Cover Image: The Orchard Girls

The Orchard Girls

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Nikola Scott writes wonderfully interwoven dual timeline novels, and this one had me gripped from the first page. The Orchard Girls looks at Frankie and her grandmother Violet in 2004, and looks back to wartime when Violet ran away, changed her name to hide herself from her socialite mother, and became a land girl.

I loved the intrepid nature of Frankie, although wished she didn’t allow herself to be pushed around in her journalistic endeavours, whilst trying to look after Violet, after a decade of estrangement. I felt that the storyline featuring Violet in 2004, when she was clearly experiencing the decline of her memory was written with sensitivity, and was a storyline I could really identify with as I have had family members with dementia.

I loved the storyline set during the war, and felt that it had been researched in depth. The Women’s Land Army ‘land girls’ in general worked very hard, considering the disparaging way many of the locals treated them, and the group of girls in this story were no exception, judged simply because they were land girls. I think this was something I found surprising but then thinking back to every characterisation of land girls on tv that I have seen has shown them in this light, with perhaps looser morals than ‘good girls’.

I loved the way in which the story slowly unfurled to identify what secret was still being hidden in 2004. The descriptions of life in the Land Army were so vivid I felt like I was there with them and it all came to life for me.

There were some dark themes within this story, although they were handled with delicacy. The characters were vibrant and felt very real, which really helped the flow of this compelling story. I particularly loved the character of Marigold. This was such a vibrant story of friendship, and unity in the most extreme of circumstances, and how love and friendship can endure the worst of times, as well as triumphing in the best of times.
Was this review helpful?
"The Orchard Girls" is a novel with duel timelines.  One character, Violet, survives the Blitz and personal tragedy during the fall of 1940, while Violet's granddaughter, Frankie, is living during October 2004. Nicola Scott handles these different timelines with a smooth deftness that works well. It is easy for the reader to jump back and forth between 1940 and 2004. Without giving away any specific plot points, "The Orchard Girls" is a novel  with well-defined interesting characters, who held my attention. The plotting was tight, characterizations were done well, and there was just enough mystery to keep me turning pages in rapid succession. This is the first Nicola Scott novel that I have read, but I will will definitely look for her previous novel. I appreciate the author, publisher, and NatGalley having provided me with this ARC of "The Orchard Girls."
Was this review helpful?
1 enjoyed this book although the references to dementia made me feel a little uncomfortable as having close relatives suffer with this disease brought it all back.  But, i loved the rest of this story very much. My thanks to netgalley and the publishers for giving me the opportunity to read this book in return for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Nikola Scott is a relatively new author, her books have been on my ‘must read’ list for a long time, but alas this is the first of her books I have read. I am at a loss as to why it has taken me so long to finally read this author, her writing is so beautiful and enriching, I love the way she meticulously entwines the two eras which creates a poignant and sweeping tale of loss and love.

I found it very easy to fall under the spell of The Orchard Girls, its gentle pacing pulled me into the story from the first page. I have always loved time-slip novels, which is one of the reason’s I was very eager to read this and with it partly set during WW2 this sounded like my kind of book and I am so happy to say that The Orchard Girls did not disappoint.

The Orchard Girls is told across two timelines with Violet in the 1940s and Frankie in the present day, I love the way that both women are connected and how each of their stories is told, the way that each era interlinks with the other is so clever and beautifully done. Some duel timeline novels can feel a little jumbled but this one is perfectly written you just fall into the story and the lives of these two amazing women.

The story opens in the 1940s during the London Blitz, we follow Violet who yearns to do something worthy and help the war effort – plus to escape her dragonish mother so she joins the Women’s Land Army, but as her family is very well known she joins under a false name as Lily. I love the description of how hard life was as a Land Girl, it wasn’t the easiest way to help the war effort plus not to mention the way the villagers treat them which I thought was awful – these young women are doing something to help and they get treated in such a hostile way. As Violet makes friends with her fellow Land Army girls something happens and they are all left holding on to a terrible secret. Now, I’m not going to divulge that as it is crucial to both parts of the story.

Present-day Violet granddaughter Frankie is a journalist whose editor has got wind of a story that has got Frankie on the job, she must infiltrate her grandmother mind and retrieve the shocking truth of her past, a job which is harder said than done as Violet has locked away her past never to be remembered again. Violet has become a reclusive shutting herself away, there is a lot of questions over Violet’s state of mind, and there are fractions between the two woman. Frankie’s intruding behaviours was very hard to read, I found her hard to warm to at first, I know she was only trying to do her job but still. Once you learn her own story and the factors behind her relationship with her grandmother she soon becomes very endearing.

This isn’t the typical historical fiction, there are lots of underlying themes which run side by side to the story for example dementia which I found very emotional to read, especially as we lost my grandmother to this awful decease, but Nikola Scott has written those moments with the utmost sensitivity and care.

Overall The Orchard Girls is a highly emotional and engaging read, which will leave its mark upon your heart well after closing the last page. Well worth a read for any who loves historical fiction and duel timelines.
Was this review helpful?
4.5 Stars

Emotional, evocative and enthralling, The Orchard Girls is a beautifully written and expertly crafted tale by Nikola Scott.

Frankie’s life hasn’t always been easy. She has known her fair share of heartache and despair, but she always believed that the grandmother who had brought her up was always in her corner and always had her best interests at heart. Frankie believed that her grandmother had loved her – until she had betrayed her in the most cruel and shocking of ways. With the rift between them seeming irreparable, Frankie never thought she would clap eyes on her grandmother ever again – until their paths cross again and she realises that the woman who raised her is slowly losing her memory. Frankie finds herself drawn into the mystery of her grandmother’s past and she realises that old secrets and past sins could very well end up having a devastating effect on her future as well…

In 1940, Violet’s life had been completely and utterly destroyed by the Blitz. Running away from her all consuming grief, Violet joins the Women’s Land Army where she hopes that the hard work and back-breaking labour will help her forget the pain and misery that continues to haunt her. The land girls at Winterbourne Orchards have certainly got a lot on their plate. With the lingering shadows of the enemy air raids hanging over them, nobody knows what the future holds. But it’s not just Hitler’s bombs they have to fear, but a powerful enemy who is far too close to home.

When all their worst fears come to light, shocking events unfold that will bind them together forever. Nobody must ever find out what the land girls at Winterbourne Orchards went through during that fateful night and their secret must stay hidden till the end of time.

A captivating dual narrative novel from a master storyteller, The Orchard Girls is a splendidly woven tale where the pages will just turn themselves. The Orchard Girls is a story about hope, strength, resilience and love that tugs at the heartstrings and immerses the reader in a vividly recreated world of danger, secrets and deception.

Nikola Scott is such a wonderful writer and in The Orchard Girls she has written an unforgettable novel readers will be blown away by.
Was this review helpful?
I do love a dual timeline read and this one doesn’t disappoint. Violet and her granddaughter Frankie haven’t seen each other for years when their paths cross again. Frankie, now a journalist, feels that her grandmother Violet is troubled by something that happened in her earlier life. Wanting to protect her, as well as to help her, Frankie encourages Violet to confront her past life as a land army girl. An emotional, engrossing read sprinkled with historical facts. A definite recommendation.
Was this review helpful?
I just love dual timelines in books. I think these are my favourite kind of reads so I was thrilled when I saw the blurb and I couldnt wait to read it. Frankie, in the present timeline, didnt have the best of starts in life. Her grandmother Violet, has joined the Land Army during the 1940s. 

I loved the two main characters, although I was drawn more to Violet but have led difficult lives. I really enjoyed this book. If you enjoy reading about the war, relationships and finding lost family secrets then this is the perfect book for you.
Was this review helpful?
This was a very good read and very well written. A war years saga always pulls at the heart strings and this is the same even though this is a dual time book.. 4 stars.

Thanks to Netgalley and publisher for this e ARC
Was this review helpful?
I am a sucker for dual timeline. And the author did such a Great Job writing It. This book contains a lot of my buzzword.  Love, betrayal, forgiveness, ww2 era., strong friendships and strong Main characters.  I loved It. Thank you to netgalley for letting me read this e arc in exchange for an honest opinion
Was this review helpful?
London 2004: Frankie didn' always have it easy. Growing up motherless, she was raised by her grandmother, who loved her - and betrayed her. For yeaars the rift between them seemed irrepairable. 

Somerset 1940: When seventeen year old Violet's life is ripped apart by the London Blitz, she runs away and joins the Women@s Land Army. She wants nothing more than to leave her grief behind. But as well as the terror of the enemy air raids, the land girls at Winterbourne Orchards face a powerful enemy closer to home.

I quite like a dual timeline story and this one didn't disappoint. I loved both Frankie and Violet, they were both strong characters. Frankie has a new job ae The London Post. Violet had joined the Woman's Lamd Army and worked at Winterbourne Orchards. Full of intrigue and historical information. The dual timeline is woven seamlessly together. It was hard to ead at times due to the dementiqaa Violet had. I really enjoyed this book. but I think I prefered the part set in 1940 just a little bit more.

I would like to thank #NetGalley #Headline and the author #NikolaScott for my ARC of #TheOrchardGirls in exchange for an honestreview.
Was this review helpful?
Two strong women decades apart yet bound together.  it is a dual timeline story about the story of a group of Women's Land Army girls.  Well written with vivid descriptions.  Highly recommended.  Thanks to NetGalley for this ARC.
Was this review helpful?
Its no secret I am a HUGE fan of dual time stories, and am always searching for the next one to fill the hole the previous book left behind. I can tell you that this book was wonderful and fit the bill perfectly. It had everything that I love in a dual time story: romance, secrets, drama, WWII, history, and, of course a betrayal that echoes through time. This book was well-researched and the author did a wonderful job at bringing WWII era to life. The characters were relatable and I enjoyed both the historical and the present time parts. The secret kept this novel moving at a steady pace, and kept me turning the pages well into the night - a sign of a great book. I highly recommend you add this book to your shelf - you won't be sorry!
Was this review helpful?
Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for an early review copy. 

Set in 1940 and 2004. The story follows Violet during WWII and Frankie in 2004. Both Violet and Frankie’s characters were stunning and as such their stories were strong, in  different ways.

The relationship between her grandmother and Frankie was loveable, but not an easy one, having lots of problems, about which we learn, which helped you understand the reasons why Frankie does, and why. Their connection and story felt more true and real.  

You could relate to Frankie, having witnessed what her grandmother went through, having had her as an important part of her childhood.. 

The way in which the storylines connected was really good, and made me curious, wanting to find out more. I wanted to find out about the secrets and what the characters from the past were like, what did they endure during the war.

I loved he way the story was written and it flowed, both timelines connecting together and I couldn’t put it down. From the beginning I wanted to know how it was going to end. 

Highly Recommend It
Was this review helpful?
Violet comes from an upper class family. War has just begun and Violet wants to do her bit but her mother wants to marry her off and for her to live the life of a lady. At a dance she escapes to have fun with her two cousins when a tragedy happens. Violet really has to get away so she changes her name and joins the land army only leaving a note behind for her mother.

In the farm where she is sent the manager is absolutely abhorrent and the girls are never paid and given no free time. As she makes friends with the other girls they just have to stick together to make the best of it.
Violets granddaughter Frankie is a journalist working for a well known newspaper. She has been estranged from her grandmother for years but eventually meets up when her editor finds out who her grandmother is and demands that Frankie interview her for the newspaper..

This is a really good read. I didn't know that at the start of WW2 land girls were not welcome on farms. The farm owners did not think they could ever replace men and were not happy at the government telling them they had to employ and pay these woman.  They were often treated badly and only given the minimal requirement of  food and a place to sleep. The locals also turned against the women thinking that because most of them came from bigger towns and cities that they were fast and loose and after any men that were about. 
I don't know if the newspaper Frankie worked for reflects what that job is like but it was so high pressured and full of people who would stab you in the back. Horrible place to work.
The comradely between all the women who worked on the farm enabled them to get through each day  and put up with their dreadful boss. Frankie didn't have that with the newspaper as she didn't know who to trust. 
Frankie realises that her grandmother is unwell and tries  to do her best to help and decides that re uniting her with her land army friends is the right thing to do. She doesn't know that she is opening Pandora's Box and will find it hard to believe what she finds inside.
Good story, great characters and lots of surprises along the way.
Was this review helpful?
The Orchard Girls is a detailed well thought out story that captures the reader's attention and holds it until the last page....
I like how Scott has created an awareness of dementia and given the reader a well researched insight into the difficulty and change face by women in WW2!
The character development of The Orchard Girls is good. The characters are interesting and realistic. I felt a strong connection with Frankie and Violet. I could clearly see that both women were struggling emotionally. and was please with the ending...
I would recommend reading The Orchard Girls to lovers of Historical Fiction, as it is an engaging story filled with anger and self-loathing but also shows powerful friendships and a true sense of family!
Was this review helpful?
My thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for the place on the tour. Having read and enjoyed Nikola’s books before, both reviewed here on the blog, My Mother’s Shadow in 2017 and Summer of Secrets in 2018, it has been a long wait for a new book but worth it. The Orchard Girls doesn’t disappoint.

Beginning in 1940’s London during the blitz, young, and rather naive debutante Violet Etherington makes a decision that will have devastating consequences and is one that she will never forget. Trying to escape her overbearing mother and to feel as though she is doing something worthwhile, she signs up to join the Women’s Land Army as Lily Burns. The work and living conditions are hard, and they face hostility from the village. Even in the country, they can’t escape the war, and before their time at Winterborne Orchard in Somerset is at an end, Violet and her WLA friends will be the holders of a terrible secret.

Told over two timelines, by Violet and her granddaughter Frankie, the story of Violet’s past is gradually revealed, and what a tumultuous one it is. In the present day, newspaper journalist Frankie O’Brien has been rumbled as Violet’s granddaughter by her editor and has the unenviable task of being under extreme pressure to get a story from her by now, reclusive elderly grandmother, who is rather well known for her campaigning career. However it is clear that Violet’s state of mind is not up to dealing with her past and Frankie also has to come to terms with her own troubled relationship with Violet.

The two timelines are seamlessly woven together but of the two main characters Violet was my favourite. Her time with the WLA certainly gave her strength of character from the unworldly young girl that first joined up, whereas in contrast I found Frankie less able to stand up for herself and suffering with her own confidence issues. I really hoped that she wasn’t going to throw Violet under a bus for the sake of a story even if her job was under threat. I did feel sorry for her, as she wasn’t given an easy time by her colleagues but I did hope that she would just stand up to her awful boss and say No.

The Orchard Girls is a sweeping story with depth and a little darkness that I found totally engrossing. Violet and her Land Army friends were the stars of the show for me and the research required to tell their story clearly shows through – it was clear that being a Land Army worker was no easy choice with challenging working conditions! There are many themes covered, some troubling – including dementia, however they are done with sensitivity. As ever, Nikola Scott writes superbly with characters so beautifully drawn and a vivid sense of place. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Was this review helpful?
I love books that take me on a journey to the past. Especially a past that I had little knowledge about and this book did that for me. I really enjoyed this story. I especially loved the switching between the time periods and learning about Violet's past I do not think every author has that ability to do that skillfully enough to make a story interesting so this aspect for me was good. Frankie was a very interesting I think readers will connect with her personality on many levels. This is the type of story that should play out on the screen as a movie or a TV series. Fans of Historical Fiction would be thrilled with the detail of the time period. I am certainly appreciative of the learning that I gained with this story that I now have a renewed interest in learning more about life during the war years. 

All in all a great story, A must read.
Was this review helpful?
5 Word Review: Family, secrets, war, survival, respect.

Trust me, you're not ready for this book. But you should definitely grab some tissues and pick it up.

When I picked up The Orchard Girls on a Friday night, I thought it'd be the perfect evening read. Then I stayed up until the early hours, gasping with disbelief, as I could not put it down.

I loved that the narrative was split across time. The stark differences in their worlds was amazing and the contrast really drove it home about how terrifying the Blitz was.

I definitely preferred reading Violet's perspective. That's not to say that I didn't enjoy Frankie's narration, just that I felt more invested in Violet's. I guess it's because we see so much more her, and through the eyes of her estranged granddaughter. Violet has been through so so much, and kept such secrets. My heart broke for her as her story was revealed. She is so multi-faceted and it is fascinating.

The story is slowly unravelled between the pages, the mysteries enticing you to keep reading. I couldn't wait to find out everything about Violet's life, and to find out how Frankie got on in her own life. Seeing the slow rebuilding of trust between Violet and Frankie was lovely, and a heart-warming edge to a story that could get rather dark at times. 

The writing is beautiful. The world comes alive on the pages, and I could smell the fresh air as much as I could hear the ringing in my ears. I will absolutely read more by Nikola Scott.
Was this review helpful?
This was a compelling, historical narrative that shone a light on the less glamourous side of the war. Focusing on the land girls, I had always imagined them as per the propaganda: shiny, happy girls that settle into their new family whilst working the land. However, Scott portrays the darker side of the working conditions, probably forever tainting my concept of this group of hard-working women.

A dual timeline, this book follows Frankie and her grandmother. In present day, Frankie has moved to a new job at the fast-paced newspaper The London Post. However, when on the first day it is revealed that the company is having a re-structure, we see the stakes are raised between the journalists. Old friends move away from Frankie and loyalties are tested, especially when it is revealed that Frankie has some quite high connections. Under pressure to get a story from her reclusive, media-distant grandmother, Frankie has to stand up against her new boss, even if it means her job is at risk.

Yet, as we start to know Violet, we realise that her relationship with Frankie has become rather distant. Through Frankie’s narrative, the reasons for this estrangement become sadly clear. Frankie and Violet have to put their differences aside as her grandmother needs her more and more. From this tentative relationship, Frankie starts to learn more about Violet’s role as a land girl, complementing the narrative switching to 1940.

I think I was more interested in the 1940 narrative, although I liked how Scott interlinked the two together, particularly in the closing chapters. Escaping the London Blitz and her mother, Violet heads down to Somerset to work the land. As a land girl, she makes close friends with her fellow workers, but they are not actually united for work reasons, but because of the farmer, who is a tyrant with chilling behaviours. Learning more about Violet’s land girl experiences, we see how the girls were mistreated – denied pay, denied rewards and targeted by other critics. It created a rather sad and isolating experience, something I had never considered before.

As I read more of this book, I found I was increasingly immersed in the story. It was clear that something bad happens on the farm but Scott takes a while to establish the circumstances first. The characters in the 1940 narrative were all rather interesting and I think it is clear that the writer has undertaken a lot of research for this period. Violet’s character is admirable as she strives to make a difference and I loved the relationship that is developed between her and Marigold.

I could not have predicted how this beautifully-written story would unfold. Although there are some obvious developments because of the historical period, I loved how readers get to learn so much about Violet’s time on the farm. It was so interesting to read and I found I grew frustrated when the narrative switched to present day, so keen was I to find out what happened next to Violet!

This is my first read from Scott and I was certainly not disappointed. It was a vivid piece of writing and definitely one of my favourite of this genre so far this year. I felt a bit empty when the story had finished and thought that more escapades could have been detailed about the war period. However, with a book that is nearly 500 pages long already, I can understand why the writer did not extend this further!

This novel is perfect for readers interested in the Second World War and who like the historical narrative broken up with present day interludes. Don’t be dissuaded by the length of the story as, once you get started, you’ll barely notice the number of pages and will consume the chapters eagerly.

With thanks to Headline Review, NetGalley and Rachel’s Random Resources for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
I love discovering new authors and Nikola is certainly a new author for me.  I read the synopsis for ‘The Orchard Girls’ and it sounded like it was just the kind of historical fiction that I love to read.  As well as being a book geek I am also a history nerd with a special interest in the Second World War.  I couldn’t wait to start reading and so without further ado I grabbed a cup of tea, grabbed my Kindle and settled down for what proved to be an interesting read.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading ‘The Orchard Girls’ but more about that in a bit.
It didn’t take me long to get into ‘The Orchard Girls’.  In fact by the time I got to the end of the first chapter, I knew that I was going to be in for a treat and then some.  I found reading ‘The Orchard Girls’ to be extremely addictive.  I would pick the book up only intending to read a chapter or two but I kept saying to myself that I would read ‘just one more chapter’ and so on and so forth.  I was so wrapped up in the story that I kept automatically turning the pages without realising just how quickly I was getting through the book.  The first time I checked I was staggered to realise that I had read a third of the book in just one go.  I found ‘The Orchard Girls’ to be an unputdownable, emotional and gripping read, which kept me on the edge of my seat throughout.
‘The Orchard Girls’ is beautifully written.  Nikola certainly knows how to grab your attention and draw you into what proves to be a compelling story.  The story is written using a dual timeline.  One timeline focuses on Frankie in 2004 and the other follows Violet, who happens to be Frankie’s estranged grandmother.  Both have had their trials and tribulations and initially it is a bit unclear as to why they are so estranged.  Both timelines interlink really well and the story flows seamlessly as a result.  I enjoyed learning more about Violet’s early years and about Frankie.  This was one of those books that really did tug on my heartstrings.  I felt as though I was part of the story that that’s thanks to Nikola’s superb storytelling.
In short, I thoroughly enjoyed reading ‘The Orchard Girls’ and I would recommend it to other readers.  I will certainly be reading more of Nikola’s work in the future.  The score on the Ginger Book Geek board is a very well deserved 5* out of 5*.
Was this review helpful?