At Fairfield Orchard: Fairfield Orchard #1 by Emma Cane

At Fairfield Orchard: Fairfield Orchard #1 by Emma Cane

Who’s ready for a small town, family oriented new romance series from Emma Cain?  I sure was, and the first of the Fairfield Orchard series is here today with a review. Please don’t forget to check the tour stops to see what others thought and be sure to enter the tour-wide giveaway where you could win  a $25 gift card to the e-book retailer of choice

At Fairfield Orchard

A new book from Emma Cane, combining family, heart and a fabulous setting all begin the first of the Fairfield Orchard contemporary romance series.  I love a story that uses family ties and obligations all to create a series of challenges, and Cane does her best with the Fairfields.

This story circles around Amy Fairfield and her return, with her twin Tyler to the house and orchard outside of Charlottesville Virginia.  Her parents and sister are struggling to keep the orchard profitable, looking to find new revenue streams, and the kids have been called home to help.  Well, until their parents announce they are heading off in an RV to travel for the first time.. leaving the Orchard in the sibling’s hands.

Amy is back at Fairfield, and trying to regroup. She’d left university and separated herself from her friends and family in lieu of a relationship that didn’t work out. Now guilty and unsure of her own reception, she’s almost desperate to find the solution to the orchard’s issues.

Jonathan Gebhart is a professor at UVA, with a specialty in Jefferson. Having learned that part of the orchard once belonged to the former president, he’s hoping to be able to comb the family archives, attics, bibles and stories to prove that Jefferson stayed in Virgina, and he believes that the Fairfield’s have the information and proof he needs.

When a talking tree becomes the introduction of Jonathan and Amy, the scene is set.  Amy is busy, or so she thinks, realigning her life and men have no part. Even the intrigue of history, a former favorite subject, won’t convince her that the interest she has in Jonathan is more than academic.  Jonathan is intrigued by Amy, a bonus in his research, and is welcomed into the warmth and camaraderie that seems to permeate the family.

Both have personal issues to deal with, but surprisingly enough are more than willing to share moments of hurt and their past with one another.  With the balance of history, romance and a touch of mystery from both, the story flies…

Family members, friends old and new and quick moments introduce, in brief form, the siblings without overwhelming readers with so many characters. The growth and development of the romance and friendship between Amy and Jonathan, as well as their ability to resolve some of the issues that had been holding them both back was wonderful. A perfect start to a new series, sure to please many.

At Fairfield Orchard: Fairfield Orchard #1 by Emma Cane

Title: At Fairfield Orchard
Author: Emma Cane
Series: Fairfield Orchard #1
Also in this series: A Spiced Apple Winter
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Published by: Avon
ISBN: 0062411365
Published on: 30 August, 2016
Format:eARC
Source: Publisher Via Edelweiss
Pages: 384
Rated: four-stars
Heat: One FlameOne Flame

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Emma Cane welcomes you to Fairfield Orchard, where new love blooms and romance is always in season.

For Amy Fairfield, the family orchard is more than a business. With its blossom-scented air and rows of trees framed by the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains, it’s her heritage and her future. But right now, it’s also a headache. Putting a painful breakup behind her, Amy has come home to help revitalize Fairfield Orchard. She doesn’t have time for the handsome—distracting—professor who wants to dig into her family’s history for his research.

Jonathan Gebhart knows he needs the Fairfields’ cooperation to make his new book a success. As for Amy—nothing in his years of academia could have prepared him for their sudden and intense attraction. He doesn’t want to complicate her life further, especially since she seems uneasy about his poking around in the past and he knows he’s not the sort of man built for forever. But some sparks can’t help but grow, and Jonathan and Amy may just learn that unexpected love can be the sweetest of all.

A copy of this title was provided via Publisher Via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.

 

Header - Excerpt - Tasty

 

“My name is Dr. Jonathan Gebhart, and I’m an associate professor of history at the University of Virginia, with a specialty in colonial history, particularly Thomas Jefferson.”

 

She gave a snort of laughter. “Of course.”

 

He stiffened. “Of course?”

 

“Thomas Jefferson founded the university, right?”

 

Did anyone from the area not know that?

 

“I hear he might as well still be alive,” she continued, “the way some people refer to him. I guess you’re one of the worshippers.”

“If you consider historians worshippers,” he said dryly.

 

She peeked out from behind a branch and gave him an amused smile. “I didn’t mean to offend, but you caught me on a bad day. I’m trying to remember my pruning skills. It’s been a while, and it’s not exactly the season for it.”

 

“May I ask to whom I’m speaking?”

 

Her smile widened. “My, don’t you have a pretty way of talking. I’m Amy Fairfield.”

 

“Daughter of the owner?”

 

“Technically one of the new owners, remember?”

 

She disappeared behind a branch again and continued pruning. Bees buzzed about her, alighting delicately on blossoms, but she ignored them.

 

“It’s all a mess right now, of course,” she continued. “My parents have just retired and left to have the time of their lives in the RV they always dreamed of.” She peeked at him again. “Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy for them, but they caught the whole family off guard, and now everyone has to decide who’s coming back when, taking leaves of absence or quitting their jobs altogether, so we can keep the orchard going. And though I always worked weekends in the fall, it’s been a long time since I was involved in the spring.” She wrinkled her nose. “Way more than you wanted to hear, sorry.”

 

And then she became silent as she examined her work critically. Her family problems were none of his business, though his curiosity began to formulate questions that he tamped back down.

 

“I’m here to ask a favor of you.” He paused, but she didn’t reappear. Taking a deep breath, he said, “I’m writing a book on the land Thomas Jefferson owned, and how selling it changed the course of Albemarle County and Virginia itself. As you know, your ancestors purchased this land from him.”

 

“I know.”

 

“You have an incredible inheritance here. One of our founding fathers walked this very land.”

 

“I know that, too. But he walked a lot of land around here. I spent the last thirteen years in Charlottesville, sometimes running campus trails. I’m sure I walked lots of places TJ walked.”

 

TJ? Though he corrected his students when they were so disrespectful, he found himself amused by Amy’s irreverence. He well knew that Jefferson wasn’t a saint, simply a flawed, though brilliant man.

 

But there were more important things on the line, like the book he needed to finish for his tenure portfolio. Without tenure, he could lose the career he’d worked so hard for, be let go from UVA. But even more important was his big hypothesis, the one that could turn his book into a bestseller and give him the prestigious career he’d always dreamed of.

 

“So what do I have to do with TJ?” Amy asked.

 

“I’d like your family’s permission to interview them and look through the historical records you’ve kept through the years.”

 

“Historical records?” she echoed. “Don’t you find that stuff at courthouses or online?”

 

“You cannot find family Bibles or original land deeds so easily, not to mention family stories passed down through generations.” He glanced at the house again, knowing it was far too recently built, and hoping Google hadn’t misled him. “I believe there’s an older house than this?”

 

“Yep, but we’ve closed it up to keep people from getting hurt.”

 

A headache started to form. “Is it in disrepair?” He hoped Amy Fairfield and her family appreciated their own history.

 

“Not really, but no one is living there now, and we don’t want vandals disturbing it.”

 

The pressure between his eyes eased. “You get many vandals out here?”

 

“I didn’t think so, but I’m not the one who made the decision. My father was. And then he left, leaving it to my siblings and me to continue family tradition—whether some of us wanted to or not,” she added dryly.

 

He wasn’t sure where she fit in on that spectrum, but it wasn’t his concern. “Can I reach your father by phone or email?”

 

“Sure, but maybe you’d rather talk to my grandfather.”

 

He smiled with relief. The elderly had a better grasp of the importance of the past. “Do you think he’d speak with me?”

 

Amy spread the branches and gave him a long look from head to toe. He felt an odd connection, her gaze almost a physical touch. He was baffled to experience an awareness of her as a woman, when he could barely tell she was one beneath her farmer’s garb. Those vivid blue eyes studied him as if judging him. He’d been judged and found wanting before, and he wouldn’t go through that again.

 

“I can’t speak for Grandpa, Jon, but—”

 

“Jonathan.” He withheld a grimace, knowing that he shouldn’t be correcting her when he needed her help.

 

“Sorry. I don’t know if now’s the best time to be stirring things up. The orchard … well, we have a lot of work to do this summer, and it’ll be time for the harvest before you know it. I just started working here again a couple days ago. How about next winter?”

 

“I can’t wait until next winter,” he said patiently. “This is the last section of the book, and I have to submit it by this fall to even have it ready in time for my tenure review next year. You do know what tenure is.”

 

Those dark blue eyes narrowed, and she cocked her head. “Gee, maybe you better spell the word for me.”

 

He briefly closed his eyes, knowing he was making things worse. “Forgive me.”

 

He took a step toward her, trying to find the right words. He startled the dog, who jumped up and hit the ladder, which began to fall sideways. Amy let out a yelp and grabbed a branch even as the ladder crashed through several branches and hit the ground. Her feet struggled to find a thick enough branch to support her, and Jonathan reached for her. She was still too high to grab around the waist, but when he ducked under a thin branch and stepped beneath her, her toes brushed his shoulders.

 

“Step right on me,” he urged.

 

For a moment, he thought she would refuse, but at last she let herself drop a bit, and her big muddy work boots settled on his shoulders. She wasn’t even that heavy, and he realized she was probably smaller than he’d imagined, being half-hidden by the tree and wearing layers of warm clothing.

 

“If I was still a cheerleader,” she said, “I’d have a spotter to help me jump.”

 

At least she didn’t sound upset with him. He needed her goodwill. “I’ll squat, and you should be able to jump easily.”

 

“You forget, I’m still in between all these branches.”

 

“I’ll go straight down, and you be careful.” He sank slowly onto his haunches.

 

Using the tree for balance, she swung away from him and landed lightly on the ground. Still bent over, he came out from beneath the tree and practically ran right into her. Straightening, he stared down at her and she stared up, not six inches away from each other.

 

“You’re taller than I thought,” she said.

 

“And you’re shorter.”

 

 

 

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About Emma Cane

Emma Cane grew up reading and soon discovered that she liked to write passionate stories of teenagers in space. Her love of “passionate stories” has never gone away, although today she concentrates on the heartwarming characters of Valentine, her fictional small town in the Colorado Rockies.

Now that her three children are grown, Emma loves spending time crocheting and singing (although not necessarily at the same time), and hiking and snowshoeing alongside her husband Jim and two rambunctious dogs Apollo and Uma.

 

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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