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Publisher's Summary

From internationally best-selling author Tracy Chevalier, a riveting drama of a pioneer family on the American frontier.
It's 1838. James and Sadie Goodenough have settled where their wagon got stuck - in the muddy, stagnant swamps of Northwest Ohio. They and their five children work relentlessly to tame their patch of land, buying saplings from a local tree man known as John Appleseed so they can cultivate the 50 apple trees required to stake their claim on the property. But the orchard they plant sows the seeds of a long battle. James loves the apples, reminders of an easier life back in Connecticut, while Sadie prefers the applejack they make, an alcoholic refuge from brutal frontier life.
It's 1853. Their youngest child, Robert, is wandering through Gold Rush California. Restless and haunted by the broken family he left behind, he has made his way alone across the country. In the redwood and giant sequoia groves, he finds some solace, collecting seeds for a naturalist who sells plants from the new world to the gardeners of England. But you can run only so far, even in America, and when Robert's past makes an unexpected appearance, he must decide whether to strike out again or stake his own claim to a home at last.
Chevalier tells a fierce, beautifully crafted story in At the Edge of the Orchard, her most graceful and richly imagined work yet.
©2016 Tracy Chevalier (P)2016 Penguin Audio
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Critic Reviews

"A rich, well-researched novel - it's the story of one young woman becoming an American." (NPR, All Things Considered)
"Well-told and engrossing.... With compelling characters and swift pacing, 'The Last Runaway' adds a worthy new chapter to a story that has consumed generations." ( USA Today)
"Irresistible." ( O, The Oprah Magazine)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By cheryl retired bookseller on 05-30-17

The performance was superb

I listened to this as I worked in my garden. What a perfect match of book to task. I even learned new lessons. This book was well worth my time and I will have fond memories of our time together.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By TC on 02-03-17

It's Good Enough

My goodness, but don't the Goodenough's put the fun in dysfunctional? The death of the parents (no spoilers, don't worry) was the most horrific/funny scene I've encountered in a good long while. The human characters portray the bleak slog that is life, the hopelessness that life can become, and the redemption that life offers, and they do all this in the most morose, downtrodden circumstances. The other characters are the flora and fauna; the apples, especially the Golden Pippen, the apple trees, the California sequoia, the seeds. This story of struggle and ultimate redemption left me unsettled. Even Robert, who ultimately finds his way out of the dark abyss of life, is a broken soul. There are no sympathetic characters here, no one to root for, except maybe the spindly Golden Pippen trees struggling for survival in the wilderness.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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