Book Review

by Paula Wall

Genre: Historical Romance, Historical Fiction

2005 Historical Fiction Nominee

Message from the Author

RT Rating

The Belle women are celebrities in the small
town of Leaper's Fork,
Tennessee. Stubborn Charlotte Belle is the matriarch of their unconventional
family, which consists of her, her warmhearted niece, Angela, and Angela's young illegitimate daughter, Dixie. They are richer, more beautiful and more full of life than anyone else, and their neighbors never know whether to be appalled or delighted by their sexual antics.

One of those neighbors is Adam Montgomery, the East Coast doctor-
next-door who's just married the
"perfect" Lydia but can't get Angela
out of his mind. For her part, Lydia's chill is only warmed by handyman Boone Dickson.

And then there's Thomas Jones,
the new Baptist preacher who's been shouting from the pulpit about love
ever since his nocturnal encounter
with Charlotte in a cemetery. Class,
habit and a world war all stand in
the way of these characters' finding
their hearts' desires, but watching
them flounder is just as much fun.

Wall does a first-rate job of bringing dozens of characters—from a bevy of Boston bluebloods to an African-American teacher from Philadelphia to the stock boy at the local diner—to life with just a few spot-on phrases. Her wit and humor liberally spice this stew
of sensuality, heartbreak and good,
old-fashioned storytelling.

Alternately winsome, funny and
heartfelt, The Rock Orchard is an
accomplished debut from a talented author who deserves enormous
popularity. (Jan., 256 pp., $24.00)

Reviewed By: Caroline McAddams

Publisher: Atria

Published: January 2005

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