Synopses & Reviews
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 consequences
It'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.
“At times romantic, scheming, heartbreaking, and tragic, Lucy Sannas fiction debut takes us to an America only just receding from memory. It is a time of war, love, and passion, and in Sannas hands it all becomes undeniably and vividly alive.” Christian Kiefer, author of < i=""> The Animals <>
“A beautiful novel and a reminder that war touches every family, but never in the same way. Sannas engaging, unforgettable characters show how every action can resound in unimaginable consequencesand what starts out as an act of kindness might prove the most dangerous. Haunting.” Amy Smith, author of < i=""> 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 < i=""> The House of the Scorpion <>
“The Cherry Harvest is not just a novel you wont want to put downSannas insightful characters and heart-stopping plot twists make it a tale that will stay with you always.” Antoinette May, < i=""> New York Times <> bestselling author of < i=""> The Sacred Well <> and < i=""> Pilate's Wife <>
“The Cherry Harvest gripped me from the first sentence. Its 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 < i=""> The Darling Strumpet <> , < i=""> The September Queen <> , and < i=""> Venus in Winter <>
“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
“A fine novel of life during wartime.” San Jose Mercury News
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 Charlottes 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, Charlottes secrets threaten to explode their world.
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. The Cherry Harvest is her first novel.