A monthly book club discussing works of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry that have the Great Lakes as a setting or as subject matter. This month’s selection is Lucy Sanna’s historical novel The Cherry Harvest.
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.
Held the first Thursday of each month (September through May) in the Reddin Bridge Room of the beautiful Door County Maritime Museum, the Great Lakes/Great Books discussions are free and open to all ages.