Tuesday 14 March 2017

At the Edge of the Orchard by Tracy Chevalier

I do enjoy a read that leaves behind more than just the story, especially ones that inform and educate, even when it is unintentional.

I think it is fair to say the story is about trees, yeh I know it's also about family and relationship, but darn it there are a heck of a lot of trees.

At first I thought, where is the author going with this, but then I have to admit Chevalier drew me in with all the seeds, grafting and complexities of apple trees.

On a side note, I enjoyed reading about the transport, import and export of plants and trees from foreign countries to more affluent ones. Unfortunately the foreign horticulture would often perish in the new climate.

Aside from the dysfunctional family and the trees, for me the story was also about Robert becoming the man he was always destined to be. He is his father's son, regardless of what Sadie said to him. Her words are the catalyst to his emotional turmoil and the reason for his journeys.

Chevalier excels at giving the reader the same sense of awe and excitement at discovering the country and those giant trees. The majestic sequoias of Calaveras. It intrigued me so much I looked it up online, and I might just have a wee hankering for dancing on a giant tree stump now.

Aside from the tree and family perspective, the story also gives an interesting insight into the America of that particular era, especially in regards to early settlers. During almost two decades of travel Robert tries to remain in contact with his family. The sporadic letters scattered across the country are indicative of how family branches could lose contact completely in those times.

It is a beautiful read, albeit one that made me want to go forth and eat apples, especially ones that taste of honey and pineapples. It's the kind of book you remember.

Buy At the Edge of the Orchard at Amazon uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

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