Winner of Canada’s Governor General’s Award for Fiction
Pennsylvania, 1798. Daniel Dickinson, a devout Quaker, has just lost his wife. When he marries a fifteen-year-old Methodist orphan to help with his five small children, his fellow Quakers disown him for his impropriety. Forced out of the only community he’s ever known, Daniel moves his family to the Virginia frontier. He has in hand a few land warrants, with which he plans to establish his new homestead.
Although determined to hold to his Quaker belief in abolitionism, Daniel is now in a slave state, and he soon finds himself the owner of a young boy named Onesimus. This fatal purchase sets in motion a twisted chain of events that will forever change his children’s lives—and his own. An unforgettable story of sacrifice and redemption, The Purchase powerfully explores questions of fate, faith, loyalty, and conscience.
About the Author
Linda Spalding was born and raised in Kansas. She is the author of three previous novels and two acclaimed works of nonfiction, A Dark Place in the Jungle, which was short-listed for the Trillium Book Award and the Pearson Writers’ Non-Fiction Prize, and Who Named the Knife. The Purchase received Canada’s prestigious Governor General’s Award for English-language fiction. Spalding lives in Toronto, where she is an editor of Brick magazine.
Praise for The Purchase…
“Singular. . . . A wonderful novel. . . . The realities of the characters, their fears and other emotions, are both individual and universal.” —John Irving
“Powerful. . . . Passages of pure poetry. . . . [Spalding’s] novel claws at the deepest nerve of American history.” —The Rumpus
“Haunting and beautiful. . . . Brilliantly depicts the indelible stain that slavery has left on the moral fabric of America.” —Richmond Times-Dispatch
“Beautifully written, emotionally evocative, gripping, engaging, and truthful.” —The New York Journal of Books
“Engrossing. . . . One of the finest historical novels in recent years.” —National Post
“Eerily compelling. . . . Haunting. . . . Mesmerizing lyricism. . . . Imbued with the power of myth.” —The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
“Grippingly immersive. . . . Visceral, emotionally resonant.” —The Toronto Star
“Impressively original. . . . Spalding shows a command of workaday historical detail. . . . [The] principal characters are complex, and cerebral. . . . This novel’s dual book-prize nominations are much deserved.” —Winnipeg Free Press
“With meticulous yet seamless attention to historical detail, Linda Spalding transports the reader to eighteenth-century Virginia in her mesmerizing novel. . . . The Purchase is an epic novel in every way that matters—in scope, depth, and heart.” —Jury Citation, Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize
“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 A Distant Shore
“Spalding captures the grim particulars of slave life with unflinching yet restrained detail. . . . A serious, probing look at the interaction of character and environment during a seminal period in American history.” —Kirkus Reviews