THE READING, Barbara Monier’s fifth novel, will release October 18, 2022 (Amika Press). She has four previously published novels. YOU, IN YOUR GREEN SHIRT and A LITTLE BIRDIE TOLD ME are available on Amazon. She published PUSHING THE RIVER and A ROCKY ORCHARD with Amika Press.
An unexpected – and unrecognized – visitor attends veteran writer Esme’s reading and brings events of forty years past squarely into her present. Struggling with writer’s block and uncertain about a future with her romantic partner, Esme undertakes a journey through her own history. Esme revisits a particular year she had written off as the worst of her life as well as her whirlwind early marriage. In the process, Esme ultimately overcomes the wounded hesitancy that has characterized her life and rediscovers her former courage and openness to risk.
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More than fifteen thousand years ago, late Stone Age man fashioned hollow tubes from wood, bone, and plants. Using these tubes, they blew pulverized pigments against the vast cave walls now known as Lascaux. Others dug and gouged the walls to engrave them. Before there was language, before there was writing, man told stories. …
AUDIO BOOKS The audio book of THE ROCKY ORCHARD has been recorded and is in the final stages of production. Actor and voice artist Danielle Joy Foley did an outstanding job narrating the book — bringing life to the characters and beautifully capturing the spirit of the book. Watch for details about the audio book …
I can’t help myself. Considering that my novel, THE ROCKY ORCHARD, released just three weeks ago, of course I should be devoting all of my spare time — when I’m not working at my full-time therapy practice during immensely difficult times for everyone — to getting the word out about my new book. Marketing, in …
PLEASE check out my Amazon author page, and my completed novels!
The Rocky Orchard (Amika Press) released May 12, 2020.
A youthful woman returns to her old family farm, a vacation site and pivotal refuge throughout her young life. While she is there, she meets and befriends an elderly woman. Mazie is adrift on a sea of memory as she gazes toward the rocky orchard above the farmhouse when Lula emerges eerily from the fog and a gentle, cautiously loving relationship between the youth and old age begins.
As the two women meet each morning and play cards, Mazie considers the shape of her life and the nature of her recollections through stories she tells her new, older friend. The women travel through Mazie’s stories as if together they are tentatively feeling their way through the stony risks hidden by the mist beneath the apple trees, and like a vision disappearing into the distance, it becomes increasingly unclear exactly what events in Mazie’s life caused her to return to the farm. And as she explores the illusory intersection of the past, present and future, Mazie begins to question whether it was, in fact, a coincidence that Lula came into view among the trees one cool morning—and whether anything she believes or feels is real.
REVIEWS of THE ROCKY ORCHARD:
“Overflowing with vivid scenery and self-reflection, The Rocky Orchard is a slow-burning, psychological journey in an evocative setting. Mazie is the compelling young protagonist in search of answers…while Lula is an ephemeral core of mystery that makes the plot feel like a tantalizing secret.… Time, fate, family, and modern struggles come to a thought-provoking head in this engagingly tangled tale.” —Self-Publishing Review
“Luminous…The Rocky Orchard is a moment that contains all the moments of a life, the fullness of being. This is the best Monier has ever written.” —James R. Petersen, Story Slam winner, author, editor
“A return to a bucolic haven that may or may not be the refuge it seems. A mysterious stranger emerging from a magical orchard, prompting the narrator to share a floodgate of memories over a running game of cards that smacks of The Seventh Seal. A series of flashbacks through the point of view of preternaturally insightful younger ‘selves,’ offering breadcrumbs of growing awareness that what must be believed may very well be the last thing that could be imagined.… The Twilight Zone aspect is what blows The Rocky Orchard into the stratosphere.… A novel you’ll want to reread the minute you finish.” —Rita Dragonette, author, The Fourteenth of September
“Monier unfolds an eloquent story with stunning grace, piece-by-piece, word by word, building on deeply held beliefs, the mysteries of youth and age, life and death, and the nature of experience. The Rocky Orchard tenderly questions what is real, what is illusion, and asks why some chapters of our lives are buried while others cannot be forgotten. A contemplative and deeply expressed story of human connection, loss, love, heaven and earth, and how we choose to define the mark we leave on the world. This book will linger with you for a long time.” —David W. Berner, author, Things Behind the Sun: A Novel
Full Review By Charles Remington for Readers’ Favorite:
Mazie sits on the swing on the porch of her family home, she is alone but comfortable and happy to be there. Her senses are alive to her surroundings; the clanking of the chain holding the swing, the warm balmy weather, the earthy smells from the nearby orchard – an orchard located in such an odd, inhospitable part of the farm. Her mind drifts back to her early life, then on to her teens when she first became involved with a boy called Sean. The Rocky Orchard by Barbara Monier tells how one morning Mazie is interrupted in her musings and recollections by an elderly female marching through her orchard and across her land. Surprised but glad of the company, she engages the elderly woman in conversation which prompts regular morning visits. Mazie discovers that the woman’s name is Lula and, like her, she likes to play card games. So, every day they sit on the porch with Mazie reflecting on episodes from her life while Lula deals the cards. As Mazie’s reflections become increasingly vivid, some happy, some sad, some disturbing, she starts to wonder what is actually going on. Why is she there? How did she arrive? Who is Lula? Is there some purpose to this seemingly innocuous daily routine?
Barbara Monier is a talented author who has crafted an enthralling dreamlike tale that gently picks apart the central character’s life. Her fears and longings, joys and sorrows are brought to life by way of the author’s eloquent prose. Though grounded in Mazie’s family home, an otherworldly atmosphere permeates the narrative. Well-written and peopled with solid believable characters Ms. Monier’s descriptions are a joy. I find it hard to pigeonhole The Rocky Orchard in any particular genre but can honestly say that I enjoyed it. Intriguing from the very start, it was an excellent read. Highly recommended.