In this hard-edged, starkly beautiful historical novel set in the early 1800s, a Quaker family moves from Pennsylvania to the Virginia frontier, where all their values will be tested by setting up a homestead in the wild and by the moral dilemma of owning a slave.
In 1798, Daniel Dickinson, recently widowed, shunned by his fellow Quakers when he marries his young servant girl to help with his five young children, moves his shaken family down the Wilderness Road to the Virginia/Kentucky border. Although determined to hold on to his Quaker ways, and despite his most dearly held belief that slavery is a sin, Daniel soon becomes the owner of a young slave boy named Onesimus, a purchase that sets off a chain of tragic events. As Daniel's children and young wife grow and change, those events send each member of the family down a different path and drive the book to its unexpected conclusion.
Filled with moral complexity, memorable characters drawn with compassion and depth, and the nitty-gritty details of frontier life, The Purchase is a powerful novel of sacrifice and redemption, a resonant and timeless work.
About the Author
LINDA SPALDING was born and raised in Kansas. She is the author of three novels and two acclaimed works of nonfiction, The Follow, which was short-listed for The Trillium Book Award and the Pearson Writers' Trust Non-Fiction Prize; and, most recently, Who Named the Knife. She received the Harbourfront Festival Prize for her contribution to the Canadian literary community. She lives in Toronto, where she is the editor of Brick magazine.
Praise for The Purchase…
Early Praise for The Purchase:
"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 singular 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
"A poised and moving novel about the indignities of slavery and the moral stain at the inception of the American republic. The astonishing historical detail never detracts from the poignancy of the characters or the compelling narrative, which quickly swells into a drama of blood, betrayal and belonging."
—Caryl Phillips, author of Crossing the River and The Final Passage