In this provocative and starkly beautiful historical novel, a Quaker family moves from Pennsylvania to the Virginia frontier, where slaves are the only available workers and where the family’s values and beliefs are sorely tested. Stripped down and as hard-edged as the realities of pioneer life, Spalding's writing is nothing short of stunning, instantly enveloping the reader in the world and time of the novel. Inspired by stories of the author's own ancestors, The Purchase is a resonant, powerful and timeless novel.
Winner of Canada's Governor General's Prize for fiction.
‘With meticulous yet seamless attention to historical detail, Linda Spalding transports the reader to eighteenth-century Virginia in her mesmerizing novel . . . The Purchase is in epic novel in every way that matters—in scope, depth, and heart.’
- Jury Citation, Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize
‘The Purchase is as engrossing as it is partly because it is set in a time, the dawn of the 19th century, and a place, the frontier society of slave-owning Virginia, where bad judgment could very easily prove fatal. [Readers] will find themselves immersed in a powerful mood, a feeling of something dark and brooding and yet bracing, in one of the finest historical novels in recent years." ’
- Philip Marchand, The National Post
‘With The Purchase, Spalding places a contemporary spin on the traditional novel of the antebellum South: Frontier adventure meets plantation romance meets slave narrative—and to haunting effect . . . It reads like a disturbing dream imbued with the power of myth.’
- Donna Bailey Nurse, The Toronto Globe and Mail
‘A complex and engaging novel that is Hardy-esque in its examination of the consequences of the purchase of a young African man . . . a powerful novel of personal tragedy that ends in a hopeful way.’
- Peter Robb, Ottawa Citizen