At the Edge of the Orchard – Tracy Chevalier

Dec 12

At the Edge of the Orchard – Tracy Chevalier

One of my all-time favorite books is Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier. So, any time that I see a title by this author, I grab it up, even if I don’t know one thing about the story. Some times that strategy works out for me, other times it does not.

In the mid 1800s, James and Sadie move their family from Connecticut to the swamps of Ohio. James has a dream: he wants to build roots, literally and figuratively. James is an apple tree man; in order to claim a plot of land, he needs fifty trees. He and his family, with the help of John Chapman (aka Mr. Appleseed), work persistently to make the orchard a success. The problem? James is overbearing and violent, Sadie is a promiscuous alcoholic, and the kids keep dying from swamp fever. The youngest son, Robert, finds his way across America to California. He becomes a miner and a tree expert, proving once again that it is nearly impossible to escape your past.

As always, I love the way that Ms. Chevalier writes. This story, sadly, boiled down to one tragedy after another, surrounded by the history and science of apple trees. 

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