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The Orchard: A Memoir

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The Orchard is an exquisitely beautiful and poignant memoir of a young woman's single-handed struggle to save her New England farm in the depths of the Great Depression. Recently discovered by the author's daughter, it tells the story of Adele "Kitty" Robertson, young and energetic, but unprepared by her Radcliffe education for the rigors of apple farming in those bitter t The Orchard is an exquisitely beautiful and poignant memoir of a young woman's single-handed struggle to save her New England farm in the depths of the Great Depression. Recently discovered by the author's daughter, it tells the story of Adele "Kitty" Robertson, young and energetic, but unprepared by her Radcliffe education for the rigors of apple farming in those bitter times. Alone at the end of a country road, with only a Great Dane for company, plagued by debts, broken machinery, and killing frosts, Kitty revives the old orchard after years of neglect. Every day is a struggle, but every day she is also rewarded by the beauty of the world and the unexpected kindness of neighbors and hired workers.Animated by quiet courage and simple goodness, The Orchard stands as a deeply moving celebration of decency and beauty in the midst of grim prospects and crushing poverty.


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The Orchard is an exquisitely beautiful and poignant memoir of a young woman's single-handed struggle to save her New England farm in the depths of the Great Depression. Recently discovered by the author's daughter, it tells the story of Adele "Kitty" Robertson, young and energetic, but unprepared by her Radcliffe education for the rigors of apple farming in those bitter t The Orchard is an exquisitely beautiful and poignant memoir of a young woman's single-handed struggle to save her New England farm in the depths of the Great Depression. Recently discovered by the author's daughter, it tells the story of Adele "Kitty" Robertson, young and energetic, but unprepared by her Radcliffe education for the rigors of apple farming in those bitter times. Alone at the end of a country road, with only a Great Dane for company, plagued by debts, broken machinery, and killing frosts, Kitty revives the old orchard after years of neglect. Every day is a struggle, but every day she is also rewarded by the beauty of the world and the unexpected kindness of neighbors and hired workers.Animated by quiet courage and simple goodness, The Orchard stands as a deeply moving celebration of decency and beauty in the midst of grim prospects and crushing poverty.

30 review for The Orchard: A Memoir

  1. 4 out of 5

    Martie Nees Record

    This posthumous memoir by Robertson was discovered by her daughter years after her mother’s death. Although the manuscript is incomplete it is still an intriguing account of one woman's daily victories and defeats as she works to keep a New England apple farm going during the Great Depression. Mostly alone she managed to preserve - despite chemical burns, insect bites, working with equipment that has to be patched to run while living in an unheated house – the farm and to bring in a good 1932 ha This posthumous memoir by Robertson was discovered by her daughter years after her mother’s death. Although the manuscript is incomplete it is still an intriguing account of one woman's daily victories and defeats as she works to keep a New England apple farm going during the Great Depression. Mostly alone she managed to preserve - despite chemical burns, insect bites, working with equipment that has to be patched to run while living in an unheated house – the farm and to bring in a good 1932 harvest; but this was the Depression, and "`everyone had apples." The harsh winter freeze the following year marks the end of her efforts. I was so inspired by this woman that I was left thinking “we just don't make them like her anymore.” And, wondering why not?

  2. 4 out of 5

    JimZ

    I really liked this book!!! A hidden treasure. This is from Penguin Random House: The Orchard is an exquisitely beautiful and poignant memoir of a young woman’s single-handed struggle to save her New England farm in the depths of the Great Depression. Recently discovered by the author’s daughter, it tells the story of Adele "Kitty" Robertson, young and energetic, but unprepared by her Radcliffe education for the rigors of apple farming in those bitter times. Alone at the end of a country road, wi I really liked this book!!! A hidden treasure. This is from Penguin Random House: The Orchard is an exquisitely beautiful and poignant memoir of a young woman’s single-handed struggle to save her New England farm in the depths of the Great Depression. Recently discovered by the author’s daughter, it tells the story of Adele "Kitty" Robertson, young and energetic, but unprepared by her Radcliffe education for the rigors of apple farming in those bitter times. Alone at the end of a country road, with only a Great Dane for company, plagued by debts, broken machinery, and killing frosts, Kitty revives the old orchard after years of neglect. Every day is a struggle, but every day she is also rewarded by the beauty of the world and the unexpected kindness of neighbors and hired workers. Animated by quiet courage and simple goodness, The Orchard stands as a deeply moving celebration of decency and beauty in the midst of grim prospects and crushing poverty. And from John Updike: A brave and beautiful account of one young woman's struggle with the adversities of the Great Depression....Town conscience and rememberer, Kitty Robertson tells us who we are and were we live.

  3. 4 out of 5

    David Kent

    This is a memoir of Adele Crockett Robertson. It is also a memoir of the hard work, persistence, and dedication of a singular woman as she tries to keep the family apple orchard alive during the depression in a small New England town. It also just happens to be my hometown. Robertson, known as Kitty to everyone, was a legend in Ipswich until, and even long after, her death in 1979. The manuscript was found by her daughter and published years after it was written. Robertson’s writing is crisp and This is a memoir of Adele Crockett Robertson. It is also a memoir of the hard work, persistence, and dedication of a singular woman as she tries to keep the family apple orchard alive during the depression in a small New England town. It also just happens to be my hometown. Robertson, known as Kitty to everyone, was a legend in Ipswich until, and even long after, her death in 1979. The manuscript was found by her daughter and published years after it was written. Robertson’s writing is crisp and natural, like the apples with which she struggled for three years trying to make a living. The book gives a sense not only of an extraordinary woman in extraordinary times, but of the spirit of New England itself. Since the setting is my hometown I found special relevance and am inspired to recall my own upbringing. Non-natives too, will find her story both equally charming and inspiring. I highly recommend it.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Frances Fitch

    What a gorgeous book. As John Updike said, "Kitty reminds us of who we are and where we live." Made me proud to be a woman, a New Englander, an Essex County denizen, a worker of the land... What a gorgeous book. As John Updike said, "Kitty reminds us of who we are and where we live." Made me proud to be a woman, a New Englander, an Essex County denizen, a worker of the land...

  5. 4 out of 5

    Denise Brown

    The Orchard is a touching memoir of a young woman valiantly struggling to save her family's farm by reviving its apple orchard. The author shares very interesting insights into surviving winter on the Massachusetts coast, how apples are raised and stored before sale, and life during the Depression. The Orchard is a touching memoir of a young woman valiantly struggling to save her family's farm by reviving its apple orchard. The author shares very interesting insights into surviving winter on the Massachusetts coast, how apples are raised and stored before sale, and life during the Depression.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    This is the journal of a woman who inherited the family farm in the midst of the Depression. Her brothers aren't interested in the farm or the orchard, so Adele moves in to the old house and takes over the care of several hundred apple trees. She toils alone at the backbreaking work, living on credit and poor food. She tells about the hardships she and her neighbors endure. She experiences exhaustion, loneliness and frequent despair she felt as she struggles to keep the orchard going, harvest th This is the journal of a woman who inherited the family farm in the midst of the Depression. Her brothers aren't interested in the farm or the orchard, so Adele moves in to the old house and takes over the care of several hundred apple trees. She toils alone at the backbreaking work, living on credit and poor food. She tells about the hardships she and her neighbors endure. She experiences exhaustion, loneliness and frequent despair she felt as she struggles to keep the orchard going, harvest the fruit and sell it at a price high enough to save the farm. This could be a "downer" of a book bt it isn't at all. The author is so determined, and never once feels sorry for herself, even when cold and hungry. During the winter of 1933, low temperature records all over New England were broken. She just kept doing what she needed to do. This is written in a very straight forward, no-nonsense Yankee voice. There are amusing parts and interesting characters. There is an element of suspense as well, as we are wondering, will she save the crop from the extreme cold? How cold will it get? Will she make a go of the orchard and keep the farm in the family? Will the neighbors have enough to eat? Will she? I really liked this book. I wonder how many people today would work so hard for so little return.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Deb Grove

    I picked this out of a box my Dad had packed to send to auction. I had no expectations but once I started this memoir, it was hard to put it down. It is a few years in the life of a woman who worked to save the family farm during the depression. It takes place in Ipswich MA close to the ocean where I have been recently because my daughter now lives near there. I was so consumed by her story I want to see if any of it remains. The memoir tells of the ups and downs she faces,and brings the Depress I picked this out of a box my Dad had packed to send to auction. I had no expectations but once I started this memoir, it was hard to put it down. It is a few years in the life of a woman who worked to save the family farm during the depression. It takes place in Ipswich MA close to the ocean where I have been recently because my daughter now lives near there. I was so consumed by her story I want to see if any of it remains. The memoir tells of the ups and downs she faces,and brings the Depression close to us who have heard the stories from older people in our families. Definitely, an unforgettable book.

  8. 5 out of 5

    CindySlowReader

    What a woman! Pretty, educated and a veritable work horse! This was just a few years of her early life, the epilogue gives a short history of what she did for the rest of her life. Learn how orchards were run in the 30s during the Depression. Meet some wonderful characters that helped Kitty in her orchards. Ipswich, Massachusetts is gorgeous, home of one of my favorite places, Crane Beach. Kitty's family home is still there as well as many other homes built before 1776. Her daughter included som What a woman! Pretty, educated and a veritable work horse! This was just a few years of her early life, the epilogue gives a short history of what she did for the rest of her life. Learn how orchards were run in the 30s during the Depression. Meet some wonderful characters that helped Kitty in her orchards. Ipswich, Massachusetts is gorgeous, home of one of my favorite places, Crane Beach. Kitty's family home is still there as well as many other homes built before 1776. Her daughter included some photos of Kitty and I'll be darned, she looks a lot like the actress Michelle Williams. I think someone could write an awesome screenplay from this memoir and cast her as Kitty!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Marti

    This was chosen by members of the book group. It is a good book--but very dreary. The only positive thing about it, I would say, is that the author had a Great Dane named Freya for company. She slaved away, wanting to save the land with the peach and apple trees. It was fortunate that she had some very hardworking men to help her. Bad things keep happening--extreme cold--her brothers trying to persuade her to sell. Luckily her physical health was very strong. This was right around the Depression This was chosen by members of the book group. It is a good book--but very dreary. The only positive thing about it, I would say, is that the author had a Great Dane named Freya for company. She slaved away, wanting to save the land with the peach and apple trees. It was fortunate that she had some very hardworking men to help her. Bad things keep happening--extreme cold--her brothers trying to persuade her to sell. Luckily her physical health was very strong. This was right around the Depression, when times were hard for everyone.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kelly Brown

    A beautifully written book that describes Adele Crockett Robertson's attempt to save her Ipswich, Massachusetts orchard during the height of the depression. Although the orchard ultimately failed, Robertson did not. She learned the lessons that we all need to learn: the best parts of life are the people we meet, nature provides us with all we really need, and the only failure in life is to give up hope. A beautifully written book that describes Adele Crockett Robertson's attempt to save her Ipswich, Massachusetts orchard during the height of the depression. Although the orchard ultimately failed, Robertson did not. She learned the lessons that we all need to learn: the best parts of life are the people we meet, nature provides us with all we really need, and the only failure in life is to give up hope.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kathryn Rhyne

    This was an interesting look at life during the Depression, although this was somewhat different than the typical picture we see. Kitty is trying to save her family farm/orchard by the sea in Massachusetts, and her father was a doctor, so she is starting from a much better place than most of the people of that period. I liked the descriptive writing of the land, her childhood memories, and her working the land.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    I loved this book and have read it twice now. The writing is beautiful, the woman is strong, the history is real.

  13. 4 out of 5

    MJ

    Read this one a few years ago, but it just popped up on K's want to read list. I really enjoyed it, largely because it is local history, but the writing is good. Read this one a few years ago, but it just popped up on K's want to read list. I really enjoyed it, largely because it is local history, but the writing is good.

  14. 5 out of 5

    HeavyReader

    I liked this book for a variety of reasons. #1 The writing was lovely. The descriptions of trees and fruit were poetic and beautiful #2 The story was engaging. I wanted to keep reading to find out what would happen next. The author brought alive the people and places she described. #3 The first-person account of life during the Great Depression was fascinating. I've read about the Great Depression, but this may be the first time I've read an account of the period by a person who is actually living I liked this book for a variety of reasons. #1 The writing was lovely. The descriptions of trees and fruit were poetic and beautiful #2 The story was engaging. I wanted to keep reading to find out what would happen next. The author brought alive the people and places she described. #3 The first-person account of life during the Great Depression was fascinating. I've read about the Great Depression, but this may be the first time I've read an account of the period by a person who is actually living through it at the time she is writing. People really did get along with very little. People really did go hungry. The author was somewhat privileged for the time, in that her family owned the (heavily mortgaged) land the orchard was on and she was the employer. She also had a spacious place to live and did not have to live with too many other people in a small space. However, she could not afford to heat her whole home and live out the winters in just a couple of cold rooms. In the summer she had to rent out the large main house and live in a small cabin. The author was not living large and watching other people suffer. #4 The author was a hard working woman. She did not sit back and watch others make her land produce income. She worked harder than the men she hired to help her. When there was a well to be dug, she was in there digging, getting filthy. With her short hair and work clothes, she was sometimes mistaken for a man. She was not delicate flower of femininity, and I appreciate that about her, especially since she was living in the 1930s. #5 The author may have grown up in a life of privileged, with a doctor for a father, a nice big house and plenty of land to grow up in, and a college education, but she spent many years of her life as a blue collar worker, first in the orchard and later on assembly lines in factories. I'm glad to have read this book.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Amy Salvatore

    I had the wrong Orchard book down before. This is a beautiful non-fiction account of a very plucky woman who kept a family orchard afloat for two years during the Depression. While this might sound as dry as the dirt of the farm itself, it isn't. Trust me. This quiet story conveys the sheer will it took to live through those dark times, the necessity of friendship to weather all storms, and the decency of people, even during life's challenges. The writer of the memoir, Adele Robertson, eventuall I had the wrong Orchard book down before. This is a beautiful non-fiction account of a very plucky woman who kept a family orchard afloat for two years during the Depression. While this might sound as dry as the dirt of the farm itself, it isn't. Trust me. This quiet story conveys the sheer will it took to live through those dark times, the necessity of friendship to weather all storms, and the decency of people, even during life's challenges. The writer of the memoir, Adele Robertson, eventually got a job writing about local Ipswich history for the WPA. This book was not part of that writing, and, in fact, it is only after she died that her daughter found the manuscript among her books. While her writing is not formal, it is intelligent and elegant in its simplicity. Her encounters with workers and her willingness to cross class boundaries allows her to come away from her experience with a wisdom that would guide her long working life as a mill worker, fisherwoman, writer and selectman in her town. Not only does she work at jobs that might have been considered menial for a college educated woman, she also labored with her hands, working every bit as hard or harder than a man, no mean feat for a woman in the 1930s. It is an inspiring story for our times to see how people banded together to survive economic disaster through hard work and grit. I love the book and recommend it to readers who enjoy memoir but also have a desire to learn about the Depression and its toll.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Tiffany

    I found this to be a book of hope for my current college graduate generation. It gives me hope that hard work will pay off, and you can still find happiness without the top pay and positions we hold in hightest esteem. I will reccomend it to all my friends struggling to find work due to overqualification and those trying to stick to their ideals in this current economic situation. Her oppinions and attitude throughout the book struck a chord with me, and I am fascinated that a depression era sto I found this to be a book of hope for my current college graduate generation. It gives me hope that hard work will pay off, and you can still find happiness without the top pay and positions we hold in hightest esteem. I will reccomend it to all my friends struggling to find work due to overqualification and those trying to stick to their ideals in this current economic situation. Her oppinions and attitude throughout the book struck a chord with me, and I am fascinated that a depression era story is so relevant today. It is a memior, and is an unfinished manuscript, but I feel that makes the oppinions all the more raw and striking. A great read for those who respect history and a real inspiration to keep record of the things held most dear. I also really enjoyed learning about the upkeep and work that goes into caring for and harvesting an apple orchard. If none of my esoteric mumbo jumbo is a great pull for you, read it for the chance to really understand the details of farm life in a not so farmer friendly region.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Hughes

    What a beautiful book. An unfinished memoir of a young woman who worked to save her family home and orchard from being taken by the bank during the terrible Depression years just after the big crash. "Kitty" Robertson is so gutsy, so brave in the face of overwhelming adversity, working harder than I think we even know how anymore. Her writing is luscious, and her character leaps from the page large and beautiful and heartbreaking as a fiction character. Her daughter's foreword and epilogue--also What a beautiful book. An unfinished memoir of a young woman who worked to save her family home and orchard from being taken by the bank during the terrible Depression years just after the big crash. "Kitty" Robertson is so gutsy, so brave in the face of overwhelming adversity, working harder than I think we even know how anymore. Her writing is luscious, and her character leaps from the page large and beautiful and heartbreaking as a fiction character. Her daughter's foreword and epilogue--also in lovely prose--put everything in context. Despite the manuscript being unfinished, I was able to feel closure at the end and like things were wrapped up. I know our family stories, and I've read other books set during the Depression, but this gave me a completely new, close-up, hard look in the face at what real people went through during those terrible years. I admire Kitty tremendously and can only hope that if I were faced by similar circumstances, I would rise to meet them with even some of the grace she had.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Chelinda

    This was a book in my personal library, I'm unsure how long it has been on my shelves, but I made it a goal this year to read at least one book a quarter from my shelves. I went through a phase a while back of wanting to plant an orchard, so I'm sure I bought it at least a decade ago and it has been languishing on my shelves ever since. Wow, am I ever so glad I finally picked it up to read! I loved this book because: *It is written beautifully. So very descriptive. I feel like I'm right there with This was a book in my personal library, I'm unsure how long it has been on my shelves, but I made it a goal this year to read at least one book a quarter from my shelves. I went through a phase a while back of wanting to plant an orchard, so I'm sure I bought it at least a decade ago and it has been languishing on my shelves ever since. Wow, am I ever so glad I finally picked it up to read! I loved this book because: *It is written beautifully. So very descriptive. I feel like I'm right there with her. *Memoirs like this are part of women's history. How many first hand accounts of women farming alone during the Depression do you know of? Exactly. This book fills in a niche of our social history. *I learned things I did not know. Wow, farming an orchard is complicated! *The writer never published her memoir, indeed she didn't even finish. Her manuscript was found by her daughter after her death. This gem of a memoir just sat in her papers until her daughter was cleaning out her house. What a gem to find.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Richda Mcnutt

    This is an absolute gem of a book - an account of a young woman's attempt to maintain a family orchard after her father's death in the early 1930's. In the midst of the Great Depression, she is fighting enormous odds - and attempting to do it on her own. She battles cranky equipment, unpredictable weather, better-established and maintained competing orchards, and a lack of able farm workers - for the end result of a crop of apples and peaches that will probably not bring enough money to pay off This is an absolute gem of a book - an account of a young woman's attempt to maintain a family orchard after her father's death in the early 1930's. In the midst of the Great Depression, she is fighting enormous odds - and attempting to do it on her own. She battles cranky equipment, unpredictable weather, better-established and maintained competing orchards, and a lack of able farm workers - for the end result of a crop of apples and peaches that will probably not bring enough money to pay off accumulated debts and resupply for the next harvest. The entire nation is striving to feed, clothe, and shelter itself; Miss Crockett's personal situation mirrors that. The labor is relentless, but she finds satisfaction in the daily glimpses of the living earth and the marvels it produces - and she is often touched by the kindness and great hearts of her neighbors, loyal farm workers, and associated tradesmen and business people who have the same concerns and struggles as her own.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    This book took me home. I once got lost and ended up driving through Ipswich and after reading this I'm so glad that I got lost that day. It looked much like any New England town does but for me they each still have their own unique flavor. Reading this memoir made me channel Currier & Ives, Robert Frost and made me long for a simpler, albeit more difficult, time in our country's history. It also brought back vivid memories of my own childhood. The fact that she never sought to have this publish This book took me home. I once got lost and ended up driving through Ipswich and after reading this I'm so glad that I got lost that day. It looked much like any New England town does but for me they each still have their own unique flavor. Reading this memoir made me channel Currier & Ives, Robert Frost and made me long for a simpler, albeit more difficult, time in our country's history. It also brought back vivid memories of my own childhood. The fact that she never sought to have this published, and never actually finished it, made me love it all the more. Her daughter found the manuscript under a stack of telephone books and had it published. Thankfully, for my sanity, she shared the end of her mother's story. I also loved this for some of the same reasons I loved "84 Charing Cross Road", it wasn't written in the same format but these were people that I wish I knew. 9/10

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    This is a not a book I would have normally picked up. It was recommended by William Alexander, author of "The $64 Tomato" and "52 Loaves", as a gardening reference. The author, Adele Robertson, is trying desperately to save her family home and orchard after her father's death. I learned so many things about the care of fruit trees, bees, and old farm houses. There is something so amazing in watching a fruit tree go through the annual stages of budding, blooming, fruiting and dropping fruit and l This is a not a book I would have normally picked up. It was recommended by William Alexander, author of "The $64 Tomato" and "52 Loaves", as a gardening reference. The author, Adele Robertson, is trying desperately to save her family home and orchard after her father's death. I learned so many things about the care of fruit trees, bees, and old farm houses. There is something so amazing in watching a fruit tree go through the annual stages of budding, blooming, fruiting and dropping fruit and leaves. I grew up around apple orchards and could easily sink back into the experiences involved in caring for a tree. This book is a great example of simply sharing your experience so that others might learn from it for years to come. Thank you to her daughter for putting it into print...

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jenny

    This was a really beautifully written simple memoir of this woman's struggle to save her family's orchard. It is a quiet book, but tells of one woman's strength, independence, courage, & determination through the difficult Depression years and through the challenges that come with orchard farming. All that she worked for and accomplished would have been amazing at that time for anyone, but the fact that she was a woman accomplishing so much at this period in history makes it even more remarkable This was a really beautifully written simple memoir of this woman's struggle to save her family's orchard. It is a quiet book, but tells of one woman's strength, independence, courage, & determination through the difficult Depression years and through the challenges that come with orchard farming. All that she worked for and accomplished would have been amazing at that time for anyone, but the fact that she was a woman accomplishing so much at this period in history makes it even more remarkable (and she didn't make that an issue). Though my family didn't have an orchard, we did have several fruit trees while I was growing up and because of that, many things she talked about brought back fond memories of those times.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sara Warner

    I came across this book sitting on my mom's kitchen counter with 15 names and dates inscribed inside the cover. Each person signed his or her name as a friend passed this book along, and I was so pleased to add my name to the list! Great memoir by a woman trying to save her family orchard against the odds during the Great Depression. The writing is so vivid that the apple and peach trees end up seeming like characters in the story-- the reader really starts to feel the main character's passion, I came across this book sitting on my mom's kitchen counter with 15 names and dates inscribed inside the cover. Each person signed his or her name as a friend passed this book along, and I was so pleased to add my name to the list! Great memoir by a woman trying to save her family orchard against the odds during the Great Depression. The writing is so vivid that the apple and peach trees end up seeming like characters in the story-- the reader really starts to feel the main character's passion, and I found myself inspired by her drive and endless hard work. A good read for anyone who is interested in the period or New England rural life. The memoir was found and published by the author's daughter, who wraps up the sadly unfinished story.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Julie Barrett

    The orchard: a memoir by Adele Crockett Robertson Love hearing of the depression years and how families survived. This story is about a New England farm taken care of by a woman with a college degree and she takes on the job of reviving the orchard. Starts with her finding her father dead in the farmhouse and what transpires. She does get help from some but there are thieves also that want her crops. A mill town she is able to sell the apples to a man who sells them at the street corner in the city The orchard: a memoir by Adele Crockett Robertson Love hearing of the depression years and how families survived. This story is about a New England farm taken care of by a woman with a college degree and she takes on the job of reviving the orchard. Starts with her finding her father dead in the farmhouse and what transpires. She does get help from some but there are thieves also that want her crops. A mill town she is able to sell the apples to a man who sells them at the street corner in the city. This is the story of where they came from. Love hearing the strategies used to combat the pests. I received this book from National Library Service for my BARD (Braille Audio Reading Device).

  25. 5 out of 5

    Cathy

    The author's daughter found this unpublished memoir after her mother's death, under a pile of phone books in the kitchen. It is a beautifully written account that describes just a few years in the author's life, from 1932 to 1934, during which, as a young woman, grief-stricken after her father's death, she attempted to save the family apple farm single-handedly, with only her Great Dane, Freya, for company. Sadly, the manuscript is unfinished, although the story of the apple farm is complete. By The author's daughter found this unpublished memoir after her mother's death, under a pile of phone books in the kitchen. It is a beautifully written account that describes just a few years in the author's life, from 1932 to 1934, during which, as a young woman, grief-stricken after her father's death, she attempted to save the family apple farm single-handedly, with only her Great Dane, Freya, for company. Sadly, the manuscript is unfinished, although the story of the apple farm is complete. By this time, however, the reader is so in love with the author, her writing, and her life, that one wishes the story were longer.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Judy

    I never met Betsy Cramer; we were just "cyber friends" back in the '90s (in a group called the "UML"), when she was editing her mother's amazing story. I felt lucky that Betsy shared it with me as she carefully edited her mother's experiences during the Depression, trying to keep the family apple orchard alive. If you get a chance, you too, will find the writing and story of this memoir deeply, deeply moving, and worthy of your reading time. Here it is 20+ years later after the publishing date, I never met Betsy Cramer; we were just "cyber friends" back in the '90s (in a group called the "UML"), when she was editing her mother's amazing story. I felt lucky that Betsy shared it with me as she carefully edited her mother's experiences during the Depression, trying to keep the family apple orchard alive. If you get a chance, you too, will find the writing and story of this memoir deeply, deeply moving, and worthy of your reading time. Here it is 20+ years later after the publishing date, and I still think of passages from the book. I read 3-5 books every week, and this is truly one of the best I have ever read.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    I recently finished reading this book for the second time. It is the memoir of a woman who successfully saved her family's orchard farm during the Great Depression. She did so by brute force and hard labor. Her memoir gives the reader an intimate insight into the struggles that people faced during that time period. As you read about the difficulties she survived, I'm certain you'll feel, as I did, an increased gratitude for the blessings you have in your life today. The author writes very well. I recently finished reading this book for the second time. It is the memoir of a woman who successfully saved her family's orchard farm during the Great Depression. She did so by brute force and hard labor. Her memoir gives the reader an intimate insight into the struggles that people faced during that time period. As you read about the difficulties she survived, I'm certain you'll feel, as I did, an increased gratitude for the blessings you have in your life today. The author writes very well. The book is at times funny, poignant, and heartbreaking. I highly recommend it.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Angela

    I would have given this 3 1/2 stars if I could give half stars, but since I can't, and its a true story, I rounded up. I am amazed that this woman had the nerve to take on such a difficult challenge (restore her father's coastal massachusetts orchard to working condition) and she was my age (32) AND it was during the great depression. My initial hope was that the book would be inspiring but it ended up being a little depressing. (No pun intended). Still, it was well worth the time to read. I would have given this 3 1/2 stars if I could give half stars, but since I can't, and its a true story, I rounded up. I am amazed that this woman had the nerve to take on such a difficult challenge (restore her father's coastal massachusetts orchard to working condition) and she was my age (32) AND it was during the great depression. My initial hope was that the book would be inspiring but it ended up being a little depressing. (No pun intended). Still, it was well worth the time to read.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Patricia

    This is a charming book! I'd have given it 5 stars if it really had an ending, but instead it just ended at the point where the author stopped writing (it was found many years later by her daughter). Nonetheless, it was a very satisfactory story about the author's Depression years, when she was trying to her utmost to save the family farm--and she was doing it alone. I liked her, liked her writing, and liked the story she had to tell. It is such a thrill to find a book like this at used book sto This is a charming book! I'd have given it 5 stars if it really had an ending, but instead it just ended at the point where the author stopped writing (it was found many years later by her daughter). Nonetheless, it was a very satisfactory story about the author's Depression years, when she was trying to her utmost to save the family farm--and she was doing it alone. I liked her, liked her writing, and liked the story she had to tell. It is such a thrill to find a book like this at used book stores--a real treasure.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ted Haussman

    A very well-written memoir by the author's mother who, likely planned to have it published, only to set it aside and never return to it. It was discovered by her daughter after her passing. It tells the story of her grit and determination to hang onto a beloved farm / orchard property within sight of the ocean in Ipswich, MA during the great depression. Just when you think you know what is going to happen, it does not turn out that way. Overall, it provides an evocative sense of the times and atm A very well-written memoir by the author's mother who, likely planned to have it published, only to set it aside and never return to it. It was discovered by her daughter after her passing. It tells the story of her grit and determination to hang onto a beloved farm / orchard property within sight of the ocean in Ipswich, MA during the great depression. Just when you think you know what is going to happen, it does not turn out that way. Overall, it provides an evocative sense of the times and atmosphere and tells a compelling human drama in the face of insuperable odds.

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