The Personal History of Rachel Dupree
This is a story of a Negro couple who left Chicago to take on a ranch in the South Dakota Badlands. Rachel Reeves is the hired help of Mrs DuPree, owner of a boarding house in Chicago, when she meets and falls in love with the son, Isaac DuPree, a soldier in the American army home on leave but shortly to be discharged from the military. He wants to stake a claim to land in South Dakota and persuades Rachel that if she will allow him to also stake a claim in her name it would give him 360 acres, a sizeable ranch on which to raise cattle and grow wheat. Rachel agrees, providing he marries her.
When the novel begins, it is 1917, and fourteen years have passed; there is severe drought, and the cattle and crops are dying. The story of the previous fourteen years is told with occasional flashbacks to the early days in Chicago with all of their hardships. I found it a fascinating story and quickly found empathy with Rachel. This is Ann Weisgarber’s first novel, and I wish her every success with the next one.