A story about the fate of the Goodenough family, who move West from Connecticut and settle in Black Swamp, Ohio bringing their family apple seedlings with them that form the foundation of their farming as well the differences between the matriarch and patriarch of the family. Son, Robert continues on West as soon as he’s old enough to leave. He leaves behind the family under mysterious circumstances and pursues a variety of work until he finds work with trees again. However, the past resurfaces and brings joy and pain with its resurgence.
I loved how the story of settlers in this book started out, with the struggle against nature and the complex and destructive relationship between husband and wife James and Sadie Goodenough. However, the book undoubtedly has a lot of technical information about trees in particular and botany in general and although I do not have a specific deep interest in trees and plants, which is unfortunate as a significant part of the story centers around this theme, I was still able to appreciate the story of the Goodenoughs woven through this book.
In my opinion the technicality of trees was a little overdone and my preference would have been to read more about the character’s or the period. Despite this I persisted with the story and wasn’t disappointed as the last third was spectacular and I could not put it down.
I have not read any previous books by this author but this book definitely appealed to me and I look forward to picking up some of her well known titles.
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