"Jane Hamilton's latest novel is about Mary Frances Lombard, a young girl growing up on her family's orchard in rural Wisconsin. There is family tension, love, and lots and lots of apples. Mary Frances thinks it is perfect, but perhaps that is because it is all she knows. She just assumes that she and her brother William will grow up and take over ownership of the orchard, while their parents want much more for their children than this challenging way of life. A charming coming-of-age story set comfortably in Wisconsin that will appeal to all readers."— Sharon K. Nagel
"Mary Frances Lombard, alternately Frankie, Francie, Marlene, The Imp, and MF, has spent all her life in the family apple orchards. Her dad Jim owns the farm with his cousin Sherwood and Aunt May Hill, and while Jim’s wife Nellie is a librarian in town, he’s quite dependent on Gloria, whom Mary Frances calls his second wife. I don’t want to set you up for some high drama here – sure the cousins are not always happy with each other and the farm is under development pressure. But Hamilton’s latest is really about a girl confronting change - that her brother will one day need space, that the beloved Gloria who manages the orchard might one day leave, or any number of other things that could upset the delicate balance of her idyllic childhood. Why she might even want a little change herself! The Excellent Lombards is a wonderful coming-of-age story, filled with acute observations, warm memories, and keen wit, reminding me most of Hamilton’s own The Short History of a Prince. So glad it’s finally out - it's been seven years since her last novel!"— Daniel Goldin
"This is the book Jane Hamilton was born to write... it is] magnificent." - Ann Patchett, New York Times bestselling author of Commonwealth
"Everything you could ask for in a coming-of-age novel-- funny, insightful, observant, saturated with hope and melancholy." - Tom Perotta, author of Little Children and The Leftovers
"Tender, eccentric, wickedly funny and sage...gives full voice to Jane Hamilton's storytelling gifts." - Nancy Horan, author of Loving Frank and Under the Wide and Starry Sky
Mary Frances "Frankie" Lombard is fiercely in love with her family's sprawling apple orchard and the tangled web of family members who inhabit it. Content to spend her days planning capers with her brother William, competing with her brainy cousin Amanda, and expertly tending the orchard with her father, Frankie desires nothing more than for the rhythm of life to continue undisturbed. But she cannot help being haunted by the historical fact that some family members end up staying on the farm and others must leave. Change is inevitable, and threats of urbanization, disinheritance, and college applications shake the foundation of Frankie's roots. As Frankie is forced to shed her childhood fantasies and face the possibility of losing the idyllic future she had envisioned for her family, she must decide whether loving something means clinging tightly or letting go. A new classic from the author of Oprah's Book Club picks A Map of the World and The Book of Ruth. *Includes Reading Group Guide*
About the Author
Jane Hamilton's novels have won literary prizes, been made into films, and become international bestsellers; and two of them, The Book of Ruth and A Map of the World, were selections of Oprah's Book Club. Her nonfiction has appeared in the New York Times; Washington Post; Allure; O, The Oprah Magazine; Elle; and various anthologies. She's married to an apple farmer and lives in Wisconsin.