Linda's Reviews > The Personal History of Rachel DuPree

The Personal History of Rachel DuPree by Ann Weisgarber
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Sep 18, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: african-american, historical-fiction
Read in September, 2011

I really liked this book. The author brought me right into the harsh world of the Badlands, from rattling prairie grasses, coyotes howling like devils, and grit that couldn't be kept outside. Rachel, a cook at a Chicago boardinghouse, falls for the ambitious son of her employer and persuades him to marry her - a deal. She works hard on their Badlands homestead to prove herself to Isaac, all the while wondering whether she is just a good workhorse to him. Will his ambition finally break her?

This is a study of personal and societal relationships, from lowly "too dark" Rachel and her "high class" black employer to whites and blacks on the frontier to Isaac and the neighboring Indians, but mostly the delicate dance between Rachel and Isaac. Throw in some history to boot: Ida B. Wells-Barnett, buffalo soldiers, St. Louis race riots. I was gunning for Rachel all the way to the end.
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