Tracy Chevalier is one of my favourite writers so I always look forward to reading something new from her. At the Edge of the Orchard is set in the 1800s and tells a story that deals with not only the history of apple trees and Johnny Appleseed, but also the California Goldrush and giant sequoias. I can honestly say that I’ve never read anything quite like it. Even though it took me a little while to really get into the book and start caring about the characters, now that I’m about two-thirds of the way through I’m really curious how it will end. As you’d expect, there are some really great passages about apples in At the Edge of the Orchard. This one has been my favourite so far:
“Most of the apples were not quite ready. They had grown to full size but were still green, with red creeping across here and there. James preferred them now, before they could be eaten, when they hung on trees and promised much. It was like finding a wife but not yet marrying her — lusting after her and now knowing about her temper or her laziness or her roving eye. These apples might end up mushy and full of worm holes or as bruised windfalls only good for cooking — but they were not yet. On the trees, they were perfect.”
You can read more about the story and its background on Tracy Chevalier’s website.
What are you reading?