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The Purchase Kindle Edition

3.8 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Length: 368 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

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Praise for The Purchase
 • "The Purchase is an epic novel in every way that matters - in scope, depth, and heart." -- Jury citation, Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize
 • "Engrossing.... One of the finest historical novels in recent years." -- National Post
 • "Imbued with the power of myth." -- Globe and Mail
 • "A complex and engaging novel . . . Hardy-esque." -- Ottawa Citizen

Product Description

In 1798, Daniel Dickinson, a young Quaker father and widower, leaves his home in Pennsylvania to establish a new life. He sets out with two horses, a wagonful of belongings, his five children, a 15-year-old orphan wife, and a few land warrants for his future homestead. When Daniel suddenly trades a horse for a young slave, Onesimus, it sets in motion a struggle in his conscience that will taint his life forever, and sets in motion a chain of events that lead to two murders and the family's strange relationship with a runaway slave named Bett.

Stripped down and as hard-edged as the realities of pioneer life, Spalding's writing is nothing short of stunning, as it instantly envelops the reader in the world and time of the novel, and follows the lives of unforgettable characters. Inspired by stories of the author's own ancestors, The Purchase is a resonant, powerful and timeless novel.

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 3629 KB
  • Print Length: 368 pages
  • Publisher: McClelland & Stewart (Sept. 25 2012)
  • Sold by: Random House Canada, Incorp.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007QPHITI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #59,135 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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By Luanne Ollivier #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on Oct. 9 2012
Format: Hardcover
Linda Spalding's new novel The Purchase is a finalist for the Governor General's Literary Award for Fiction. Trust me, it's an absolute must read.

1798. Daniel Dickinson is a devout Quaker. But when his wife dies leaving him with five young children and he quickly marries Ruth, a fifteen year old orphan, he is cast out of the fellowship. With no home and no community, he then packs his family in a wagon and heads to Virginia to homestead. At an auction to buy needed farming tools, Daniel instead ends up with a young slave boy. As an abolitionist, this goes against everything he believes in. This purchase is the catalyst for a series of events that will change the lives of family, friends, enemies and more.

I literally hurtled through the first part of The Purchase. Spalding drew me into the lives of the Dickinson family. The characters are exceptionally well drawn. Daniel struggles with his ownership of Onesimus, his marriage to a girl he doesn't even know, his efforts to build a new life for his children in a wilderness that he is ill prepared for and trying to follow his beliefs. His oldest daughter Mary is stubborn, petulant, wilful but also kind and giving. But not to her stepmother. But it is quiet, silent Ruth that I was most drawn to. And to the slave Bett as well. There is a large cast of characters, each bringing a turn in the tale. And all elicit strong emotions and reactions. The interactions between the players sets up an almost tangible sense of foreboding.

I stopped after part one, which ends on a cataclysmic note, to gather my thoughts. Where could the story go from here? I started part two a few days later and didn't put the book down until I turned the last page. And then I sat and thought again.
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Format: Hardcover
Linda Spalding is a writer based in Toronto. The Purchase is the story of a Quaker family that settles in Virginia in 1798.

Though the Quakers were abolitionist - opposed to slavery - through an inadvertent, almost delirious purchase, Daniel Dickinson finds himself the owner of a young slave boy, Onesimus.

This is an exceptionally well-crafted novel, and the writing style is very evocative of the period and authentic in its details: historical fiction at its very best.

It is often hard for us to understand today the theme of "man against nature", and how unforgiving the American wilderness was before it was settled. Throughout this great novel, there is a constant sense of how difficult the circumstances of day-to-day life were during this period.

There is also a very finely drawn portrait of the ubiquity of Christian belief at the time. Though Daniel owns a copy of the Aeneid, a biblical interpretation of the world is omnipresent. There may be differences between denominations in their interpretation of the bible, but there is universal acknowledgement that biblical quotes explain everything of consequence in the world, including an unbreakable natural law.

The reality of slavery is conveyed without exaggeration, but with brutal, heart-breaking honesty.

Early in the novel there is a gripping scene in which Onesimus breaks his leg, and Mary, the elder daughter of the family runs desperately to seek assistance at the nearest farm. She has taken the lot of this slave boy to heart, and we sense her desperation as she worries about him, and her strong sense of relief when she is able to help him. She genuinely regards him as a human being, whereas for others he is essentially an animal to be worked, like an ox or a horse.

Linda Spalding has done an absolutely brilliant job of creating an enthralling story, with impeccable writing, page after page.

A truly great novel, 5 stars!
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Format: Hardcover
This book makes you think about so many things. The title, surrounding a purchase made by the main character Daniel which changes the trajectory of his life. The tree pictured on the front of the book also plays huge significance in the book. The story is so enthraling and thought provoking. But its the writing that just grabs you and sweeps you into this story. I found myself rereading passages over as they were so moving and so well written.
One of my favorites of this book, and it has many; is the 2 pages 170-171, right before part 2, and also pages 180-184. But the book is so well written, its really the entire story. Loved this book. I look forward to her next book.
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Format: Kindle Edition
This book is fascinating and I would recommend it to anyone with Quaker ancestry or ancestry from the frontier territory of the US.

My only hesitation is that I wish she would have looked more at the effects of female exploitation and the full scope of the "bad Quakerism." This man violated many of the basic prinicples of Quakers but the original problem (and violation) was that he and his deceased wife had too many children too fast (the Quakers were big into family planning and had a concept of child development, understanding you needed to invest in each child, and that human beings were not made to have many children, as the female mortality rates in pregnancy and delivery showed). Then he accomplished the trifecta violation of marrying a teenager, who was an orphan servant (a type of "sexual harassment"?), and had even more children.
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