Mini Book Review: Instructions for a Heatwave & The Orchardist

I just finished two good books, Instructions for a Heatwave by Maggie O’Farrell and The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin. Oddly, however, they both had unsatisfying endings, leaving me wanting more.

Instructions for a Heatwave follows an Irish family living in England in 1973. It begins the morning the husband goes out for the morning newspaper and doesn’t return. His disappearance and its aftermath forces his grown children and their mother to confront the secrets they have been hiding for their entire lives. It was very, very good, but the ending comes abruptly, and left me wanting more — to find out what happened next.

The Orchardist is also excellent, although a very different book. Set in the end of the nineteenth century and beginning of the twentieth in central Washington state, it is about a a man who lives alone in his apple and apricot orchard and what happens after he allows two runaway pregnant teenage girls to stay on his property. Hunted by a man who would take them back to his brothel, they are desperate not to return there. A powerful book, the ending was somehow unsatisfying and seemed a little hurried. I wish the author had expanded a little bit on what happened to the main characters after the main part of the story was over.

All in all, I enjoyed these two books very much. Four out of five stars for both of them.

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