Sheila Connolly’s Orchard Mysteries are now on the eighth book, Picked to Die. All the Wickeds have been inspired by Sheila’s writing in one way or another. Here’s what we love about the Orchard series.
Edith: Since I also write a Massachusetts-based farm series, the Orchard series has a special draw for me. I have worked casual references to Meg’s apples into a couple of my Local Foods mysteries, too. Farming in the northeast, whether it’s vegetables or tree fruit, involves the stress of weather, good and bad; the vagaries of customer whims; market trends beyond the farmer’s control; the joys of self-employment balanced off the despair of a failed crop; and so much more. But beyond farming, I’ve been inspired by Sheila’s intelligent protagonist and her clear portrayal of small-town Massachusetts. Keep ’em coming!
Jessie: I love the feeling the series evokes of small-town New England. The characters and the setting reflect life here in a genuine way that I appreciate and admire. And, I just love your covers!
Julie: Meg is such a great character. I love watching her find herself, and become more and more a part of the community. And the timing of this series is perfect. Apple season. Orchard series. Life is good.
Liz: I love reading the Orchard books in the fall! It’s just got the best fall-in-New-Englandy feel. Sheila’s writing is flawless, and the stories just pull me in. Her characters are fun and totally relatable. What’s not to love?
Barb: Like everyone else, I love the New England setting, but my very favorite thing is that the Orchard Mysteries are about grown-ups. Yes, they’re certainly cozies, but Meg and Seth are adults with adult challenges and preoccupations. Character, and the great writing, are what keep me coming back to this series.
Sherry: My husband recently startled me by saying he reads books for plot. I argued that he wouldn’t read a series if he didn’t like the characters. Sheila, in all her series, writes interesting characters with intriguing plots and a great setting. The Orchard Mysteries hold a special appeal because they make me think of my grandparents amazing orchard in Missouri.
Me, too…all of the above 🙂
I’m blushing! Thank you all for saying such nice things.
“Granford” is a real place (the actual town is Granby, and the local citizens know all about the series). It’s a place where I had generations of ancestors, and it’s also the kind of town that everyone thinks of when someone says “New England.” But it’s not all sweetness and light: people there face real problems, and I didn’t want to sugarcoat that. I feel very lucky that so many of the pieces came together in the series, and that people enjoy reading the books.
Sheila, Granby is a great place, and I look forward to getting into your orchard series.
I think when you grow up in New England there will be an orchard in your history. If you never walked through one you would recall the rows of bushel baskets surrounding the fruit stands by the road and how different apples tasted in October. Maybe your parents bought fresh cider from a local farm. New Englanders have a collective memory of orchards that has helped to build the way we see ourselves. Crisp. Fresh. Hardy.
My first real memory of an apple comes from a tree near a house we moved into when I was seven. There was a clutch of large houses, with ample space between and behind them, planted in what had been farmland not that long before. We had huge apple trees in our front yard (taller than the house), and more scattered in the scruffy uncleared spaces behind. I remember when I first went exploring, I climbed partway up one of those old trees and just grabbed an apple and bit into it. It was amazing, and it’s been my benchmark ever since. (But this was in Pennsylvania, not New England.)
That is great! I hear from Det. Cousin Greg that he can no longer tell the difference and doesn’t know why Pennsylvania is not in New England.
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