The House in the Orchard by Elizabeth Brooks

When a widow with a young child inherits a dilapidated, unkept countryside home in England, she accidentally discovers a hidden diary written by the previous owner of the property, her father-in-law, Frank’s sister Maude.

As she begins reading the diary, which was written by a very young Maude during the late 1800’s, she discovers a girl whose life was changed forever by the death of both her parents. Her father dying quite suddenly and her mother due to illness the deaths coming very close together. The lavish life she and her older brother Frank were accustomed to came crashing down as she became an orphan and her brother who was in college certainly unable not take care of her.

She was then parceled out by “the relatives” to a stranger named Mrs. Greenaway who owned an estate called Orchard House. No knowing or understanding the woman’s connection to her family, she desperately tries to like her and fit in. But she finds the house cold and is not quite sure what to make of her new guardian.

Parts of her feel Mrs. Greenaway is trying to take her under her wing and help her, but there is a side of the woman that makes Maude uncomfortable. Maude is put in a situation that she as a child is not really capable of understanding. She begins to snoop a bit and discovers adult secrets her adolescent mind finds confusing.

But when her older brother Frank suddenly comes to visit and seems to take a liking to Mrs. Greenaway, Maude is terribly jealous she will take her brother away from her and petrified at what might happen to her next. She begins to not trust Mrs. Greenaway and believes she wants her to leave.

When the three decide to travel for a few weeks in the summer, Maude believes they are trying to get rid of her. She concocts a plan to make sure Frank and Mrs. Greenaway don’t go away together with her. Instead, she will have her brother all to herself in hopes of making him love her as much as he used to.

But her plan goes terribly wrong, and the three lives will be changed forever. Maude will never be the same and will regret her actions until the day she dies.

The House in the Orchard is a tragic story about a child, too young to understand the complexities of adult life, too embarrassed to ask and sadly with no one she believes she can trust, just a lost soul.

Thank you #NetGalley #TinHouseBooks #ElizabethBrooks #TheHouseintheOrchard for the advanced copy.

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