Five Star, Jul 2002, 26.95, 230 pp.
Wealthy recluse W. G. Preston advertises for a woman to serve as manager of a bed and breakfast. In fact the B&B is a front as Preston really seeks a wife and plans a competition among eight female applicants where one each month will be sent home packing. Preston plans to marry the final survivor.
The women are a diverse lot. The widow grandmother Marjorie is witty and friendly yet naive. Vicki hides her enchanting vulnerability with queenly persona armor. Audrey is a great listener yet can be quite moody. The cute Natalie cannot make friends. The beautiful Virginia acts snobbish. The energetic Holly can lift anyone's spirits, but ruined her wholesome image with the implants. Charlotte is knowledgeable but make sure everyone else knows it. Dorothy is quite a leader, but Preston does not need a manager, he wants a wife. Which one of this octet will win the prize?
If the audience can hurdle the moral questions of a spousal elimination contest, the story line of THE APPLE ORCHARD BED AND BREAKFAST is actually an amusing character study. The plot hooks readers through the depth provided to the cast, which enables the novel to avoid the pitfalls of How to Marry a Millionaire. Each of the key players can be distinguished from one another, a difficult accomplishment when describing eight women and a few other prime members. The story line uses a journal entry approach with Preston providing his perspective on the players. Ron & Caryl McAdoo furnish the audience with an engaging but rather different romance.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner