

Title: The Orchid House

Author: Lucinda Riley

Date of Release: 14 February 2012

Publisher: Simon & Schuster, Inc.

Imprint: Atria Books

ISBN: 9781451655780

Source: advanced ecopy from Netgalley

The Synopsis:

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.

Side note:

Before I start my review, I would just like to say how much this book has reminded me of The Legacy by Katherine Webb. So if you are really into this, then The Legacy is definitely a book to look out for too. The Orchid House is a re-release with a new name of Hothouse Flower - the UK version.

Original vs Remake or in this case Re-Release

Now for a bit of a debate before getting into the review. As a South African - one's allegiance is always split between the Americans and the Brits. But being one with some British blood, I tend to be on the side of the Brits. The same duel applies with this book - with Hothouse Flower already having been released, and with The Orchid House still due for release I had to decide: do I buy or do I wait? I decided to buy for 2 reasons.

1. I like the cover of Hothouse Flower better. You can compare them yourself, but after reading it I think you'll agree with me.

2. When you have actually read the book the title Hothouse Flower just makes more sense - though the Orchid House is a worthy title too.

But now, back to business...

The Review:

The Orchid House is one of the best books I have read in a long time. It is marvellously written with amazing descriptions and a story that will leave you hanging on the pages for more. I was absorbed by the pages of this book and I felt as though I were in the tropical climates with Harry. You felt the despair and uncertainty of war with Olivia. You felt Julia's heartache and uncertainty. This book was marvellously written!

This story was very well plotted - with so many climaxes that you cannot put it down. I was very impressed with how well the lead up to each climax progressed - there wasn't just a bang in the story - it truly built up to a great revelation each time. And with all the layers to the story it will give you much to think about when you are finally able to pry yourself from the pages - most likely by the forceful interference of someone who is not reading this book.

The Orchid House is one of those magnificent stories where you feel with your characters - they are well developed and will stay with you long after the story has ended. The mystery and suspense that comes in with the diary gives what is already an interesting story so much more. If you are not enthralled by this book then you cannot be overcome by a book. This story is just so beautiful that I hope every one of you will go out and read it because it will be one of those books that are the greats.

I love this book so much - I have not felt this much emotion for a book since Gone with the Wind. A multi-layered story that all comes back to what you do for love. The betrayals of love and the beauty of love are well examined in this book - a must for all readers. This is a book I think will become a modern classic.

I cannot wait to see what Lucinda Riley has to offer next. You can check out her website by clicking here. Have you read Hothouse Flower or The Orchid House before? What did you think?

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