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.
"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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Very disappointing and a waste of time.