3.12.2010

Book Review: The Blue Orchard

The Blue Orchard by Jackson Taylor

You know, I often browse Amazon reviews before I post my own review here, just to see if my own thoughts are in line with other reviewers when it comes to various books.

Rarely do you find a book that ONLY has five star reviews, but this novel definitely warrants it.

This novel, based on the life of Taylor's grandmother, follows the life of Verna Krone, born poor in early 1900s Pennsylvania. The first half of the novel tracks her early life, her first jobs, a rape, an abortion, an affair, a child, and ultimately, a moneymaker: serving as the nurse for Dr. Crampton, a well-respected black doctor who happens to perform illegal abortions.

Verna enjoys the money she earns nursing these women after their surgeries, though at times questions the legality of their actions, all while Dr. Crampton continues to serve the Harrisburg community fully, until politics start getting in the way. The book begins with Verna's arrest for illegal surgery, and so even though the reader knows of the end at the beginning, you still hold your breath to see if she and Dr. Crampton will be caught.

I thought this was a wonderfully engaging, well written novel with interesting characters, that perfectly evokes the time period and the settings so well. My only negative would be that the politics in the second half of the book didn't keep my interest, and ultimately slowed the story down to a near stop for me.

Beyond that, though, this is definitely a recommended read! Fantastic!

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