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The Cherry Harvest

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | The Cherry Harvest.pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    Lucy Sanna(Author)

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[Read by Suzanne Toren]

It's the summer of 1944 in Wisconsin and the Christiansen family struggles to hold on. Charlotte barters what she can to make ends meet while her husband, Thomas, strives to keep their orchard going. With the upcoming harvest threatened by the labor shortage, strong-willed Charlotte helps persuade local authorities to allow German POWs to pick the fruit. But when Thomas befriends one of the prisoners, and invites him to tutor his daughter Kate, both Charlotte and Kate are swept into a world where love, duty, and honor are not as clear-cut as they might have believed. And when their beloved son, Ben, returns from the battlefield, wounded and bitter, the secrets they've all been keeping threaten to explode their world.

“Sanna has adeptly interwoven details of life and hardship for many in the U.S. during this time with the very different lives of the rich who profited off the war . . . an impassioned and spirited historical romance.” (Shelf Awareness)“At times romantic, scheming, heartbreaking, and tragic, Lucy Sanna’s fiction debut takes us to an America only just receding from memory. It is a time of war, love, and passion, and in Sanna’s hands it all becomes undeniably and vividly alive.” (Christian Kiefer, author of The Animals)“A beautiful novel and a reminder that war touches every family, but never in the same way. Sanna’s engaging, unforgettable characters show how every action can resound in unimaginable consequences—and what starts out as an act of kindness might prove the most dangerous. Haunting.” (Amy Smith, author of All Roads Lead to Austen)“A delight to read. The world she created was so physically real and the characters so engaging that I was instantly drawn in . . . I read the book at one sitting...and highly recommend.” (Nancy Farmer, Newbery Honor and National Book Award-winning author of The House of the Scorpion)“The Cherry Harvest gripped me from the first sentence. It’s a vivid, compelling, and beautifully written story, by turns lyrical and savage, as the well-drawn characters, consumed by passion, fear, hope, and hatred, move inexorably toward the unexpected climax.” (Gillian Bagwell, author of The Darling Strumpet, The September Queen, and Venus in Winter)“The Cherry Harvest is not just a novel you won’t want to put down—Sanna’s insightful characters and heart-stopping plot twists make it a tale that will stay with you always.” (Antoinette May, New York Times bestselling author of The Sacred Well and Pilate's Wife)“A fine novel of life during wartime.” (San Jose Mercury News) --This text refers to the Hardcover edition. A powerfully sensuous and gripping debut laced with suspense, The Cherry Harvest reveals a hidden side of World War II's home front, when German POWs are put to work in a Wisconsin farm community . . . with dark and unexpected consequencesIt's the summer of 1944 in Door County, Wisconsin, where even the lush cherry orchards and green lakeside farms can't escape the ravages of war. With food rationed and money scarce, the Christiansen family struggles to hold on. The family's teenage daughter, Kate, raises rabbits to save money for college, while her mother, Charlotte, barters what she can to make ends meet. Charlotte's husband, Thomas, strives to keep the orchard going while their son—along with most of the other able-bodied men—is fighting overseas. With the upcoming harvest threatened by the labor shortage, strong-willed Charlotte helps persuade local authorities to allow German war prisoners from a nearby POW camp to pick the fruit.But when Thomas befriends one of the prisoners, a math teacher named Karl, and invites him to tutor Kate, both Charlotte and Kate are swept into a world where love, duty, and honor are not as clear-cut as they might have believed. Charlotte and Thomas fail to see that Kate is becoming a young woman, with dreams and temptations of her own. And when their beloved son, Ben, returns from the battlefield, wounded and bitter, the secrets they've all been keeping threaten to explode their world. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

4.3 (7681)
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Book details

  • PDF | 1 pages
  • Lucy Sanna(Author)
  • HarperCollins Publishers and Blackstone Audio; Unabridged edition (December 8, 2015)
  • English
  • 6
  • Literature & Fiction

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Review Text

  • By Bethany Williams on June 10, 2017

    The author has all the elements present to make a compelling story. The setting of a cherry orchard during WWII that is suffering from a lack of manpower while the son is off in the European theatre and the installation of German POWs makes a potentially compelling story (even if it's not a new concept - Summer of My German Solider anyone?), but the lack of character development squashes the potential of this story. The wife is a dedicated farmer and her husband is more of a disappointed intellectual - he likes to read. However, there is no mention of any particular turmoil in their marriage, but we are supposed to believe that the mere appearance of an attractive Nazi who speaks English and occasionally tutors her daughter in Math would be sufficient for her to throw all caution to the wind and begin romantic trysts with him in a root cellar. She's got all the elements here - there could be a fleshing out of their different approaches to the world, a development of a tantalizing nod to a former romance still present for the husband, etc. ,but nothing. We are left to speculate that these things must have played into her thinking. There is never any mention of what is likely a significant age difference (he is a regular soldier, guessed to be 30 at most and she has an 18 year old daughter and adult son), or any concerns about literally "sleeping with the enemy". The relationships of the younger generation are equally confined to the surface. The daughter, Kate, who longs for an intellectual life at university stumbles into a madcap party of summer people and the young son immediately takes a shine to her and, on her recommendation, decides to forego his deferment and enlist. Never any discussion of their different backgrounds, only a tacit acknowledgment that he shouldn't meet her parents. Apparently, they seamlessly come together and stay together. Equally unbelievable is the hysterical love that Josie holds for Ben (the son fighting the Nazis) which she gives up almost immediately as soon as he returns minus a leg and with a temper. The ending is a mishmash of sudden murder, madness and discombobulation. Finally, I have to say that the opening scene that involves the gratuitous killing and disemboweling of a rabbit - with the added bonus of live babies found inside the mother and chopped to pieces - is the most off putting and unnecessary opening I have read in a while. Unfortunately, nothing that happens afterwards is an improvement. This is a disappointing effort. The overall effect is that of an author who wrote and outline and then added a few words to string that outline together without any real thought or development. This is a shame because this could have been a truly compelling story. It isn't.

  • By Library Lady on August 23, 2015

    Utterly disappointed is the first thoughts on this book. I'm from Wisconsin and know the great need for workers at cherry picking time. The story had a wonderful setting with a family and the needs of the farm come first. With Charlotte, her needs were to find enough food to put on the table for her family, yet it is war time. Karl, a WWII German prisoner, tutor for daughter, Kate were the prime reason Charlotte had many close contacts with Karl. The disappointment was the SEX that infiltrated the book. Can the author, from Wisconsin, explain the reason for the sex portion of the story? Did it really lend itself to the story? I feel that the author wanted to toss in the sex in order to sell books. Yet the main theme of the story is so simple. It may be Sanna's first book, but maybe she'll learn that sex doesn't have to sell the books. Look at the cover of the book, to me that is a quality story of a farm family trying to make do during WWII.

  • By J. J. McInerney on July 7, 2015

    Instantly captivating from the opening paragraph, Sanna’s first novel is everything historical literature should be. Based upon a little known facet of American involvement in World War II, this debut novel, through the actions and dialogue of its well-developed, true-to-life, all-too-realistic characters, embraces the essences of marital and maternal love: family, after and above all, comes first. What the parallel main protagonist, Charlotte Christensen, does to protect hers and ensure a much needed financially successful cherry harvest is the pith and thrust of Sanna’s five-star tour-de-force.Set in a farming community along the western shore of Lake Michigan during 1944, this strikingly stunning novel recalls – and reveals – the interment of captured German solders in thirty-nine prisoner of war camps across the state of Michigan. Once a well-kept secret, this author bravely trots out the salient facts to formulate her story.Beset by the scarcity and dire rationing of food and the shortage of workers, commercial fruit farmers are faced with financial ruin if their upcoming harvests are not successful. To ensure her family survives, staunchly stubborn, strong-willed Charlotte convinces local authorities to allow her husband and neighbors to hire PWs to help.The year slowly progresses and Charlotte’s plan is successfully unfolding…until her husband, Thomas, befriends Karl, an Oxford-educated PW. When Karl starts to tutor their daughter, Kate, in mathematics, Charlotte finds herself strangely sexually attracted to him. As a result, unlike the tight-knit vest and socks she weaves for her son, Benjamin, serving overseas, things quickly begin to unravel. In order to protect herself, her family, and the all-consuming success of the harvest, Charlotte begins to harbor devastatingly dark secrets that threaten to literally destroy lives. In the midst of the turmoil, teenage Kate – her head often in the clouds of books, cherry blossoms, and budding romance -- finally rebels and speaks up with the voice of reason.The Cherry Harvest is a powerfully written, well-executed testament to the strength and fortitude as well as the dissolution that prevailed in the mid-western United States during World War II. Sanna brings an innate touch of sweetness to her work, yet does not shy away from calmly writing crisp, almost brutally stark realities. The complex, yet tight plot line is fresh and original, nicely decorated with knowledgeable descriptions of the lakeside country of her native Michigan. The totally unexpected explosive denouement twists and turns, folding in upon itself, like the often tumulus swells and currents of the Great Lake upon whose shores the novel’s setting is nestled.While its events occur during WWII, this is a timeless novel expressing universal and eternal themes and truths. Best enjoyed by the more mature, discerning reader, The Cherry Harvest is an eye-opening, heart catching, poignant tale that mesmerizes from the first opening sentence to the last of its tear-jerking ending.It is the essential, if not quintessential summer read.


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