Reviews: At the Edge of the Orchard/ How to Measure a Cow
Bookseller Anne Haas reviews Tracy Chevalier's At the Edge of the Orchard and Margaret Foster's How to Measure a Cow.
Tracy Chevalier’s spares no details in her new novel At the Edge of the Orchard. Set in 19th Century Ohio, the Black Swamp homes pioneer family, the Goodenoughs,
Not only is Chevalier’s research reflected in her rich description of the Black Swamp but she introduces another dimension into her writing through the introduction of historical characters such as John ‘Johnny Appleseed’ Chapman in from whom the family get their seeds and
The element of epistolary works brilliantly within the novel to highlight Robert’s travels through North America, from Ohio up to Canada and then through to Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin, Missouri, Texas and then California as he encounters the Californian Gold Rush. The way in which Chevalier depicts Robert’s literary abilities as he becomes more educated is representative of the era and his growth as a working man, which gives the novel depth and an honest reflection of the time.
Chevalier’s work is evocative, and fierce, rich with the impact of family ties and a strong sense of hope for not only Robert and his family but the seedlings he plants and the trees he watches grow.
If you like the idea of resettlement and rural life try Margaret Foster’s latest and sadly last novel, How to Measure a Cow. Protagonist Tara Fraser leaves her home in
Foster, has yet again, produced an intriguing and realistic read
"The work of a novelist in her prime… the narrative is taut and suspenseful, the characterisation complex and dynamic." - The Guardian