Everyday through December I’m publishing a blog post with a short review of one of my favourite books of 2019. Then I will publish a post with my favourite top ten at the beginning of January.
Today it’s The Edge Of The Orchard by Tracy Chevalier
In the inhospitable Black Swamp of Ohio, the Goodenough family are barely scratching out a living. Life there is harsh, tempered only by the apples they grow for eating and for the cider that dulls their pain. Hot-headed Sadie and buttoned-up James are a poor match, and Robert and his sister Martha can only watch helplessly as their parents tear each other apart. One particularly vicious fight sends Robert out alone across America, far from his sister, to seek his fortune among the mighty redwoods and sequoias of Gold Rush California. But even across a continent, he can feel the pull of family loyalties…
I admit this book had been on my bookshelf for quite some time. I’m not sure why, because I love the author’s writing, but recently I pulled it off the shelf and I loved it. It is a remarkable tale about a family eking out a life in the Black Swamp of Ohio and the effect waring parents have on their young children. It is also a story about Robert who manages to escape this toxic environment. His life is one of adventure, but he never forgets where he was running from. Tracey Chevalier manages to capture the violence and claustrophobia of a marriage that becomes poisonous and the stunning landscape of Robert’s journey across America.
About the author
Tracy is the author of 10 novels, including the international bestseller GIRL WITH A PEARL EARRING, which has sold over 5 million copies and been made into an Oscar-nominated film starring Scarlett Johansson and Colin Firth.