Review : At The Edge of the Orchard

There are authors I’ll always grab if I find them sitting on the shelf at the thrift store. Tracy Chevalier stood out like a sword in a stone. I read The Girl with a Pearl Earring years ago and remember fawning over it. In my hands now was her book, “At the Edge of the Orchard” and I knew something good was waiting for me in these pages.

Tracey Chevalier is a historical fiction writer. The time period for this book – 19th century America, I really enjoy reading about, watching movies about, this book was right up my ally – during the time of the Gold Rush, westward expansion, a story about a man and apple seeds.

The story goes deeper and roots play a metaphorical purpose in this story – where we decide to uproot ourselves, the people involved in our own family tree, and the way Tracy describes the trees to you, you almost wouldn’t believe it. I’m determined to see the Red Woods and Sequoias my self.

Her attention to detail makes it to where every scene in the book is touched with Rembrandt lighting, right off from the start you have two characters that are as opposite as sweet and sour. I love her attention to historical details and had no idea that some of the characters in her book are based off of real naturalists.

Each character has their own depth, and although the characters do things that make your mouth drop, you don’t turn the other way or judge them harshly. Tracy did an amazing job writing a story capturing how brutal this time in history was. It was no easy livin’.

I enjoyed how she told this story as well – I remember liking how she weaved her book The Girl with a Pearl Earring and At the Edge of the Orchard was put together with an expert hand, the way you admire a family quilt that’s been passed down through generations.

This was my first 5 star read this year 2020. I decided for my 5 star reads I’m going to create an EP playlist for this book. These are songs that I think really capture the atmosphere of the story, as well as including lyrics about trees.

“Then he saw the stump, looming several feet above him. A ladder leaned against it, and Robert climbed up and gazed at the surface. It was twenty-five feet across and rough, though a man was busy filing it smooth while two other were building a set of stairs that would take people more easily to the top of it. Robert studied the hundreds of rings radiating out from the center. He did not step onto the stump, vowing to himself he never would.”

1. Budding Trees – Nahko and Medicine for the People
2. Resilient – Rising Appalchains
3. Fire on the Mountains – Marshall Tucker Band
4. Walk Away – Xavier Rudd

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