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The Forbidden Orchid    by Sharon Biggs Waller order for
Forbidden Orchid
by Sharon Biggs Waller
Order:  USA  Can
Viking, 2016 (2016)
Hardcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

The heroine of The Forbidden Orchid, the delightful Elodie Buchanan, is the eldest of ten sisters in 1861 England. Their absent father is an adventurer/plant hunter who spends most of his time in China and only returns annually to father another daughter. Elodie's story is both a romantic coming of age and a tale of finding and following her passion in life.

One year, everything changes for the Buchanans. They learn that Papa was injured in China. Though he's back in England, he doesn't return home. And Erasmus Pringle, who had hired Elodie's father to acquire a rare orchid for him, insists that he is owed a great deal of money. The family faces penury and Papa debtor's prison. So Elodie sets out to find and help her father, a quest that will take her, first to Kew, and then (as a stowaway) by ship to China.

Along the way, Elodie meets Alex, a young sailor whose dog she rescues. He helps hide her on the ship and they travel together in China, where they have many adventures. Elodie eventually learns the dark secret in Alex's past, which he was afraid to reveal to her. She saves her family and finds purpose and happiness in her new life. The Forbidden Orchid is an engaging read, starring a courageous young woman.

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