Spectacular ... An intensely evocative and gorgeously written coming-of-age story ... Gorcheva-Newberry suffuses her story with Russian color ... And she has a genuine gift for metaphor ... Life indeed holds many sorrows for young eyes, sorrows that will fill readers' eyes with tears and wonder at Gorcheva-Newberry's magnificent tale.
The Orchard is a novel that engages with the paradoxical way in which youth opens one up to the world and that same quality is lost within it ... This story does not offer an in-depth history lesson for its readers, nor does it parse political moves marked with terms such as perestroika and glasnost. Any wisdom offered is in retrospect ... The importance of female relationships and stories is also supported by the reality that inspired the events in The Orchard.
If there is such a thing as clear-eyed sentimentality, The Orchard evokes it, with its warts-and-all recollections of youthful passions, when the road ahead seems like one endless string of possibilities ... Kristina Gorcheva-Newberry does the reader a great service, offering a peek behind the Iron Curtain and its veil of propaganda.
As Gorcheva-Newberry deftly demonstrates, coming of age is a universally difficult time, requiring hard choices and both self-assessment and reassessment of the world. Recommended for most fiction readers.