Reviews

At the Edge of the Orchard, by Tracy Chevalier

fionabell's review against another edition

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emotional relaxing slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

2.5

runkefer's review against another edition

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2.0

A sort of picaresque, but without the requisite humor. Characters fairly flat.

theskinofa_killer_'s review against another edition

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4.0

Wow. I really thought that I wouldn't like this book at all. As it turned out, it was actually pretty good. The cover is amazing and the plot is too. I love how the book transitions to different time periods. The characters are also well developed.

I don't really know what life was like in the 1800s. But, this story really captured the essence of it.

The book transitioned between several different points of view and also switched between first and third person. Usually, that would get on my nerves but it really worked for this book.

This story is a contemporary through and through and, surprisingly, I really liked it.

twocents's review against another edition

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3.0

The ending dragged on a bit, but otherwise, I enjoyed it.

lauraturpin's review against another edition

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5.0

To begin with, the whole basis of this story revolving around trees seemed naff and not the sort of story that would take my interest. But of course, it’s not just about trees.

The way Tracy Chevalier delves into an era I have never read about and also have very little knowledge of was so enlightening. I really appreciate how much research and reading would of went into this project and how well it was presented in the story.

There’s so much I loved about this book and will never regret spending a desperate €12 on a book I’d had not taken any interest in previously!

resoundingjoy's review against another edition

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4.0

I was not expecting to like this novel as much as I did! I downloaded it on a whim, and ended up finishing it in one afternoon. In particular, I found the idea of the apple trees as a symbol for a sense of history and familial heritage to be compelling, and the way that it was later reflected in Robert's fascination with the redwoods and sequoias.

I was rather disappointed that Martha's part of the story was cut off so abruptly. I think she had a lot of potential as a character and would have loved more about her life after Robert left the family. I know the focus was on Robert, but I think the novel could also have been great if it continued the James/Sadie contrasting perspectives with Robert/Martha.

kathrynamonett's review against another edition

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4.0

Chevalier is consistent. This book didn't disappoint.

bookloversboudoir's review against another edition

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4.0

Professional Reader

(copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley and voluntarily reviewed)

I found this book totally absorbing.

Chevalier knows her stuff. The world of the characters and the historical period really come to live. Her prose is rich, detailed and flawless. It was a joy to read this book. The setting became a character in the novel like the moors in Wuthering Heights (I disliked the book but oh, those moors gave me shivers).

This is a complex book with multiple narrators and different timelines but the author pulls this off with ease. I wasn’t lost or bewildered once. I love complex narratives with time shifts and multiple narrators and when it doesn’t go well the whole book can be a bewildering mess. That’s not the case here.

The characters are complex; light, dark, human, flawed, neither perfect or nasty. I was fascinated by dysfunctional relationship between James and Sadie, they have such opposing views it was surprising they were still married. I often wondered why they stayed together and in Black Swamp, a place of such misery.

zzvrrismm's review against another edition

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dark emotional reflective sad slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? No

4.0

katlikespie's review against another edition

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3.0

As always, Tracy Chevalier has written a beautiful book. Unlike others of hers that I have read, though, I wasn't taken in by the story. Things happened, and I watched them happen, and then it was over, and that was the end. I wasn't affected by the book, and I didn't really get invested in the plot, so as lovely as it was, I don't think I'd actually recommend this to anyone (unless they really love trees).

Bonus: Now I know a ton about trees, and how to make my own applejack, if I feel so inclined and have a barrel of cider I'm willing to part with.