The Purchase: A Novel

By Linda Spalding

(Pantheon, $26)

The year is 1798, and exiled Quaker widower Daniel Dickinson has hastily married his 15-year-old indentured servant to mother his five children following the death of his beloved wife, Rebecca. Banished from Pennsylvania, the new family journeys through the winter to settle in Virginia, where destitute Dickinson visits an auction to buy tools to build a new home and accidentally returns with a slave instead. The family’s Quaker ideals continue to unravel in this historical novel that adeptly transports readers to a time when pioneers lacked modern conveniences such as heat and plumbing but possessed rich emotional lives.