A Reckoning: Book summary and reviews of A Reckoning by Linda Spalding

A Reckoning

by Linda Spalding

A Reckoning by Linda Spalding X
A Reckoning by Linda Spalding
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' rating:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Published in USA  Mar 2018
    320 pages
    Genre: Historical Fiction

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this book

Book Summary

A richly evocative and important novel about what happens to a Virginia family that must come to terms with their slave-owning past as the Civil War approaches and an abolitionist visits their plantation, throwing it into turmoil and eventually sending the family West.

It is 1855. The thousand-acre Dickinson farm on the Virginia-Kentucky border is run by two brothers - Benjamin, who owns the land, and John, a circuit-riding Methodist preacher, who manages the land and the sale of cotton and brandy. When a naturalist arrives asking questions about birds and plants, he's invited to stay--but his real mission is to distribute maps, compasses, and knives to the slaves, who then begin to escape, causing chaos on the farm and bitterness between the brothers. We follow one half of the family as they head for the Kansas Territory and we follow one of the runaway slaves as he travels to freedom in Canada.

Both journeys are full of electrifying incident, near escapes, and the astonishing beauty of undefiled America. Throughout, the characters contend with eternal vicissitudes and the pleasures of family and friends, and sometimes loneliness, but they must all finally come to a reckoning with America's original sin: slavery.

Read a Sample

Click to the right or left of the sample to turn the page.
(If no book jacket appears in a few seconds, then we don't have an excerpt of this book or your browser is unable to display it)

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Reviews

Media Reviews

"Spalding's timely, historically sensitive sequel to The Purchase (2013), a literary saga which also confidently stands alone, explores the ramifications of slavery on the next generation of the Dickinson family." - Booklist

"An engrossing, deftly crafted narrative ... A Virginia family suffers poverty and sorrow as slavery tears their world apart ... As the characters struggle to survive, they discover that redemption is elusive and forgiveness, hard-won." - Kirkus

"Spalding's novel is a grim tale of pre–Civil War tensions, economic despair, and family disintegration, rife with historical detail." - Publishers Weekly

"What a brilliant and harrowing book! Everyone thinks they know the epic story of early nineteenth-century America, of the covered wagons and the way west; A Reckoning will persuade you that you don't." - Robert Hass

"A dark and mythopoetic novel ... that stands apart for its texture, moral nuance, and the somber earthy prose." - The Globe and Mail

"A beautiful and brilliant work of art, vulnerable, driven, and unsettling. A humane and timely examination of how the societies we create — just or profoundly unjust — set the parameters for the people we become. Extraordinary." - Madeleine Thien

The information about A Reckoning shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Author Information

Linda Spalding Author Biography

Linda Spalding was born in Kansas and lived in Mexico and Hawaii before immigrating to Canada in 1982. She is the author of four critically acclaimed novels, The Purchase (awarded Canada's Governor General's Literary Award), Daughters of Captain Cook, The Paper Wife, and (with her daughter Esta) Mere. Her nonfiction includes A Dark Place in the Jungle, Riska: Memories of a Dayak Girlhood, and Who Named the Knife. In 2003 Spalding received the Harbourfront Festival Prize for her contribution to the Canadian literary community. She lives in Toronto, where she is an editor at Brick magazine.

Link to Linda Spalding's Website

Other books by Linda Spalding at BookBrowse
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

More Recommendations

Readers Also Browsed . . .

more historical fiction...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Award Winners

  • Book Jacket: Educated
    Educated
    by Tara Westover
    Voted 2018 Best Nonfiction Award Winner by BookBrowse Subscribers

    Tara Westover had the kind of ...
  • Book Jacket: Circe
    Circe
    by Madeline Miller
    Voted 2018 Best Fiction Award Winner by BookBrowse Subscribers

    Towards the end of Madeline Miller...
  • Book Jacket: Children of Blood and Bone
    Children of Blood and Bone
    by Tomi Adeyemi
    Voted 2018 Best Young Adult Award Winner by BookBrowse Subscribers

    What would you do if, in a ...
  • Book Jacket: Where the Crawdads Sing
    Where the Crawdads Sing
    by Delia Owens
    Voted 2018 Best Debut Novel Award Winner by BookBrowse Subscribers

    Where the Crawdads Sing was a ...

See all Award Winners & Top 20

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Unsheltered
by Barbara Kingsolver

A timely novel that explores the human capacity for resiliency and compassion.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Listen to the Marriage
    by John Jay Osborn

    The story of a couple in trouble and an exploration of the obstacles we put in our own way.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

The 7 ½ Deaths of
Evelyn Hardcastle

"Agatha Christie meets Groundhog Day...quite unlike anything I've ever read." - A. J. Finn

Enter

Word Play

The Big Holiday Wordplay: $400+ in Prizes

Enter Now

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.