The Orchardist’s Daughter by Karen Viggers. (2019).
**4 out of 5 stars**
16 year old Miki grew up isolated and homeschooled on an apple orchard in Tasmania. After a tragedy, she and her brother Kurt are running a takeaway shop in a timber town. Miki longs to make connections and spend more time on her beloved forest but Kurt locks her up like a prisoner while he leads his own secret life. When Miki meets Leon, another outsider, things slowly begin to change. But Miki must discover her strength and spirit.
This novel has a very strong underlying theme of conservation of both flora and fauna throughout. It is obvious the author has a real passion for the subject and I found it quite interesting and saddening to learn of the horrible disease suffered by many Tasmanian Devils. The forestry was described beautifully and sounded simply stunning. On the dark side, this story is full of bullies; there’s little boy bullies, men perpetrating domestic violence, logging workers who bully “greenies” and park rangers and perhaps the biggest bully of all is Miki’s brother Kurt. However readers will be pleased to know that the narrative centres around the victims of these bullies finding the strength and courage to overcome their situations. A well-written absorbing read that I enjoyed.