The Cherry Harvest
by Lucy Sanna
Why did you choose this book? what a pretty cover! and WWII!
When did you read this book? May 2015
Who should read this book? readers who like historical fiction and family drama
Source: TLC Book Tours
Here is a synopsis of The Cherry Harvest from TLC Book Tours
A memorable coming-of-age story and love story, laced with suspense, which explores a hidden side of the home front during World War II, when German POWs were put to work in a Wisconsin farm community . . . with dark and unexpected consequences.
The war has taken a toll on the Christiansen family. With food rationed and money scarce, Charlotte struggles to keep her family well fed. Her teenage daughter, Kate, raises rabbits to earn money for college and dreams of becoming a writer. Her husband, Thomas, struggles to keep the farm going while their son, and most of the other local men, are fighting in Europe.
When their upcoming cherry harvest is threatened, strong-willed Charlotte helps persuade local authorities to allow German war prisoners from a nearby camp to pick the fruit.
But when Thomas befriends one of the prisoners, a teacher named Karl, and invites him to tutor Kate, the implications of Charlotte’s decision become apparent—especially when she finds herself unexpectedly drawn to Karl. So busy are they with the prisoners that Charlotte and Thomas fail to see that Kate is becoming a young woman, with dreams and temptations of her own—including a secret romance with the son of a wealthy, war-profiteering senator. And when their beloved Ben returns home, bitter and injured, bearing an intense hatred of Germans, Charlotte’s secrets threaten to explode their world.
The first thing I have to tell you about this book is that it is going to be an excellent book club selection! I’ve been thinking about this book for days now, and the more I ponder it the better I like it. There is so much to think about and to discuss! The book is part morality tale, part history lesson, and part romance.
I also want to tell you about the things I really liked about this book. First is the cover; it is beautiful with its soft colors and that Iowa farmscape! And the pages inside are just as beautiful, with the chapter heading being illustrated with a cherry tree branch in the upper left corner. (At least they were in my copy; I had an ARC so I’m not sure if this is included in the finished version.)
I also really liked the ‘experience’ the book gave me. Having had parents and grandparents who lived the World War II days, I’d heard of the rationing and seen the ration stamps in a box of old trinkets. But I never really understood or felt exactly what they went through. This book made me actually FEEL the sacrifice of rationing. There were times this family did not have enough to eat, and was not sure where their next meal would come from. The did without things we consider basic; sugar, coffee, flour….and chocolate. Talk about sacrifice! I know many of us give up things for Lent and feel we are sacrificing, but I’m thinking there is probably a big difference in voluntarily restraining from eating chocolate when you know you can always ‘break your fast’ with a trip to the grocery store, and the sacrifice and deprivation you feel when you CAN’T just pop into the store and buy chocolate at ANY PRICE!
Another thing I’d heard ‘rumors’ of but never really knew if they were true were were the German POW camps here in the US. This story tells of one POW camp in Door County, Wisconsin. The prisoners were used as a local work force, since all of the able-bodied young men were off fighting at war. It was interesting to read the various reactions the local citizens had to this ‘work camp’.
For me, the weak link in this book was the story itself. That’s not really a bad thing, though. I actually enjoyed the story very much and read through it pretty quickly. I will admit there were things I didn’t like about the story. I often disagreed with some of the choices made by the characters, and the consequences their actions brought. This was particularly true of the main character, Charlotte. But these just made the story feel real. It was the whole experience of the book that truly made this an exceptional read for me. Kudos to the author for bringing this story to life!
Lucy Sanna has published poetry, short stories, and nonfiction books, which have been translated into a number of languages. Born and raised in Wisconsin, Sanna now divides her time between Madison, Wisconsin, and San Francisco. The Cherry Harvest is her first novel.
My Rating: ★★★★1/2 4-1/2 Stars
This book review is included in a tour by TLC Book Tours. I was provided a copy for review purposes and have written an honest review which appears above..
Lucy’s Tour Stops
Tuesday, June 2nd: 100 Pages a Day … Stephanie’s Book Reviews
Wednesday, June 3rd: A Chick Who Reads
Thursday, June 4th: Time 2 Read
Friday, June 5th: 2 Kids and Tired Book Reviews
Monday, June 8th: Kritters Ramblings
Tuesday, June 9th: Savvy Verse & Wit
Wednesday, June 10th: JulzReads
Thursday, June 11th: Raven Haired Girl
Monday, June 15th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Tuesday, June 16th: The Book Binder’s Daughter
Wednesday, June 17th: Books on the TableThursday, June 18th: Kahakai Kitchen