Review, Tour & Giveaway: The Personal History of Rachel DuPree

The Personal History of Rachel Dupree

The Personal History of Rachel DuPree
By Ann Weisgarber
(Penguin (Non-Classics), Paperback, 9780143119487, 336pp.)

The Short of It:

The parched, barren landscape of the Badlands is a constant reminder of what was in this harrowing tale of black Pioneers in the early 20th century.

The Rest of It:

This is a hard place. Hard to take, hard to like.

Rachel, a cook at a boardinghouse falls in love with Isaac, the boardinghouse owner’s son. Isaac wants to claim land under the Homestead Act and when Rachel offers to keep house for him in return for marriage, Isaac agrees, but only if Rachel will sign over her share of land. Seeing that they both have something to gain from the relationship, they agree to marry for a year on a trial basis.

Fourteen years later, Rachel is pregnant with their fifth child and struggling to keep food on the table. Isaac, continues to work deals to increase his land hold, but the supplies are dwindling and there is no water to be found as they are living through one of the worst droughts ever.

Rachel’s story is, without a doubt, a story of hardship, survival and courage. She is an amazingly strong woman and although her sense of loyalty is admirable, she is not naive. No, that is the one thing she most certainly is not. As the harshness of the environment continues to take its toll, Rachel ponders what it means to be a rancher’s wife and what it will mean for her daughters down the line.

Books like this one, take you outside of what you know and allow you to experience a different lifestyle from the comfort of your own home. To say that this book grabbed me from its opening pages and held on to me throughout, would be an understatement. It was a quick, riveting read and gave me a lots to think about. I highly recommend it.

If you live within the US or Canada and would like a chance to win a copy of your own, click HERE. Giveaway ends on November 20, 2011 (Pacific).

The Personal History of Rachel DuPree Tour Photos

Source: Sent to me by the publisher via TLC Book Tours. Giveaway copy provided by the publisher.

TLC Book Tours

To view the other tour stops, click here.

Disclosure: This post contains  IndieBound affiliate links.

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28 thoughts on “Review, Tour & Giveaway: The Personal History of Rachel DuPree”

  1. This book originally didn’t interest me since I don’t like those pioneering type stories, but this one has captured more of my attention with each review. I think this would bring a new perspective to my ideas about the pioneering Midwest (of which my knowledge is minimal, especially in terms of race issues, etc.)

    1. It’s interesting because they are on this big piece of land and sort of sheltered from the race issues but through visits to town and visitors stopping by the ranch, they know all they need to know. I think you would like this one a lot, Serena.

  2. I am reading this one right now, and the atmosphere and ambiance of the setting and the situations are pitch perfect for me. I haven’t read a lot of books that deal with the pioneers, but this one has me captivated. I actually wish I had more time to devote to it, as I am trying to push through Unbroken on audio for book club on Thursday, and not getting much reading time in these past few days.

  3. I love stories about homesteaders! This one sounds very different from the ones I have read. I love these types of books. They make me appreciate how far we have come! This will be going on my wish list! Great review!

    1. Five years ago I could never read more than one book at a time. Now, I have to or I get antsy. Most of the time they have their own special reading place (car book, nightstand, work, etc.) but if the book is really good I cart it around all over. That is how that poor book got soaked in the car last night.

  4. Great review, Ti. I’m so glad you found the book riveting. I’ve been to the Badlands of South Dakota so I have a good visual of what it must have been like during the pioneer days – barren, lonely, isolated. I need to read this book! Thanks for being on the tour.

  5. I love a good pioneer story from this time period. It helps me understand and appreciate my ancestors. I like that the publisher had the courage to put a black face on the cover. So many do not.

  6. Ti, thank you for this wonderful review and for reading Rachel DuPree. I’m pleased that you enjoyed it, and I appreciate the warm reception.

    During the writing process, I reread The Little House on the Prairie series and as an adult, it was a different reading experience. The family was often on the edge of starvation. They endured blizzards, a pack of wolves that surrounded the house, and once they almost froze to death. It was also interesting that Wilder’s father moved the family about every year. Wilder’s mother went along with this but there must have been times when she was in despair.

  7. I am very interested in Rachel after reading several reviews about this book. Her life sounds exceedingly difficult and full of stress. I haven’t read many books about this time period aside from The Little House on the Praire books and I’d like to know more about pioneering and what it was like to live off the lans…the trails and tribulations of which it sounds like there were many. I’m also curious about Rachel’s marriage and how she feels about Isaac since it sounds like things didn’t work out quite as he thought they would.
    I’m putting this book high on my wish list – I love it when reviews I read are so good they make me extremely and specifically curious about a book – Thank you :o)

  8. Don’t enter me in the contest, but I was glad to hear that you enjoyed it. Ive only read books from a few book tours and have never enjoyed the book at all I have to admit. When I read your review it reminded a little bit of that Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman movie where they are trying the claim the land. I have no idea if this is the same thing but it just popped into my head

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