Review: The Forbidden Orchid

Review: The Forbidden OrchidTitle: The Forbidden Orchid
Author: Sharon Biggs Waller
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: March 8, 2016

four-stars
Summary (from Goodreads):

Staid, responsible Elodie Buchanan is the eldest of ten sisters living in a small English market town in 1861. The girls barely know their father, a plant hunter usually off adventuring through China. Then disaster strikes: Mr. Buchanan reneges on his contract to collect an extremely rare and valuable orchid. He will be thrown into debtors’ prison while his daughters are sent to the orphanage and the workhouse.

Elodie can’t stand by and see her family destroyed, so she persuades her father to return to China once more to try to hunt down the flower—only this time, despite everything she knows about her place in society, Elodie goes with him. She has never before left her village, but what starts as fear turns to wonder as she adapts to seafaring life aboard the tea clipper The Osprey, and later to the new sights, dangers, and romance of China. But now, even if she can find the orchid, how can she ever go back to being the staid, responsible Elodie that everybody needs?

Amazon “Book

❃ I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. ❃

Review

The Forbidden Orchid by Sharon Biggs Waller is a one of a kind book all about a hunt for a rare and valuable orchid. An interesting and complex father/daughter relationship makes this book even more believable. Though the book seems incredible already, there are three different settings, including China, making the story unforgettable.

The Forbidden Orchid has such a unique and intriguing concept. This book tells the story of a young girl who travels to China with her father to search for a rare orchid. The story becomes even more intense as orchid thieves are involved and fighting becomes an element. The significance of flowers in the novel is so creative, and I never would have thought that flower hunting was actually a thing.

One thing that is really interesting about The Forbidden Orchid is the father/daughter relationship. A lot of the time in books, parents don’t even exist, so I was very glad to see a complex relationship between Elodie and her dad. Honestly, the concern, protectiveness, and strictness that Elodie’s dad expresses makes the story so much more believable. Even reading about Elodie’s dad insisting that she can’t do things because she is a girl made the book more historically accurate.

The setting in The Forbidden Orchid is very interesting. Basically, the book is split into three different parts: England, on a boat, and China. It was actually sort of like reading three different stories because the sections are all so drastically different from each other. I especially enjoyed reading about China because it isn’t a very common setting in YA.

The Forbidden Orchid is a very unique book with a theme of flower hunting and a realistic father/daughter relationship. Three different and original settings add even more to the book. This is a definite must-read for historical fans.

About Sharon Biggs Waller

Sharon Biggs Waller

Sharon Biggs Waller is the recipient of the Friends of American Writers award and the author of A Mad, Wicked Folly (Viking) and The Forbidden Orchid (Viking), both of which have garnered multiple starred reviews and awards. Her upcoming novel is a young adult contemporary called Girls on the Verge (Holt, April 2019). She's also a magazine journalist and has written several non-fiction books about horses—The Original Horse Bible (Fox Chapel Publishing), Advanced English Riding (Lumina Media), and In One Arena (Half Halt Press). Previously, she worked as a riding instructor at the Royal Mews in Buckingham Palace. In addition to writing, she is a dressage rider and trainer and Planned Parenthood volunteer. She lives on a ten-acre sustainable farm in the Midwest with her husband, Mark.

5 thoughts on “Review: The Forbidden Orchid

  1. Jaime Lynn says:

    I am not a huge historical fiction reader, but this does sound like a great story. And the cover is beautiful. I will just have to read it and see if it is a historical that I can love!

  2. dianeo says:

    I really like historical fiction. This sounds like an interesting book. It’s nice to see a father/daughter relationship, I don’t find that too often.

  3. Elle says:

    This sounds like such a unique read. It’s a bit sad how little parents feature in fiction so that’s an exciting aspect of this story.

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