The Cherry Harvest: A Novel

The Cherry Harvest: A Novel

by Lucy Sanna


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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062343635
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 04/19/2016
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 282,949
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 8.70(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

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, California. The Cherry Harvest is her first novel.

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The Cherry Harvest: A Novel 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As an animal lover, I couldn't get past the first page. Much too graphic!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. I didn't know about the German prisoners working on farms during the war. I found the characters interesting and believeable. I finished the book quickly. The plot moves right along. I will look for more stories from this author.
LK_Hunsaker More than 1 year ago
It's not widely known that German PWs/POWs were brought to the US during WW2 to work fields to keep farmers from losing crops while there were no young men around to do the harvests. The Cherry Harvest is based around this fact. Historical, suspenseful, romantic, and literary, this one is worth a read. The only thing keeping me from giving it 5 stars is that I can't buy the way Katie met her beau, as though it was an everyday occurrence he could so easily just accept without it being a big deal, or that he fell for her that fast. Interest at first sight, yes. Love? That needs a bit of tending first. Overall, though, this was a nice read and I had a hard time putting it down once it got moving.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Moves fast...good characters..well written. Highly recommend.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Highly recommended! Loved the characters; they were complex. The story of a family - mother, father, sister, and brother; each with a dark side. Each flawed. The story included romances, adultery, awful secrets, flawed friendships, murder, war wounds, cherries, hard work, deceit, and more. I thought this novel was excellent. This story could have a sequel and I will definitely read another book by this author. The book deserves an A+++++
JReppy More than 1 year ago
In Door County, Wisconsin, cherries are king. And no cherry orchard is as prized as the Christiansen family orchard. However, it is WWII and the war, in particular shipbuilding on the Great Lakes, pays much better than being a farm laborer. In order to obtain the necessary labor, the community arranges to have a group of German POWs serve as laborers, staying in a migrant camp on the Christiansen property. This is not a popular decision because so many families have relatives, including the Christiansen's son, fighting the Nazis; but the community reluctantly agrees because the cherry and apple harvest is so important to the community. Although Thomas Christiansen has the best cherry orchard in the county, he loves literature and has fostered this love in his teenage daughter, Kate, who has plans to go to university. Among the POWs is Karl, an Oxford educated math professor who ends up being asked to tutor Kate in math. The presence of the POWS, especially Karl, brings changes, and ultimately heartbreak, into the lives of the Christiansens, especially Thomas' wife Charlotte and their daughter Kate. I thought this was a good debut novel. As other reviewers have commented, some of the plot elements were to be expected and standard in this type of novel; however, Ms. Sanna is upfront in the book jacket about some of the basic plot elements -- plus, it is fairly obvious that a story involving POWs and a farm family with an attractive wife and daughter is going to contain a romantic element and that the presence of German POWs in an American farming community where many of the men are off fighting is going to have the potential for violence. While some elements are predictable (the mystery about the romance is will it be the mother or the daughter), there are plenty of surprises and plot twists to make the book an enjoyable read. Also, the behavior of many of the characters is consistent with what one would expect for people struggling through WWII and faced with the "enemy" in their backyard. Furthermore, the daughter's character and possible future is mapped out enough that the potential for a sequel involving the future life of the daughter, Kate, would be possible if Ms. Sanna was so inclined. I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.