Nature and nurture collide in bitter frontier family saga

At the Edge of the Orchard; By Tracy Chevalier; Borough Press, €17.25

21st February, 2016
Tracy Chevalier: brilliantly describes a marriage made in hell Picture: Getty

But I couldn’t help thinking of it when reading Tracy Chevalier’s new novel, the story of a 19th century American family whose lives are dominated by the growing, planting and collecting of trees and plants.

Alas, while Gilbert managed to make her botanical subject interesting to those of us who barely know one end of a spade from another, Chevalier’s new novel never quite blooms.

It begins in 1838...

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