I have just finished reading Pete Brown’s wonderful book, The Apple Orchard. This is not the book that I was expecting to read but I am really glad that I have.
Brown wrote a wonderful title a few years ago call ‘Man walks into a Pub’ which was a whimsical history of the British boozer. The style reminded me of Bill Bryson and I loved reading it. Since then his writing style has matured into a distinctive voice that is utterly unique and entirely his own.
In The Apple Orchard the author takes us on a personal journey of discovery, at times leaving us quite moved by the narrative of his discovery of the world of apple growing in England. Pete tells us learned how he learned to graft and prune trees and of spending time picking apples in an orchard on the slopes of Glastonbury Tor. There is a shocking twist in the tale that I will not reveal here, except to say I have a newfound respect for this author who quite literally puts his life on the line for the sake of this story.
Interleaved through this personal tale is a broader jollier strand which leads the reader on a tour of England’s apple-growing counties, picking up folklore and tale tales from locals as we go. The resulting read is utterly captivating. Every page has at least three facts for you to squirrel away and anyone who likes to either make or drink cider (or who just loves apples) will enjoy this book tremendously