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At the Edge of the Orchard



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Author
Chevalier, Tracy
Descriptors
Epistolary Novels
Families
Family Relationships
Farm Life
Frontier Life
Gold Rush
Historical Fiction
Historical Fiction-American
Settlers
Trees
Wilderness, American
Young Men
Location/Setting:
California
Ohio
Time Period:
1830s
1840s
1850s
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Summary
In 1838, James and Sadie Goodenough are homesteading with their five remaining children in the miserable Black Swamp of Ohio. Their land claim is dependent on the survival of their apple orchard --38 trees which are the source of an ongoing war between the couple. James loves the sweet apples his family brought over from England and Sadie wants sour apples for cider and applejack to quench her love for alcohol. When tragedy strikes, their young son Robert runs away, fleeing west. Working in turns as a cowboy, a snake oil salesman, a prospector and finally, in California, a plant collector, Robert is shocked when his past catches up to him, and finds that his life must change once again.
Critique
This expertly researched historical novel educates readers about apples, redwoods, Ohio's Black Swamp, and how cross-country travel worked in the 19th-Century. It is also a gripping read about a dysfunctional family pitted against difficult living situations and a young man's journey to self-discovery. At times, both a heart-breaking and uplifting read.
ISBN
9780525953005
  iBistro
# of Pages
289
Published
2016
Formats
Reviewer's Initials: CO


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