ARC Review: The Forbidden Orchid by Sharon Biggs Waller


Book cover for The Forbidden Orchid by Sharon Biggs Waller.

I received an e-ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Title: The Forbidden Orchid
Author: Sharon Biggs Waller
Publisher: Viking
Publication Date: March 8, 2016
Stars: 4/5

Summary (from Goodreads): Staid, responsible Elodie Buchanan is the eldest of ten sisters living in a small English market town in 1861. The girls’ father is a plant hunter, usually off adventuring through the jungles of China.

Then disaster strikes: Mr. Buchanan fails to collect an extremely rare and valuable orchid, meaning that he will be thrown into debtors’ prison and the girls will be sent to the orphanage or the poorhouse. Elodie’s father has one last chance to return to China, find the orchid, and save the family—and this time, thanks to an unforeseen twist of fate, Elodie is going with him. Elodie 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 even if she can find the orchid, how can she find herself now that staid, responsible Elodie has seen how much the world has to offer?

Goodreads | Book Depository

Prepare to be amazed with this all new historical adventure! The Forbidden Orchid 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.

5 thoughts on “ARC Review: The Forbidden Orchid by Sharon Biggs Waller

  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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