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A Reckoning

(Dickinson Family Saga #2)

3.39  ·  Rating details ·  121 ratings  ·  39 reviews
As the deeply moving and troubling account of a family's breakdown, A Reckoning is the perfect companion to Linda Spalding's bestselling, award-winning novel, The Purchase.

It opens in the spring of 1855, when John Dickinson is involved in a shameful secret that will require a tragic decision. The family's resources have been wasted by a reckless brother who holds all of th
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published September 26th 2017 by McClelland & Stewart
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Mar 28, 2018 rated it did not like it
First, let me say that I am REALLY fed up with authors/publishers comparing themselves to classic authors to sell books. As she is my favorite author, living or dead, I have read EVERY Willa Cather book out there. This author writes NOTHING like Ms. Cather. NOTHING!

On that note, on to my review. This book and its characters were boring. Plain and simply boring. I felt the author did a poor job in character description/interaction to allow for engagement by readers. For the first quarter of the b
Mary Lins
"A Reckoning", by Linda Spalding:

Up on Soapbox:
First of all, because this is an issue for me, this novel does not contain quotation marks. This slows down the flow of the narrative since the reader has to re-read parts of paragraphs to determine what was said out loud, what was an internal thought, and which character spoke. Spalding is a beautiful writer; her prose often poetic, I don't understand this trend to eschew quotation marks which causes frustration for many readers.
Down from Soapbox.
Apr 19, 2018 rated it did not like it
Second book I have read in a year with extremely long paragraphs and no quotation marks anywhere. Why have we given up on following proper writing technique?
Aaron Pittman
May 25, 2018 rated it liked it
While I did enjoy the story, it was hard to follow at times. I believe that there's a lot to be said for how many narratives going on here, I just wish there was some more organization.
Darrell Knippshild
Oct 21, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: goodreads
I have to admit to being biased as this style of writing does not appeal to me. I strongly dislike paragraphs that are 1-2 pages long and a lack of dialogue punctuation. However, the characters were compelling enough to fight thru it. I really wanted to know what was going to happen to them all. So the character development was wonderful.
Jane Mulkewich
Jul 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A novel, set in 1855, a turbulent time in American history. (Several states established personal liberty laws to counter the negative impact of the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850; and southern states established slave codes). A story of a white slave-holding family; some of the slaves make a run for freedom, and when the bank forecloses on the farm, the remaining slaves are given letters of manumission even though the bank claims them as property. The story follows Bry, one of the enslaved men who h ...more
Oct 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book, even though I almost stopped reading it, after a few chapters. One of the reasons I did not give the book 5 stars is that the author does not use punctuation marks, to indicate someone is speaking. So, when I first started the book, it was a bit confusing & it put me off, for a while. I could not tell when someone was simply thinking about something or when they were actually speaking to a person. Well, this can be a bit off-putting, & I almost put the book do ...more
Amy Layton
This was a hugely intriguing book.  This book had so much nuance and so many stories that were interwoven.  The mother, who finally learns to be on her own and assert dominance with her family, the slave, who frantically tries to cross rivers and borders, the boy, who refuses to leave his pet bear, the father, metaphorically cuckolded  and grasping straws at his masculinity.  So much happens.  The family self-destructs after a birdwatcher meets with them and helps set their slaves free (yay!), a ...more
Fran Fisher
May 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Hard to read, because everyone was so cruel in the past. The parents were mean to eat h other and to their children. Everyone was vastly to the slaves, and don't even mention the Indians. And then it's K.T., Kansas territory when the nickname for the place was Kansas, bloody Kansas. And the challenges. One word for that and it is overwhelming. But you have to finish, absolutely have to see who makes it it and who doesn't, and the facts are true, the history lesson cogent, and when you are done-- ...more
Nov 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
4 - 4 1/2 stars.I won this book from Good Reads First Reads in return for an honest review. Spalding's "The Purchase" tells us the story of a Quaker man who ends up owning a slave and what that choice does to him and his family. This book is the companion to it, following the family years later and showing how a choice made by one man a generation or so ago, affects his descendants in so many ways. This was a very good read and I enjoyed getting to find out what happened to Daniel's family.
The first part of the story starts in 1855, Virginia, on a farm with two brothers, their families, and a handful of slaves. Bleak. A nightmare period in history, awful people with few redeeming qualities. I was motivated to continue reading by the story of the youngest son and his bear. The interweaving of nature and the harsh living is vividly told, but just didn't feel any emotional uplifting in this tale of woe.
Jun 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
This story is set in Virginia in 1855 where John Dickinson is forced to move his family after his reckless brother has wasted the families resources and the farm is lost to the New York city bank. The family packs up what little they have left and join a wagon train west. There are many perils on their journey to both themselves, those they travel with and the slaves he set free. A very interesting and enjoyable story of our nations pioneers.
May 26, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giveaways
A Reckoning... American traveling settlers encounter slavery issues and disease. I'm still not entirely sure what this story is about after reading the entire novel. The characters lack dimension, there are too many indistinguishable characters, and the story rambles on various accounts; although very descriptive, I was confused. Numerous misspellings due to speech drawls and uneducated characters frustrated me. No quotation marks included to distinguish between speakers and internal thoughts.
Sep 06, 2018 rated it liked it
The story was interesting, but I'm not a fan of the style -- long paragraphs, no quotation marks. It took me a while to get into the story and get the characters straight, and I think quotation marks would've helped. I do like that most of the chapters were short, which made it a bit easier to read.
Joyce Reeves
Aug 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Beautifully written! I had to read this because her other book I read “The Purchase” where I knew nothing about and turned the pages as quickly as possible as I could not stop reading it! This also was a wonderful read... struggles and hardships a family endures to find a better life! Okay, while reading this novel I did think of Ingle’s family on Little House 🏡 on the Prairie!! Just saying 🐨
Wendy Jensen
Aug 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
Set in the 1850's this novel follows families in their travels north to start over and in the case of slaves, to freedom. Some of the people are looking for family that circumstances have divided them. This was a fantastic book to read.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.
Jul 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
This author has an unusual writing style for me, but I got used to it quickly and it dragged me in to the story. Towards the end, I could not put it down. I had to know what the 'reckoning' was. My only complaint is that I think the book could have/should have been longer. I want to know more about Martin and Cuff and Patton and their parents. Very intriguing, but I'm left wondering...
Diane B
Dec 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Drawn in by the writing that was both spare and lyrical. I hadn’t read The Purchase, the preceding title, however this didn’t make The Reckoning any less accessible. Spalding shared at the Heliconian lecture that the story emerged from the imagining of the lives of her grandfather’s grandfather’s families. It seems everyone in this story had to make a journey, both real and metaphorical.
Sep 17, 2017 rated it liked it
I felt that I should have read The Purchase before reading this book as I found that it had a lot going on it with all the stories for the characters that were entwined. I won an advanced reading copy of this book from the publisher as part of the Goodreads Giveaways program.
Jane Graham
Sep 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a book you need time to think about as you read it. It is a troubling time in 1855 history. The characters are reckless, deep, troubling and you want to know what is going to happen to them all on their journey. This story is worth reading.
Aug 21, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
Thank you for this book. I received it as a Goodreads Giveaway. I did try but I just couldn't get in to the book. It just didn't draw me in. It wasn't horrible but it just wasn't a book that I enjoyed. Others might love it. Give it a try and see what you think for yourself.
Mandy O'Brien
Nov 13, 2017 rated it it was ok
I received an advanced reader copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I did find this to be a very slowly paced book and a bit difficult to get 'into'. However I liked learning about the history and the human struggles of that time.
Nancy Croth
Oct 09, 2017 rated it it was ok
I am halfway through this book and frankly, I don't care what happens to any of them. I'm done. The writing is lovely at times and then choppy as new characters and circumstances are introduced. I just can't give it any more time.
It's a shame because I liked The Purchase.
Jane Glen
Jul 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
This author writes in a manner that is absorbing. Although this follows the characters begun in The Purchase, it would stand alone nicely. If ever you want to meet disfunction, it is here in spades. A fine writer.
Susan Quenneville
Mar 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
It took me a long time to get into this story but when I finally did, I found it very enjoyable.
Denise Berube
Apr 28, 2018 rated it it was ok
This was a very slow read, I liked the premise of the story but it lacked substance and interest.

I received this book through Goodreads First Reads program.
Victoria Shepherd
Mar 07, 2018 rated it liked it
This story would be better served by choosing a single protagonist, and focusing on the development of a single storyline.
Oct 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
pretty good book,the ending was very rushed,leaving many questions.
Apr 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
The story continues for the Dickinson family (from Spalding's previous novel, The Purchase), and this one is just as good as the first. A page-turner!
Marion Listgarten
Jul 10, 2018 rated it did not like it
Read 65 pages. Do not like writing style. Quit.
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Linda Spalding, Kansas-born Canadian fiction and nonfiction writer, often explores world cultures and the clash between contemporary life and traditional beliefs. Born in Topeka, she lived in Mexico and Hawaii before moving to Toronto, Ontario in 1982.

Spalding's work has been honoured numerous times. Her non-fiction work, The Follow, was shortlisted for the Trillium Book Award and the Writers' Tr

Other books in the series

Dickinson Family Saga (2 books)
  • The Purchase
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