Summary

Ohio, 1838: James and Sadie Goodenough have settled in the Black Swamp, planting apple trees to claim the land as their own. As fever picks off their children, husband and wife take solace in separate comforts.
Fifteen years later their youngest son, Robert, is drifting through gold rush California. 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.
©2016 Tracy Chevalier (P)2016 W F Howes Ltd
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By G. Rance on 10-04-16

Another brilliant book by Tracey Chevalier

What made the experience of listening to At the Edge of the Orchard the most enjoyable?

I enjoyed listening to the story about a family while learning about a period in history and a subject I've never even thought about really-who knew apple growing could be so interesting? Tracey Chevalier has a way of entwining a human story with history that brings her books to life.

Have you listened to any of Liza Ross’s other performances? How does this one compare?

no, but I liked her narration.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Yes,definitely. Sadie, the mother, is very unlikeable as is the Father. Robert's story is amazing and Martha's life made me want to cry, she was so badly treated by her mother and had a terrible childhood. The family had such a tough life which you can imagine is very true of many families at that time.

Any additional comments?

Wonderful book, highly recommended, I'm working through the rest of Tracey's books and look forward to her next one.

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10 of 10 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By Suzy on 01-10-16

Sadly not the author's best (for me)

I loved The Last Chevalier and enjoyed Remarkable Creatures, but sadly this novel didn't live up to expectations. The story follows a woman living with her family in the black swamp and the difficulties they have trying to make a living on the farm. There is a lot of info about the orchard and apples. The wife is an odd person who wishes they lived elsewhere and has a difficult relationship with her husband.

It then switches to the son's story - after he has left the black swamp - told through letters and up to a point where we switch back in time to find the reason he left. There's a lot of info here about trees as he finds his way in the world and his joy in nature.

Unfortunately I found this structure disjointed and I didn't much like any of the characters. From the book blurb I thought the book would be about the journey to the swamp but it wasn't. There were moments that should have touched me emotionally but I felt removed from them because of the writing style.

On the plus side, the narration was great, with lots of voices to help differentiate characters. This made it an easy listen. I don't think I would've continued to listen if the narration hadn't been as good. It's not a terrible book, just rather slow and dull with unlikeable characters. I was just disappointed after liking the author's previous novels so much.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Gavin Ralphs on 05-04-16

Great experience and so well written

I enjoyed the earthy simplicity and untold toils of the family. The focus on nature was a wonderful escape from our fast paced world.

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