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. 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 The Last Runaway: 'I have always admired Tracy Chevalier's un-showy brilliance, and this moving story of a young English Quaker girl trapped between duty and conscience in 1850s Ohio is the best thing she's written since Girl with a Pearl Earring' Rose Tremain The Last Runaway is a joy to read. Chevalier handles the intersection of two stories - those of pioneering Quakers and escaping slaves - with verve, imagination and, above all, compassion' Maggie O'Farrell 'A brave, warm-hearted, moving book; the characters are well-drawn and credible; the local colour meticulously detailed' Joanne Harris 'By far her best book since Girl With A Pearl Earring if not better' Amanda Craig 'Chevalier places her heroine at the heart, constructing a synergy between character and plot that makes this novel exquisitely complete... addictively compelling... Honor Bright deserves a sequel' THE TIMES 'Her best since Girl With a Pearl Earring... as a serious novel about a genuine moral dilemma, it is highly recommended' THE INDEPENDENT 'Chevalier immerses herself in period and place. Her research, as always, is meticulous and lightly worn... an entertaining read' THE GUARDIAN 'Chevalier's eye for the telling detail brings it vividly to life. As simple and plain as a Quaker bonnet, but, like a Quaker soul, it contains a hidden light' LITERARY REVIEW 'A gripping and potent novel which shows Chevalier at the height of her powers' THE EXPRESS 'Tracy Chevalier has found a subject that both fascinates and moves her and the result is this quietly powerful and gripping novel' THE MAIL 'An accomplished historical novelist, and she successfully evokes the texture of life in the antebellum Midwest' INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY
Tracy Chevalier is the author of seven novels, including Burning Bright, Remarkable Creatures, The Lady and the Unicorn and The Last Runaway. Girl with a Pearl Earring is an international bestseller and was longlisted for the Orange Prize in 2000. Born in Washington DC, in 1984 she moved to London, where she lives with her husband and son.