The Personal History of Rachel DuPree by Ann Weisgarber
A Novel

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Synopsis

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.
 

About Ann Weisgarber

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ANN WEISGARBER has worked as a social worker and taught high school and college. Born in Kettering, Ohio, she now divides her time between Sugar Land and Galveston, Texas.
 
Published May 26, 2010 by Penguin Books. 338 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Personal History of Rachel DuPree

The Guardian

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Wild as it was, the American west was also a peculiarly democratic place, as a black man - or even a woman - was entitled to stake a claim.

May 29 2009 | Read Full Review of The Personal History of Rache...

Examiner

He agrees to "make a go of it" with Rachel once she agrees to put in a claim for an allotment of 320 acres of land in South Dakota granted to single women by the Homestead Act of 1862.

Sep 03 2011 | Read Full Review of The Personal History of Rache...

The Bookbag

That is, of course, if I haven't sent you ferreting out your coffee-stained John Steinbeck … The Personal History of Rachel DuPree by Ann Weisgarber is in the Top Ten Books For Your Girlfriend.

Oct 08 2012 | Read Full Review of The Personal History of Rache...

The Bookbag

That is, of course, if I haven't sent you ferreting out your coffee-stained John Steinbeck … The Personal History of Rachel DuPree by Ann Weisgarber is in the Top Ten Books For Your Girlfriend.

Jan 09 2011 | Read Full Review of The Personal History of Rache...

Dallas News

Rachel finds her love and loyalty divided, and she must find the courage to do what she thinks is best for herself and her children.

Oct 10 2010 | Read Full Review of The Personal History of Rache...

Peeking Between the Pages

I read The Personal History of Rachel DuPree by Ann Weisgarber for her book tour with TLC Book Tours.

Nov 02 2011 | Read Full Review of The Personal History of Rache...

Statesman.com

So tough and tender is Ann Weisgarber 's main character in "The Personal History of Rachel DuPree" that I lay awake one night worried about Rachel, an African American pioneering wife and mother struggling in the desolate west in the early 1900s.

Sep 04 2010 | Read Full Review of The Personal History of Rache...

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