At the Edge of the Orchard
The sweeping and compelling new novel from the bestselling author of Girl with a Pearl Earring.
‘Dark, brutal, moving, powerful’ Jane Harris
‘A wonderful book; rich, evocative, original. I loved it’ Joanne Harris
What happens when you can’t run any further from your past?
Ohio, 1838. James and Sadie Goodenough have settled in the Black Swamp, planting apple trees to claim the land as their own. Life is harsh in the swamp, and as fever picks off their children, husband and wife take solace in separate comforts. James patiently grows his sweet-tasting ‘eaters’ while Sadie gets drunk on applejack made fresh from ‘spitters’. Their fighting takes its toll on all of the Goodenoughs – a battle that will resonate over the years and across America.
Fifteen years later their youngest son, Robert, is drifting through Gold Rush California and haunted by the broken family he fled years earlier. Memories stick to him where mud once did. When he finds steady work for a plant collector, peace seems finally to be within reach. But the past is never really past, and one day Robert is forced to confront the brutal reason he left behind everything he loved.
In this rich, powerful story, Tracy Chevalier is at her imaginative best, bringing to life the urge to wrestle with our roots, however deep and tangled they may be.
Praise for At the Edge of the Orchard: -
”'Chevalier’s prose is by turns muscular, raw and sumptuous… a delight” - INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY
”'Chevalier has carved out a middle-point between writing literary fiction and its page-turning, commercial counterpart and this book will serve both those audiences” - INDEPENDENT
”'A rollicking yarn of 19th-century America” - THE TIMES
”'A densely packed tale of fruit, roots, family and hardship” - FINANCIAL TIMES
”'A wonderful book; rich, evocative, original. I loved it” - Joanne Harris
”'A stunning read” - GOOD HOUSEKEEPING
”'A kind of arboreal love song … an absorbing depiction of the harshness of pioneer life and the impossibility of escaping familial ties” - MAIL ON SUNDAY
”'Dark, brutal, moving, powerful” - Jane Harris
”'Powerfully realised … [A] fine novel” - DAILY MAIL
”'It’s her best since Girl with a Pearl Earring, telling the story both of America and a pioneer family with acuity, freshness and zest. I was captivated by it” - Amanda Craig
”'Tracy Chevalier serves up a rollicking yarn of 19th-century America. What Deborah Moggach did for tulips, Chevalier may well do for apples” - THE TIMES
”'This novel of raw beauty touches themes Chevalier explored in her novel, The Last Runaway. It’s a richly rewarding read” - EXPRESS
”'With impeccable research and flawless prose, Chevalier perfectly conjures the grandeur of the pristine Wild West Robert encounters, the bawdiness of the period, and the commanding needs of the everyday adventurers - male and female - who were bold enough or foolish enough to be drawn to the unknown. She crafts for us an excellent experience” - USA TODAY
”'With Chevalier’s excellent storytelling ability and gift for creating memorable characters, this novel paints a vivid picture of the hard and rough-hewn life of American pioneers on their Westward journey” - STARRED LIBRARY JOURNAL REVIEW