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3.7 out of 5
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  • Not a fan!

    At the Edge of the Orchard by Tracy Chevalier is not what I expected. James Goodenough and his wife, Sadie leave Connecticut (and the rest of the Goodenough family) to find a farm of their own. They end up in Black Swamp, Ohio (because it was so muddy they could go no further). James and Sadie had ten children (but only five lived because of swamp fever from the mosquitoes). Life is hard in the swamp, but James is determined to make a go of his apple orchard. James and Sadie do not get along. Sadie resents the apples (because her husband pays more attention to the apples than her) and does her best to sabotage the trees. Sadie is a drunk (on applejack) the majority of the time. Things do not end well for the couple and their youngest son, Robert takes off. We then have a series of letters that explain what Robert did for the next seventeen years. Robert ends up working for William Lobb as a plant collector in California. We get to see how his growing up years affected the rest of his life and the choices he makes. At the Edge of the Orchard was okay. I normally love Tracy Chevalier's books, but I was not a fan of this one. It is a slow paced book with unengaging characters. Parts of the book are told in the first person (Sadie and James) point-of-view. Sadie's part is hard to understand with her backwards way of talking (and accent). The rest is told in the third person (about Robert). The descriptions of the apples, the orchards, and the plants/trees in California were lovely and interesting. The pace of the novel, though, is slow (I think apples grow faster). The writing is good, but the story is depressing. There is domestic violence, foul language, sex, and incest in this novel (just fair warning). I give At the Edge of the Orchard 3 out of 5 stars. I received a complimentary copy of the book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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  • Bitter sweet apples

    Easy read.. Sad, geographical saga...story of strife and struggle and family disconnecting . tragic yet it leaves you hopeful

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