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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
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...
Published on Oct. 9 2012 by Luanne Ollivier

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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A finely written novel with a fairly predictable storyline
This novel didn't do it for me, and I will briefly try to explain why.

First of all, it wasn't the writing style. Spalding did everything with her story she could, and this book was not difficult to read through.

However, the story itself falls into a fairly predictable mode. A moralistic, weak man is cast out of his community for his transgressions,...
Published 22 months ago by Rodge


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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, Oct. 9 2012
By 
Luanne Ollivier - See all my reviews
(TOP 10 REVIEWER)    (#1 HALL OF FAME)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Purchase (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.

Spalding's prose are rich, raw, powerful and oh, so evocative. She explores so much in The Purchase - freedom, faith, family, love, loss and more.

On reading the author's notes, I discovered that The Purchase is based on Spalding's own family history. She visited sites and settings that are used in the book. I think the personal connection added so much to the book.

Brilliant. One of my top reads for 2012. Can lit rocks!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An enthralling story, with impeccable writing, Oct. 5 2012
By 
sean s. (montreal) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Purchase (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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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars superb writing, Dec 2 2012
By 
Novel Girl (Alberta,Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Purchase (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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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A finely written novel with a fairly predictable storyline, Feb. 7 2013
By 
Rodge (Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Purchase (Hardcover)
This novel didn't do it for me, and I will briefly try to explain why.

First of all, it wasn't the writing style. Spalding did everything with her story she could, and this book was not difficult to read through.

However, the story itself falls into a fairly predictable mode. A moralistic, weak man is cast out of his community for his transgressions, then moves to another community with different values where he is unable to maintain his morality and self-respect. His family falls apart with his children going different ways. As the disaster develops, we come to a final crisis, and then the novel finishes with an ambiguous, vaguely redemptive conclusion.

Some of the avenues are interesting and the issue of slavery in the book is handled with wisdom, in my opinion. But in the final analysis, I can't call this an outstanding book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Had a hard time putting it down., Jan. 7 2013
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This review is from: The Purchase (Hardcover)
I really enjoyed this book, I found it hard to put down, it was such a simple life, but at the same time an extremely hard life, and I felt like I was there.
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1.0 out of 5 stars reading this book is an utter waste of time, May 11 2014
By 
Eva Kleinman (canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Purchase (Hardcover)
One of the most boring books I have ever read .The characters are one dimensional and difficult to identify with.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Purchase, March 7 2014
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This review is from: The Purchase (Hardcover)
A germ of truth is woven into a very interesting story of how religion and races coped with the realities of a tough pioneering spirit and physical tests of survival.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Read, Feb. 15 2014
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This review is from: The Purchase (Kindle Edition)
The storyline was quit unusual and interesting and the writing was good. However, I found the actions of the characters somewhat unbelievable at times. Their actions and logic didn't always make sense to me.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Not Spellbinding, Jan. 28 2014
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This review is from: The Purchase (Kindle Edition)
I had to push myself to finish this book as I really did not enjoy it very much. I found it a bit boring.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A good read, Dec 1 2013
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This review is from: The Purchase (Kindle Edition)
I enjoyed The Purchase because it had very interesting characters, although I felt parts of it were unrealistic. I can't imagine a black boy allowing himself to have relations with a white girl in the climate of those times the consequences were much too dire. A good story but unrealistic.
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The Purchase
The Purchase by Linda Spalding
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