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At the Edge of the Orchard

Narrated by: Liza Ross
Length: 8 hrs and 50 mins
Categories: Fiction, Historical
4 out of 5 stars (122 ratings)

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Summary

Ohio, 1838: James and Sadie Goodenough have settled in the Black Swamp, planting apple trees to claim the land as their own. As fever picks off their children, husband and wife take solace in separate comforts.

Fifteen years later their youngest son, Robert, is drifting through gold rush California. When he finds steady work for a plant collector, peace seems finally to be within reach. But the past is never really past, and one day Robert is forced to confront the brutal reason he left behind everything he loved.

©2016 Tracy Chevalier (P)2016 W F Howes Ltd

What members say

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Another brilliant book by Tracey Chevalier

What made the experience of listening to At the Edge of the Orchard the most enjoyable?

I enjoyed listening to the story about a family while learning about a period in history and a subject I've never even thought about really-who knew apple growing could be so interesting? Tracey Chevalier has a way of entwining a human story with history that brings her books to life.

Have you listened to any of Liza Ross’s other performances? How does this one compare?

no, but I liked her narration.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Yes,definitely. Sadie, the mother, is very unlikeable as is the Father. Robert's story is amazing and Martha's life made me want to cry, she was so badly treated by her mother and had a terrible childhood. The family had such a tough life which you can imagine is very true of many families at that time.

Any additional comments?

Wonderful book, highly recommended, I'm working through the rest of Tracey's books and look forward to her next one.

10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Sadly not the author's best (for me)

I loved The Last Chevalier and enjoyed Remarkable Creatures, but sadly this novel didn't live up to expectations. The story follows a woman living with her family in the black swamp and the difficulties they have trying to make a living on the farm. There is a lot of info about the orchard and apples. The wife is an odd person who wishes they lived elsewhere and has a difficult relationship with her husband.

It then switches to the son's story - after he has left the black swamp - told through letters and up to a point where we switch back in time to find the reason he left. There's a lot of info here about trees as he finds his way in the world and his joy in nature.

Unfortunately I found this structure disjointed and I didn't much like any of the characters. From the book blurb I thought the book would be about the journey to the swamp but it wasn't. There were moments that should have touched me emotionally but I felt removed from them because of the writing style.

On the plus side, the narration was great, with lots of voices to help differentiate characters. This made it an easy listen. I don't think I would've continued to listen if the narration hadn't been as good. It's not a terrible book, just rather slow and dull with unlikeable characters. I was just disappointed after liking the author's previous novels so much.

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Stunning

The thing about Tracy Chevalier is that she can take a completely random subject, such as the growing of trees and particularly apples, and weave around it a truly magical story. The result is not only an education but a feeling of 'Wholeness' that will stay with me for days alongside the glow of a beautiful novel.

I'm glad I listened to this book rather than read it as Liza Ross added greatly to the storytelling with all the beautiful accents she brought along. I have read quite a few of this authors books now and have enjoyed them all to varying degrees. But this, and the Last Runaway are by far my favourites....up to now anyway!

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Great characters and strong plotting

Would you consider the audio edition of At the Edge of the Orchard to be better than the print version?

Tracy Chevalier writes well and is an interesting read and listen.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Tracey Chevalier creates strong characters and even the minor players have personality. They're all plausible and full f life.

Which character – as performed by Liza Ross – was your favourite?

I like all.

Any additional comments?

What a wonderful blend of loosely fact based fiction. Strong sense of time and place, lively dialogue and a story that draws you in and keeps you engrossed.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

gets better at about half way through!

What did you like best about At the Edge of the Orchard? What did you like least?

I liked the development of Robert's character. At the beginning it was so grim, I found it depressing

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

A good and realistic ending

What about Liza Ross’s performance did you like?

accent seemed realistic and good intonation

Could you see At the Edge of the Orchard being made into a movie or a TV series? Who would the stars be?

Not really

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A Very Good Story

I've read a couple of this remarkable authors books before and wasn't dissapointed with this one. Half way through I turned to Audible to finish it for me, I really enjoyed the verbal re-enactment.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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An unusual story

It is a book you have to stick with to appreciate. Enjoyed it though different

  • Overall
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    4 out of 5 stars

slow story but intriguing

wasn't sure if all the information regarding trees was useful to the narrative but actually it laid the foundation of this novel. I now want to know what happened next!

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Intelligent, informative, engrossing<br />

Loved it ... great read. Good narration too. My third Tracy Chevallier, can't wait to read some more .

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Love Tracy Chevalier!

In 1838 James and Sadie Goodenough are fighting about apple trees having lived 9 years in Ohio's Black Swamp!

The family struggle. They are in debt. Almost every year they have lost a child to swamp fever. Five out of their 10 children remain.

This fight is to prove momentous & lead us to follow the paths of Robert & Martha - Robert has the love of trees!

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  • Gavin Ralphs
  • 05-04-16

Great experience and so well written

I enjoyed the earthy simplicity and untold toils of the family. The focus on nature was a wonderful escape from our fast paced world.