AT THE EDGE OF THE ORCHARD
By Tracy Chevalier
The novel tells the tale of Sadie and James Goodenough who are stuck in the Black Swamp, Ohio, where they hope to grow an apple orchard in 1838. The inhabitable and desolate environment of deathly frosts takes lives year on year and almost mirrors the couple’s terribly troubled marriage.
A glimmer of hope that almost drowns in the sacrifice and death that shapes the narrative.
Paralleling the couple’s disillusionment, Chevalier gives an insight into the Goodenough’s youngest son, Robert, as he heads West to California’s gold rush where his story is told in an epistolary style, contrasting the couple’s misery and helplessness while they are both metaphorically and literally stuck in the swamp.
The tale is gloomy and melancholy but her writing portrays a glimmer of hope that almost drowns in the sacrifice and death that shapes the narrative.
By Paul Finch
The novel is set between northern Manchester and Crowley around the time that the mining and industrialisation had gone. The protagonist, Lucy Clayburn, is put on a case, not as a detective, but as a decoy, attempting to gain the trust of the working girls on the streets of Manchester to gain information about a potential female murderer.
Finch’s wonderfully macabre and gripping thriller that is not for the faint hearted.
However, becoming accustomed to the danger of this environment she tumbles into treacherous situations working herself into the ground and being taken off the case. Of course, Clayburn cannot leave the case alone and defies orders. With Paul Finch being described as the greatest detective novelist at the moment, this is a treat to read.
I could not put this book down and this is due to Finch’s masterful story telling of this wonderfully macabre and gripping thriller that is not for the faint hearted.