The Purchase by Linda Spalding

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 4 Critic Reviews

...the bleak story lacks enough space to process the endless supply of tragedy.
-Publishers Weekly


Winner of Canada's 2012 Governor General's Award for Fiction
In this provocative and starkly beautiful historical novel, a Quaker family moves from Pennsylvania to the Virginia frontier, where slaves are the only available workers and where the family’s values and beliefs are sorely tested.
In 1798, Daniel Dickinson, recently widowed and shunned by his fellow Quakers when he marries his young servant girl to help with his five small children, moves his shaken family down the Wilderness Road to the Virginia/Kentucky border. Although determined to hold on to his Quaker ways, and despite his most dearly held belief that slavery is a sin, Daniel becomes the owner of a young boy named Onesimus, setting in motion a twisted chain of events that will lead to tragedy and murder, forever changing his children’s lives and driving the book to an unexpected conclusion.
A powerful novel of sacrifice and redemption set in a tiny community on the edge of the frontier, this spellbinding narrative unfolds around Daniel’s struggle to maintain his faith; his young wife, Ruth, who must find her own way; and Mary, the eldest child, who is bound to a runaway slave by a terrible secret. Darkly evocative, The Purchase is as hard-edged as the realities of pioneer life. Its memorable characters, drawn with compassion and depth, are compellingly human, with lives that bring light to matters of loyalty and conscience.

This ebook edition includes a reading group guide.  


About Linda Spalding

See more books from this Author
Linda Spalding was born and raised in Kansas. She is the author of three previous novels and two acclaimed works of nonfiction, A Dark Place in the Jungle, which was short-listed for the Trillium Book Award and the Pearson Writers' Trust Non-Fiction Prize, and Who Named the Knife. The Purchase received Canada's prestigious Governor General's Award for English-language fiction. Spalding lives in Toronto, where she is an editor of the literary magazine Brick.

Author Residence: Toronto, Canada

Author Hometown: Kansas
Published August 6, 2013 by Anchor. 385 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
Add Critic Review

Critic reviews for The Purchase
All: 4 | Positive: 3 | Negative: 1

Publishers Weekly

Below average
on Jun 10 2013

...the bleak story lacks enough space to process the endless supply of tragedy.

Read Full Review of The Purchase | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly


Above average
on Jun 09 2013

...a serious, probing look at the interaction of character and environment during a seminal period in American history.

Read Full Review of The Purchase | See more reviews from Kirkus

NY Journal of Books

Reviewed by Jeremy McGuire on Aug 06 2013

It is said that a great work of art moves us on four levels: entertainment, instruction, inspiration and enlightenment. Rarely are all four found in one volume. The Purchase is one of those rarities.

Read Full Review of The Purchase | See more reviews from NY Journal of Books

National Post arts

Reviewed by Philip Marchand on Oct 05 2012

Otherwise readers are free to come to their conclusions. In so doing, they will find themselves immersed in a powerful mood, a feeling of something dark and brooding and yet bracing, in one of the finest historical novels in recent years.

Read Full Review of The Purchase | See more reviews from National Post arts

Reader Rating for The Purchase

An aggregated and normalized score based on 64 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes

Rate this book!

Add Review