At the turn of the twentieth century, in a rural stretch of the Pacific Northwest in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains, an orchardist named Talmadge carefully tends the grove of fruit trees he has cultivated for nearly half a century. A gentle, solitary man, he finds solace and purpose in the sweetness of the apples, apricots, and plums he grows, and in the quiet, beating heart of the land. Everything he is and has known is tied to this patch of earth. It is where his widowed mother is buried, taken by illness when he was just thirteen, and where his beloved sister Elsbeth mysteriously disappeared. It is where the horse wranglers pass through each spring with their wild herds, setting up camp in the flowering meadows between the trees.One day, while in town to sell his fruit at the market, two girls, barefoot and dirty, steal some apples. Later, they appear on his homestead, cautious yet curious about the man who gave them no chase. Feral, scared, and very pregnant,..
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