The Purchase by Linda Spalding (August 6, Pantheon) Spalding’s vivid portrayal of eighteenth-century Virginia is a searing indictment of the institution of slavery, showing how personal interest and human frailty made complicit participants of the most “innocent” of bystanders. Powerful and disturbing, though with notes of hope throughout, readers won’t be able to help compare their own choices to those of the novel’s flawed but strongly principled characters. —Nicole Bonia, Bloggers Recomend
The Purchase was one of my picks for the August Bloggers Recommend Newsletter, and it was one that I thought a lot about. I’m really picky about the books I choose that go beyond the pale of the typical human experience. Slavery and the holocaust are such heavy topics that I insist on different insights and perspectives before delving into such heaviness. Spalding’s novel offered that opportunity, with it’s unique take of a Quaker man accidentally purchasing a slave, and the ramifications for everyone involved. Spalding used her own family history for the basics of the of the plot, which followed the Quaker family over a few generations. It’s always fascinating to see how the work of a moment can change the path of many lives.