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The Harvester

4.19  ·  Rating Details ·  1,310 Ratings  ·  170 Reviews
Idyllic bliss, pristine woods, a mysterious past

Gene Stratton-Porter returns us to her beloved Midwestern woodlands with a hero modeled after Henry David Thoreau. He and his “wonderful, alluring” Ruth ultimately find idyllic bliss in the pure, unspoiled woods, but not before her mysterious past is revealed and resolved.
Paperback, 528 pages
Published August 1st 1987 by Indiana University Press (first published January 1st 1911)
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Jun 15, 2010 Jocelyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone!
Recommended to Jocelyn by: Grant
Shelves: own
My husband thought we should read this book at the same time. His mother read it to him in his youth, and he thought it helped shape his view of how women should be treated.

I loved this book! The Harvester is such a wonderful character, an ideal man. He is noble, caring, patient, smart . . . I could go on. This is a wonderful love story. It is passionate while still appropriate. The characters are quirky and endearing. The story is captivating. I love the messages of good moral values, forgivene
May 19, 2014 Craig rated it it was amazing
Please don't let my wife read this book - I would never hear the end of it. The reader should remember that David Langston, Porter's Harvester, was, after all, only a fictional character. He never really existed.

Having said that, I was mesmerized by the sweep, intensity and energy of this book. I don't think I've ever read a more moving love story, albeit one-sided. Porter's premise, her style, her profuse imagery were unique. At times, the narrative and commentary were slow-paced (I kept sayin
I read this because it was selected as the quarterly classic group read in one of the groups I'm in. The story is about a man, David Langston who is the harvester. He harvests wild plants for medicines. He lives a simple life with his dog and his plants. One day he has this dream of a woman and knows she is the one for him. Later he sees her in town but was unable to get to her. He then looks for her and eventually he does find her. Her name is Ruth Jameson and she just arrived in the area and l ...more
May 05, 2015 Lindy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a beautiful love story with passion and desire with out the lust. A great commentary on how love is deepened with clean living and heartfelt service. Move over Mr Darcy, David Langston is a man with strength, honesty, and straightforwardness not to be placed before tenderness, gentleness and kindness.

One of my favorite quotes:
"...Never can you be truly happy, Ruth, until you have forgiven them... The only way on earth to cure [pain] is through forgiveness. That, and that only, will ease
I adore this Limberlost book. It is different from the other two Limberlost books in many ways but it's so very ethereal and beautiful.

Where was this book when I was 14 years old? I needed this book back then. I'll tell you where it was-- probably out of print! I read the GSP books that I could get my hands on when I was that age and I never came across this one. Thank goodness for this electronic age that we live in that is bringing these old gems back to life!
Up to this point I've only read the "Big Three" of this author's books, though I've enjoyed them for years. The advent of free/cheap collections of older works on e-book has made it possible to try more, and for my first foray deeper into her collection I chose "Harvester". What an inspired choice! It turned out to be a wonderful old-fashioned love story. I only wish I'd read it years ago.

About the first half of this story deals with David, a man who makes his living gathering the wild barks, r
Thom Swennes
Sep 06, 2013 Thom Swennes rated it really liked it
David Langston is The Harvester. Content to live a simple life with his dog and the thought of complicating it with a woman brings on a panic attack…. Until…. The vision of her changed his life. David didn’t know her name or even where she was but he knew that she would be his wife and started preparing for her arrival by building her a home. The harvester grows, tends and cultivates trees, plants, herbs, edible and medicinal fungi. The author displays a cornucopia of colors, smells and textures ...more
Apr 16, 2011 Stephanie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: core-favorites
I thought Laddie would always be my favorite Gene Stratton Porter book...I was wrong. I picked up a worn, weather beaten copy of the Harvester which was published in 1911. It belonged to my husbands grandmother and I have wanted to read it for years, but feared I would ruin it. Yesterday, I gently picked it up and began to try the waters. I put it down twice; once to sleep and the next when I had finished it. It is the most enchanting, inspiring story of love and life that I have yet encountered ...more
Dec 17, 2015 Dianna rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
David Langston lives alone in the Medicine Woods, where he cultivates and harvests plants used for medicines and sells them to doctors and drug companies. His neighbors call him lazy because he hasn't drained his lake and planted corn; really he is hard-working and well versed in the ways of the woods.

Each spring with the coming of the first bluebird, he asks his faithful dog whether he should continue with his present occupation or seek his fortune in the city, and the dog always advises him t
Apr 27, 2010 Joey rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Joey by: Kathleen Burk
Shelves: favorites, fiction
This was such a sweet story. It concerns a man named David Langston who harvests herbs (Harvester!) to sell to druggists and doctors to cure people from their ailments. He is somewhat a loner and his best friends are his dog Belshazzar, his horse Betsy, and all the wildlife in the Medicine Woods. One day after getting upset when his dog "tells" him he should get married (David asked Bel!) he dreams of a beautiful girl. When he awakes he forgives Belshazzar for "telling" him to go courting that y ...more
Dec 01, 2010 Lisa rated it liked it
Three and a half stars. This book started out slow and was a hard for me to get into at first but the story definitely picked up in the second half of the book. I had a hard time placing the setting and time period so it was an unsettling read. At first I was a little worried about the main character's motivations and ideas about love. The love story seemed a too idealized, which can still make for a good story but the author sets the book up to be so much more than an overly romantic love story ...more
Aug 27, 2015 Lisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
David Langston, known as "the Harvester" or the "Medicine Man" to people in the town, lives out in the forest and harvest plants and herbs that are used to make medicines for doctors to give their patients. One morning, he decides it is finally time to find a wife. After having a dream about the girl he should marry, without even meeting her, he builds a beautiful home to bring her to. Then, one day, he sees her in real life, and has to search for her. And once he finds her, he needs to court he ...more
Feb 22, 2011 Suzanne rated it it was amazing
Could be that I especially loved this book after just having finished The Outlander. It was such a beautiful expression of "He loved us first". I loved the description of the reason we need to forgive on p. 320, "The only way on earth to cure the pain is through forgiveness. That, and that only, will ease it all away, and leave you happy and free for life and love. So long as you let this rancour eat in your heart, you are not, and never can be, normal. You must forgive them. Then your heart wil ...more
Mar 30, 2011 Patricia rated it really liked it
I really liked the characters in this book - very life-like and realistic. The Harvester, David Langston, was hardworking, resourceful, and caring. It was interesting to read about how he cultivated his herbs on his land and sold them to doctors and druggists. He was quite successful in making a living through it. I liked Ruth too: so nice she got to have such a good life after some hardships she faces earlier! Granny Moreland was hilarious, I thought. There were references to evolution now and ...more
May 09, 2014 Sara rated it it was amazing
Another lovely story from Mrs. Stratton-Porter. This one has the same landscape and trademark story telling of Freckles and Girl of the Limberlost but has an entirely different feel. Unlike the coming of age and journey to happiness through self-reliance that we see in the first two Limberlost books, this one more of a grown up romance. Innocent and lovely and inspiring but less instructive and gritty and compelling. I enjoyed this book very much for its beautiful prose and lovely descriptions. ...more
Feb 04, 2014 Michele rated it liked it
Shelves: books-of-2014
There are a lot of sweet moments here. The Harvester gives a great case for the importance of virtue and why it is worthwhile. I enjoyed the book but don't think it is her best. I would start with "Girl of the Limberlost" if you are a beginning Gene Stratton-Porter fan. You realize she is the bird woman right?
As much as I wanted to I just couldn't fall in love with the Harvester. He is a bit of a control freak and has exact ideas of how a sweetheart should be. I felt like he was too controlling
Karen Hogan
Jan 03, 2016 Karen Hogan rated it liked it
3.5 stars. It was slow at first, but picked up near the middle. As always loved the author's description of nature, and the medicine man's work with medicinal herbs. There are so many wonderful sayings and thoughtful gems throughout Gene Stratton-porter's novel. David Langston, the harvester is a wonderful man, but just a little too perfect.. This novel was published in the 1911, so it's a bit flowery and syrupy, but still worth reading... The love story made me cry.
Nov 08, 2011 Kaya rated it it was amazing
Quentin the psychic was emphatic that I needed to read this so I would recognize my soul mate when he came along. It's taken me months to get into it (I put it down for a loooong time), but I'm looking forward to reading it tonight. That's good, right?
Aug 19, 2016 Megan rated it really liked it
I love to read Gene Stratton-Porter books because they are packed with good morals and standards that have been long buried and forgotten in society today. It is a wonderful refreshment to read about these strengths of character that she incorporates into her stories that existed long ago.
May 13, 2011 Terrah rated it really liked it
This isn't my favorite Gene Stratton-Porter book, but it is right up there. The last third of the book is especially enjoyable, she ties up the story with some life lessons very well. However, Girl of the Limberlost is still the best!
Janell Howard
Oct 21, 2015 Janell Howard rated it it was amazing
Loved, loved, LOVED this book!!!
Mar 21, 2009 Victoria rated it really liked it
Recommended to Victoria by: Courtney A.
Loved this book :) Such a sweet story, with lots of good lessons in it.
Tom Helmick
Dec 03, 2016 Tom Helmick rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
This is our third book of Gene Straton Porters and the one we liked the best. Surrounded by "old-fashioned" values, the story is both compelling and enjoyable.
Nov 17, 2016 Charlotte rated it really liked it
I really liked this book. It inspired me to want to be a better person and wife. I loved looking in on this relationship and I am also into herbs so I enjoyed that part of the book too.
Carinne Gee
Oct 17, 2016 Carinne Gee rated it liked it
Sweet story. Lots of great morals and an enjoyable read. Not my favorite of hers though. Freckles and Girl of the Limberlost are better.
Becca brown
May 12, 2011 Becca brown rated it did not like it
Shelves: did-not-like
Far and deep in the woods lived a man named David Langston. Known by the people of the small town of Onabasha as the Medicine Man, David spent his life in the meadows and glades, with the birds and animals he knew by name. Day after day, he greeted the sun with a smile, and would whistle away the time, as he studied countless numbers of plants and herbs which he would then make into tonics to sell to the local hospitals.
One day, his peaceful life was interrupted by a dream. He dreamt that he me
Nicholas Whyte
Jan 27, 2013 Nicholas Whyte rated it liked it
Shelves: 2012, non-genre, 1211[return][return]This was America's best-selling novel in 1912; a feelgood romance between a young man who grows vast numbers of medicinal herbs in the Indiana woods, and a girl who appears to him in his dreams. She needs to sort out some mildly complex family issues (evil uncle, dead mother, estranged grandparents); he needs to persuade her that she loves him; it's fairly obvious how things will work out. (I notice that the more recent of the two Hollywo ...more
Melissa T
Feb 20, 2010 Melissa T rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was one of the most tender love stories I have ever read. It's a sweet, sweet story of patience, forgiveness, and what a marriage ought to be. Yes, the "Harvester" is romanticized, but I do think that every great once in while there is that ideal man who is real--not perfect in every way, but nearly perfect in the essentials. And what is especially important about this book is that he talks about how his mother taught him to live a "clean" life, and that becoming the man he was involved a l ...more
Jun 16, 2016 Rachel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The self summary says it all; "Pristine", "Idyllic bliss", "alluring”, "pure, unspoiled". Gene Stratton-Porter is the master of Utopia. Definitely not for the romantically "challenged" or faint of heart for Ms. Porter is also the master of emotional swooning--enough so to cause a pleasant roll of the eyes until she captures you in the story, as she undoubtedly will, and the eye rolling stops and you willingly go along for the ride among perfect people and places (much more enticing than any prin ...more
Sarah Potter
Oct 27, 2012 Sarah Potter rated it it was amazing
I have awarded this novel five stars, as the story and characters intrigued me. Not much happens plot-wise, but the psychological and social interplay between the two main characters is so intense, you just want things to work out between them. I was so touched by the beautiful manner in which the Harvester (David) sets out to woo and heal the girl of his dreams, who is a poor soul damaged by grief, poverty, and urban life (Chicago,sometime around 1900).

David lives in the middle of the woods and
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Happily Ever Afte...: Qtrly Classic Group Read - The Harvester (spoilers) 16 31 Nov 15, 2013 01:18PM  
Gene Stratton Porter 2 6 Oct 16, 2013 07:33PM  
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She was an American author, amateur naturalist, wildlife photographer, and one of the earliest women to form a movie studio and production company. She wrote some of the best selling novels and well-received columns in magazines of the day.

Born Geneva Grace Stratton in Wabash County, Indiana, she married Charles D. Porter in 1886, and they had one daughter, Jeannette.

She became a wildlife photogra
More about Gene Stratton-Porter...

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