The Personal History of Rachel Dupree


How did I get it?:
I borrowed it from Bibliobeth.


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.


I have had this book for such a long time and I’m only getting around to reading it now. I’m glad I did get around to read it, because it’s an incredibly easy to read story and a very promising debut novel.

The Personal History of Rachel Dupree tells the story of a couple Rachel Dupree and her husband Isaac. The reader firsts meets Rachel when she’s working for Isaac’s mum. Isaac was a soldier in the army. On his return, he marries Rachel, against his mother’s wishes, as she had someone else lined up for him. The Personal History of Rachel Dupree is a story of poverty and hardship set in the South Dakota Badlands.

I couldn’t believe that this was Ann Weisgarner’s debut novel. It felt incredibly accomplished. The character’s are well developed and well written. The reader can completely picture what’s happening. I particularly liked that all the answers weren’t given, you’re given chance to draw your own conclusions in the story.

I’d definitely read more by Ann Weisgarner.

Would I recommend it?:

Reading next:
Stay Where You Are and Then Leave- John Boyne

October Challenge: Read more books on my Kindle

I have an alarming amount of books on my Kindle left unread. I really need to start getting through them, so in the month of October, I have decided to ONLY read books on my Kindle. This is a big thing for me to do, as I love my ‘real’ books so much. However, I figure that if I dedicate a month to my e-reader, I’ll start to slowly get through the overwhelming amount of books on there.

I picked ten books to start with out of my TBR box.

Here are the first ten books I aim to read-

  1. The Return- Victoria Hislop
  2. Cutting For Stone- Abraham Verghese
  3. The Mystery Death of Miss Austen- Lindsay Ashford
  4. Code Name Verity- Elizabeth Wein
  5. Courtiers: The Secret History of Kensington Palace- Lucy Worsley
  6. The Apple: Crimson Petal Stories- Michel Faber
  7. Corrag- Susan Fletcher
  8. Dollhouse- Anya Allyn
  9. The Personal History of Rachel Dupree- Ann Weisgarber
  10. In Search Of Adam- Caroline Smailes

I shall round up how many books I managed to read at the end of October. With a week off work, I’m pretty hopeful that I’ll have lots of reading time.