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The Purchase

The Purchase [Kindle Edition]

Linda Spalding
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £8.99
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Product Description


'The haunting story of an early American Quaker family that kept me up all night till I'd read it. This 6-out-of-5 book is as gut-wrenching as it is beautiful and won't let you go, even if you wanted it to.' --The Bookbag

In Spalding s superb, superior historical-literary novel, the purchase is that of a slave boy by a Quaker widower, Daniel Dickinson, in 1780s Virginia. With five children to care for, and a hasty marriage to a young servant, Daniel s conflict between religion and his needs is played out against an intriguing, yet moving, tale of murder. --Lesley McDowell, The Herald

'In The Purchase, one man's unsettling betrayal of his own moral code creates unforeseen ripples that sweep over multiple generations. Thanks to Spalding;s compassion and the singulat brilliance of her narration, this transfixing novel weaves a tale that is both intimate in nature and, ultimately, huge in scope.' --Gil Adamson, author of The Outlander

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 wagon full 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: 428 KB
  • Print Length: 385 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1908737514
  • Publisher: Sandstone Press (19 Sep 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00EN8OTC0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #26,672 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The bad, the worse and the catastrophic. 11 Aug 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I found this a frustrating book to read. Let me say first of all that linguistically it is well written (hence the three stars) and to start with I had high hopes of it. The problem I found was that , not only is it a catalogue of unremitting gloom and disaster but also every single character in it behaves in the most stupid way imaginable and apparently acts without any discernable motive. Daniel refuses to send the servant he employed during his wife's illness back to the orphanage when Rebecca dies, he can't keep her in his house as a widower so he marries her (non consummated for years obviously) and is cast out by his Quaker community because she is a Methodist !! Why didn't he just marry a Quaker girl and keep Ruth on as a servant ?? And no actually, he wasn't in love with her. So off he goes into the wilderness with his child wife and five actual children.................stopping off to spend all his money and barter his best horse for a slave he didn't want Everything he touches is a disaster and only poor Ruth has any sense or practicality. I think it is intended as an indictment of slavery but frankly that has been done better and really the characters are so sketchy it's hard to give a damn about their miserable lives.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling and moving 27 July 2014
By Amanda Jenkinson TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Quaker widower Daniel Dickinson is driven by his community from his native Pennsylvania after he marries a young orphan Methodist girl following the death of his wife. He sets off to build a new life for his family in Virginia and almost by accident he acquires a young slave boy. This impulsive act sets off a chain of tragic and ever more complicated set of events that profoundly affects both his life and that of his children. Deeply horrified by slavery he yet finds himself caught up in its snares, and can never quite manage to break free.
This is an extremely powerful and moving story with some unforgettable characters. Daniel himself is a good and moral man, but everything he does somehow goes wrong. Whether that is due to any intrinsic weakness in his character, or whether it’s a destiny he can’t fight against, is left to the reader to decide. For all his good intentions, he causes irreparable harm to those who are dear to him. Set in pre-abolition America, it’s an evocative and atmospheric account of everyday slavery and its effect on slave-owners. There’s some raw and powerful writing here. The author’s commanding use of language makes for an unforgettable portrait of a time and a place. Skilfully paced, and often surprising, the story moves on to its inexorable end and explores how devastating the consequences of one split-second decision can be. It’s an unremittingly bleak novel, with very few moments of joy or redemption, even though there is love and loyalty to be found here as well. Serious themes of family, religion and conscience pervade every page and I found it both totally absorbing and totally compelling.
Loosely based on the author’s own ancestors, and painstakingly and thoroughly researched, this is a book that will remain with me for a long time, and one that I very much enjoyed.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant storytelling 30 Nov 2013
By Deep Reader VINE VOICE
This is a brilliant book about pre-abolition America. A Quaker man takes a young wife after his first wife dies. The community is disapproving and he leaves for Kentucky with her and his children. There the story begins. Daniel does just about everything wrong it seems, although he is basically a good man. Among his mistakes, and against his religion, he buys a slave at an open market. Linda Spalding brings Onesimus, the slave, to life as she does Daniel and his family, their neighbours and the terrible times. As much about the liberation of women as it is of slaves, The Purchase cracks along at a great pace without ever losing its essential, very essential, humanity. There are deaths; there are setbacks, rape, murder, but behind it all a tremendous clearing of things. Winner of Canada's Governor General's Prize and listed for the Dublin International this is one of the great books of 2013 although, at my time of writing, still underrated in Britain. If you love a good story, enjoy the near perfect use of language, and if you have a heart, this is for you. The English Patient The Marrying of Chani Kaufman Lincoln [DVD]
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another way of looking at abolition 26 May 2014
Linda Spalding has produced a story about slavery from a unique standpoint that sharpens the moral questions it poses. One of the main characters in The Purchase is based on her ancestor (in real life) Daniel Dickinson, a man who’s important because of the wrong decisions he makes. Recently widowed, he takes off from Pennsylvania with his new, fifteen year old wife, daughter Mary and son Joseph. They settle in Kentucky, itself a bad idea, and start to build a homestead. An abolitionist by religion (Quaker) he nonetheless buys a slave, a boy named Onesimus. It is Onesimus who is at the heart of this story. As the generations roll on, it is the women who hold this fragile world together and, ultimately, change it. This is a powerful story, told in a truly authentic voice. I was strongly reminded of William Faulkner’s ‘As I Lay Dying’, a novel I love.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Something dark and deep 17 Aug 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
If you read for a few laughs and a gentle bath in a good story, then this is not the novel for you. Life was hard in Virginia 200 years ago; hardest of all for the slaves, of course, but pretty rough for everybody. Women die in childbirth, toddlers sicken and die, the boys go off to fight the British. The slave girl Bett is surprised to come across a man of forty as she has not known anyone to live that long before.

Quaker Daniel Dickinson is thrown out of his life and his desk job in Pennsylvania, like Adam out of the garden of Eden. And his Eve has just died in childbirth, forcing him to find another. He knows nothing of farming but finds himself in the wilds of Virginia initially without a roof over the heads of himself, his child wife or his children.

Contrary to what you might infer from the blurb, the story does not revolve around Daniel's accidental purchase of a slave boy which is just one incident in a long tale of woe.

The novel is beautifully written and has a tragic inexorability about it which makes it compelling. Read it and be glad you were born in the 20th century.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Story of extreme cruelty and hardship.
Very Different read....takes you back in time but nonetheless very convincing story of hardship and struggle . A great read.
Published 7 days ago by Lorna Bower
2.0 out of 5 stars Not what I expected
It is a really depressing book, although it is well written. I will read it to the end, but if you are feeling low, leave to another day.
Published 20 days ago by BT
2.0 out of 5 stars Worthy attempt
This reads as though the author is a bit over-whelmed by the subject matter. This is fair enough as the subject matter - the purchase and treatment of slaves - is not easily... Read more
Published 22 days ago by Maggie BG
3.0 out of 5 stars read but it felt like the story never got
An o.k. read but it felt like the story never got going
Published 23 days ago by A Reader
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Highly recommend this read
Published 1 month ago by Mrs. Margaret Pickup
5.0 out of 5 stars Insight to early America
Fiction built around fact. A really interesting book and while content not enjoyable a facinating insight to early America in the south . Would definitely recommend.
Published 1 month ago by Shelley J
3.0 out of 5 stars Okay but...
I like the basic story and I can see how the "hero" got himself in a muddle. but I got bored after a while. Read more
Published 1 month ago by John
4.0 out of 5 stars Good story. Different
We'll written. Good story. Different.
Published 1 month ago by The old parkers
5.0 out of 5 stars The best Kindle daily deal yet...
This was a fascinating book about a Quaker family's struggle to survive after the head of the family made a disastrous impulsive purchase of a slave with their life savings. Read more
Published 1 month ago by newarcadian
5.0 out of 5 stars A kindle daily deal serendipity impulse buy
Very good read. Gave an insight into settlers in America, their struggles and conflicts of conscience re slavery and religion. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Maureen Sanders
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