What the bloggers say: 


Random Things Through My Letterbox, 26/02/2016

“I was loathe to put this novel down for even one minute.”


Miss Chapters Reviews, 29/02/2016

Amusing at times, and at others, very moving. A mesmerising read.”


The Writes of Woman, 07/03/2016

At the Edge of the Orchard is a superb novel. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see it on tomorrow’s Bailey’s Prize longlist.”


The Last Word Book Review, 08/03/2016

“A superbly written novel that highlights the struggles of those early settlers trying to make a life for themselves in the Black Swamp.”


Rebecca Mascull, 11/03/2016

“A novel of complex imagery … exploring the search for immortality and a connection to the natural world that perhaps we all have: the call of the wild, the desire to make an impression on the landscape, the need for family and home.”

[Chevalier's] descriptions of life in the Black Swamp, of the love/hate relationship between Sadie and James, of the magnificent beauty of the giant trees and the unexpected twists of fate ... are realistic and compassionate." ... "a well written tale about people with courage, including strong women who make the best of what life offers."
*Spoiler Alert!* No link provided because this review contains plot spoilers.

"Atmospherically, Chevalier is a gifted conjuror of the sweaty, unwashed bedding of 19th-century America."

"[Robert's] sweet, sad epistolary accounts of many failed employment efforts (snake oil salesman, gold miner, stable boy) are a diversion after the brutal realism of the swamp." ... "The first third of At the Edge of the Orchard is as sour as a 'spitter', but the rest is an entertaining gobble."
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"What an extraordinary talent Tracy Chevalier has for creating a sense of place." .... "I felt as if I'd travelled Robert's journey from the Black Swamp to the open ocean with him every step of the way and you can't really ask for more than that."
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"Chevalier's excellently researched latest brings to life a seminal chapter in American history, reaching from the frontier swampland of Ohio to the seedy towns of California in the Gold Rush. Though Jonny Appleseed makes appearances, there's no dewy-eyed nostalgia here. A compelling look at what was lost and gained in the westward expansion."
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"With impeccable research and flawless prose, Chevalier perfectly conjures the grandeur of the pristine Wild West … the bawdiness of the period, and the commanding needs of the everyday adventurers who were bold enough or foolish enough to be drawn to the unknown." ... "She crafts for us an excellent experience."
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"Chevalier's prose is by turns muscular, raw and sumptuous." … "The hardback is so beautifully designed that the whole reading experience is as rich a pleasure as the novel itself."
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"Like 'Girl with a Pearl Earring,' 'At the Edge of the Orchard' paints a picture of a time and place … with nuanced and fascinating characters. It begins with hopelessness and disillusionment, but like a carefully nurtured seedling … blossoms into a story of hope for the future."
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"A novel of raw beauty [about] people chasing illusions in the California goldfields as well as the Ohio swamps, and its rare depth and breadth is enhanced by subtle characterisation. A richly rewarding read."
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"A densely packed tale of fruit, roots, family and hardship … an intense and disturbing portrait of life on the edge – in all senses; it is vividly visual"
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"It is past pain that binds [these characters] in love, and this portrait of the tenderness of sibling love is in some ways Chevalier's greatest achievement."
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“Chevalier has created a patchwork of stories in which some pieces stand out more than others; together they form a picture of lives wrested from an unforgiving land, but with a promise of renewal."
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