The Personal History of Rachel DuPree

The Personal History of Rachel DuPree

[a Novel]

Book - 2008
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An award-winning novel with incredible heart, about life on the prairie as it's rarely been seen

When Rachel, hired help in a Chicago boardinghouse, falls in love with Isaac, the boardinghouse owner's son, he makes her a bargain: he'll marry her, but only if she gives up her 160 acres from the Homestead Act so he can double his share. She agrees, and together they stake their claim in the forebodingly beautiful South Dakota Badlands.

Fourteen years later, in the summer of 1917, the cattle are bellowing with thirst. It hasn't rained in months, and supplies have dwindled. Pregnant, and struggling to feed her family, Rachel is isolated by more than just geography. She is determined to give her surviving children the life they deserve, but she knows that her husband, a fiercely proud former Buffalo Soldier, will never leave his ranch: black families are rare in the West, and land means a measure of equality with the white man. Somehow Rachel must find the strength to do what is right-for herself, and for her children.

Reminiscent of The Color Purple as well as the frontier novels of Laura Ingalls Wilder and Willa Cather, The Personal History of Rachel DuPree opens a window on the little-known history of African American homesteaders and gives voice to an extraordinary heroine who embodies the spirit that built America.
Publisher: New York : Viking, c2008.
ISBN: 9780670022014
Branch Call Number: FICTION WEI
Characteristics: 321 p. ; 22 cm.


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Sep 24, 2017

Good book on pioneering in The Badlands. Not the best place for farming and ranching with its dry, rocky soil and extreme weather. But the Homestead Act was a good way for a black family to own land and give them a measure of equality with white men. I liked Rachel and her children. Didn't like Isaac so much. He seemed to love his accumulating land more than his family. Good descriptions of the day to day hardships and how they can wear you down - physically and mentally. Would enjoy a sequel to this following the children's lives after Rachel's ultimate decision.

May 16, 2016

My husband read this whole book and said it was from a woman's perspective but good story of settling the prairies. I read it in two days, such a good read and really portrays how a woman can be torn between what she want's to believe and what she feels. Did this author die? How does a person prompt an author to create a sequel? I'd buy it new if the library didn't stock it. On Google I found 'The Promise' by Ann Weisgarber about a woman from Ohio who marries a Texas man and how her life changes, much intrigue. I'm going to request the library get this one as it looks promising.

lilly29 Mar 20, 2014

Written very well. I wish there was a sequel. I hope Weisgarber wrote more books. She knows how to paint a picture and use words.

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