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Old Orange Tree

David Magill’s life as a bookseller at the heart of ‘John Steinbeck Country’ in Orange Grove, California, was mostly sunshine, only occasionally clouded by the fleeting shadows of domestic frustration. But the balance of his peace of mind flipped when he inherited a house and tea-shop back in “Kirkreeba”, county Down. His American wife, Kay, also found the move life-changing – in more ways than one. THE OLD ORANGE TREE is Philip Robinson’s fourth Ulster-Scots novel and is a playful, Gothic fantasy, partly responding to Steinbeck’s own Scotch-Irish family saga in “East of Eden”. But it also explores serious relationship tensions – within marriage, within the ‘Orange’ tradition, and with the Ulster-Scots diaspora at the other side of the world. Indeed, some of the most laid-back characters in this novel eventually do snap, such is the dramatic build-up of tension, temptation and testing.


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