Message From The Author

Susan Wiggs

Genre: General Contemporary Romance, Contemporary Romance

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Author's Message

I read an article the other day in The New York Times called, “Is There Life After Work?” It’s about the sometimes unhealthy imbalance between life and work, and it could have been written by Tess Delaney, the main character in The Apple Orchard. Well, except that she’s not a real person and she’s not a writer. 

Her job is much more interesting. She’s a treasure hunter. Until I started working on this book, I had no idea there were people whose job it is to track down the provenance of an art treasure. But for Tess, it’s more than a job. It’s her life. 

And this is the heart of the problem. She’s been swallowed up by work — the constant travel, the meetings, the emails, the deadlines…and when we first encounter her (smartphone in one hand, powdered donut clamped between her teeth as she rushes to a meeting, we get the sense that she’s a life-support system for a work-bot. 

It was inspiring for me to tell the story of a young woman who has lost herself and is in danger of disconnecting from the things that matter most — the richness of relationships. But sometimes it takes a major roadblock to slow a driven person down. For Tess, it’s the drama of a mysterious stranger showing up and introducing her to a family she never knew, and a place so removed from her big-city existence that it seems like another world entirely. 

Tess’s journey is the wake-up call we all need, the one that tells us to slow down, to be still and listen to our own hearts, to savor the moments that take our breath away and to reconnect with our best, most hopeful selves. 

One of my favorite ways of slowing Tess down was to tap into the “slow food” movement. She learns to savor food in the same way she’s learning to savor life — slowly, and with complete enjoyment. The Apple Orchard features the occasional recipe to bring the fictional setting to life. This one didn’t make the cut, but it’s really easy and delicious:

Berries with Romanov Sauce

1 cup whipped cream, whipped

1 cup Greek yoghurt

½ cup powdered sugar

2 tablespoons liqueur, such as Frangelico or Grand Marnier

Combine all ingredients to create a smooth sauce. Spoon over chilled berries, any variety or a combination. Top with maple granola and serve with Earl Grey French Blue tea from Mariage Frères.

- Susan Wiggs

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