#1 New York Times bestselling author Susan Wiggs returns to sun-drenched Bella Vista, where the land's bounty yields a rich harvest…and family secrets that have long been buried
Isabel Johansen, a celebrated chef who grew up in the enchanting Sonoma town of Archangel, is transforming her childhood home into a destination cooking school—a unique place for other dreamers to come and learn the culinary arts. Bella Vista's rambling mission-style hacienda, with its working apple orchards, bountiful gardens and beehives, is the idyllic venue for Isabel's project…and the perfect place for her to forget the past.
But Isabel's carefully ordered plans begin to go awry when swaggering, war-torn journalist Cormac O'Neill arrives to dig up old history. He's always been better at exposing the lives of others than showing his own closely guarded heart, but the pleasures of small-town life and the searing sensuality of Isabel's kitchen coax him into revealing a few truths of his own.
Wiggs's second in her Bella Vista Chronicles series (The Apple Orchard) juggles a modern love story with a heart-pounding chronicle of the Danish resistance in Nazi-occupied Copenhagen, creating a dazzling intergenerational tale of courage and hope. No-frills, 30-year-old Isabelle Johansen is busy organizing the opening of her cooking school, a new beekeeping business, and the wedding of her half-sister, Tess. She's doing all this from her grandparents' mission-style hacienda and farm in Sonoma, but gets thrown off balance by the handsome, globe-trotting journalist Cormac O'Neill. He's arrived to interview Isabelle's grandfather, Magnus, for a biography about his youth thwarting the Nazi occupation, protecting Jewish families, and his ultimate flight to America. The attraction between Isabelle and Cormac is immediate, but Isabelle's cautious heart won't open until she reconciles with the loss of parents she never knew and confronts a violent lover who broke her trust and confidence. It will be Magnus's story of bravery, along with that of his late Jewish wife, Eva, and her best friend and resistance fighter Annelise who bears a baby for the childless couple that will help Isabelle finally face her own fears. Isabelle and Cormac's love story plays out sweetly. What makes this moving narrative so memorable is the fearlessness of families and friends who find strength in each other through the horrors of war and loss. The revelation of Isabelle's new family links with her dead mother and her father preview Wiggs's next installment.