About the Book:
Just optioned for film by Viola Davis, star of The Help; winner of the Langum Prize in American Historical Fiction and the Texas Institute of Letters’ Steven Turner Award for Best Work of First Fiction, longlisted for the Orange Prize(alongside books by Toni Morrison and Marilynne Robinson), and shortlisted for the Orange Prize for New Writers, The Personal History of Rachel DuPree is out now in paperback.
Ann Weisgarber has given voice to a pioneer who embodies the grit and spirit that built this country. Rachel DuPree is an American everywoman, a heroine of uncommon strength whose everyday actions rise to the extraordinary when she’s called on to fight for the safety and well-being of her family. But she’s also a woman finding her place in a man’s world, and very much a white man’s world. The setting—the South Dakota Badlands—and the time period—the early 20th century—bring into high relief Rachel’s ultimate triumph as a woman, and especially as a black woman.
Acclaimed by reviewers nationwide, embraced by booksellers and book clubs, and endorsed by Alice Walker as well as Tony Award–winning actress Viola Davis (who’s starring in The Help), Oprah pick Robert Morgan (Gap Creek), National Book Award finalist Susan Straight (Highwire Moon), indie favorite Jeffrey Lent (In the Fall), and the author of the novel that inspired the movie Crazy Heart (starring Jeff Bridges), The Personal History of Rachel DuPree is a quintessentially American novel with a twist, and it’s poised to break out in paperback.
About the Author:
Ann Weisgarber was born and raised in Kettering, Ohio. She was a social worker before earning a master’s degree in sociology at the University of Houston and becoming a teacher. She divides her time between Sugar Land and Galveston, Texas.
Visit Ann at her website, www.annweisgarber.com.
In this tale of a woman who basically sells herself into her marriage for 160 acres of unforgiving land in the South Dakota Badlands the reader sees the strength of the American homesteader.
Rachel Reeves was working in the kitchen of Mrs. DuPree's boarding house when Isaac DuPree comes home in his Army uniform. Rachel falls in love but Isaac has one thing on his mind; homesteading in the Badlands where he can stake his claim to 160 acres of land. To him land is everything. Rachel reminds him that as a single woman she too can claim 160 acres. She give him her claim if he agrees to marry her. They do marry and off they head to South Dakota.
In spite of Isaac offering her an out after one year of marriage they stay together forging a relationship, building a house and buying other ranches. They are never quite accepted by the others in town due to their color but they cannot be ignored because of the size of their holding.
All is going well until drought strikes and suddenly everything they have built together starts to implode. Rachel realizes that Isaac is not what she thought he was. Nor is she.
I read this book in one sitting. I couldn't put it down. It's powerful, it's compelling and it's hard to read. Not because of the writing; the writing is beautiful in a harsh, Badlands way but because of the topics. (They are startlingly beautiful but unbelievably harsh country. I loved visiting.) Rachel is a woman who knew what she wanted, went after it but got more than she bargained for. She got her man but he never cared for anything but the land. Everything he did was for that accursed land. What she wanted didn't count. Another woman who thought she would change a man....
The characters are well drawn and utterly fascinating. Isaac is a man who knows what he wants and will let nothing stand in his way. Rachel is a woman of strength, courage and love. Like every mother she wants more for her children than she had. When she realizes that life on the ranch is depriving them of many of the sweeter aspects of life she makes a hard decision that will effect all of their lives. I so wanted this book to continue. I felt as if I were immersed in the time period and in the world. Ms. Weisbarber's writing had the power to do that. You won't be disappointed in reading this book.
The Personal History of Rachel DuPree can be found on Amazon.com
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Disclosure: I received a copy of The Personal History of Rachel DuPree gratis from TLC Book Tours. Any opinions expressed are my honest opinions and were not impacted by my receipt of the free book. I received no monetary compensation for this post.