Trained in France at a prestigious perfumerie, Grace transfers to the oldest French flavor and fragrance houses in the United States. While working at Southern Compound in Atlanta, Georgia, Grace solidifies her reputation as a successful, tough, no-nonsense businesswoman, with little time for romance.
One day on the way to a blind date, she bites into an apple given to her by her assistant and is so enthralled with the taste that she reminds herself of her priorities and sets off to find the orchard where the apple was grown. At Culpepper Farms, Grace discovers owner Dylan Jackson, a widowed single father who is reluctant to let Grace research the orchard that meant so much to his late wife.
Despite some unusually long and distracting sentences, The Orchard is an alluring and sweet love story. Grace is well developed, and author Jeffrey Stepakoff’s sensual imagery lets the reader experience the flavors and scents that Grace experiences as she develops fragrances and falls in love with the spirit and essence of Culpepper Farms. Stepakoff also does a splendid job of growing the relationship between Dylan and Grace, nurturing it and allowing it to develop naturally and deliciously. Recommended.