Synopses & Reviews
"Some women can touch a man and heal like Jesus. The man who sees sunrise from a Belle woman's bed will swear he's been born again."
So begins Paula Wall's funny, poignant, and sexy novel, The Rock Orchard. Musette Belle could lay her hand on a baby's heart and see his life as if he'd already lived it. Even in death, she continues to shock the good citizens of Leaper's Fork, Tennessee, and her descendents are doing their best to carry on her legacy. Angela Belle, a haunting and beautiful siren, lures every man she meets into greatness, while her illegitimate and very independent daughter, Dixie, serves tea and vanilla wafers to the statue of the Confederate soldier she believes is her father. But when Charlotte Belle, a woman who would rather spend the night with Jack Daniel's than any man she knows, seduces a stranger in the cemetery, it not only transforms the two people involved but the entire town.
Blending sensuality, wisdom, and wry wit to create a truly unique love story, The Rock Orchard is about the strength of community, the might of God, and the ultimate power of extraordinary women.
"The legendary Belle family women of Leaper's Fork, Tenn., sparkle to life in this fine debut novel by the author of the popular syndicated humor column 'Off the Wall.' In 1920, tough-minded 23-year-old Charlotte Belle comes to raise her dead sister's bastard child and names her Angela. At 17, Angela, a free-spirited girl with an open heart and the same snappy independence as her aunt, captures the affections of Adam Montgomery, the new doctor in town, on the day he helps her give birth in his back garden. Adam's fiance, Lydia Jackson, is a cold-hearted Boston-bred snob who takes an instant dislike to vivacious Angela. While ably capturing the insouciant charm of the saucy Belle women and the men they bewitch, Wall loses points for giving short shrift to two major elements introduced late in the story: Adam and Lydia's blueblood Bostonian crowd, who make a too-brief appearance at a winter estate on sultry Banyan Island, and the Rev. Thomas Lyle, who appears out of left field to become the sole contender for Charlotte Belle's heart. Wall's light-as-a-feather prose and winning characters carry the novel, but more work on plot and structure would improve her next effort." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"The Belles' influence is felt throughout Leaper's Fork, and just as inviting are the townspeople in Wall's wonderfully endearing story of love, life, and change, and Wall's extraordinary and original style is the icing on one very enticing cake." Booklist
"Fast, funny, and surprisingly fresh: Wall's doings manage even to overshadow their author's dependence on one-liners...and draw the reader into her very strange and hilarious world." Kirkus Reviews
The most unlikely things grow in The Rock Orchard prosperity, love, faith and friendship....Paula Wall's created a crystalline world so full of one-of-a-kind characters...you can't help but enjoy your visit." Jodi Picoult, New York Times bestselling author of My Sister's Keeper
"Paula Wall has written a delicious tale about quintessential Southern belles with family ties so strong you could lace a corset with them. Authentic, romantic and beautifully told, this is a story to treasure." Adriana Trigiani, New York Times bestselling author of The Queen of the Big Time
Blending sensuality, wisdom, and wry wit to create a truly unique love story, Paula Wall's novel is about powerful men, the power of God, and the ultimate power of extraordinary women.
About the Author
Paula Wall is the author of two collections of short pieces, My Love Is Free...But the Rest of Me Don't Come Cheap and If I Were a Man, I'd Marry Me. The latter was a semifinalist for the Thurber Prize. She currently lives outside of Nashville in a converted barn on 150 acres at the foot of the Highland Rim. Her nearest neighbor is one mile down the road, which, frankly, is a little too close for comfort. The Rock Orchard is her first novel.