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The Harvester

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  1,589 ratings  ·  198 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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4.20  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,589 ratings  ·  198 reviews

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Feb 06, 2014 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
Dec 02, 2009 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 05, 2015 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 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
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!
Feb 24, 2010 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
Jan 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: vintage-novels
I always enjoy reading Gene Stratton-Porter, and this was no exception. A very sweet love story with a hero you can really admire, more for what is on the inside than what is on outside (but don't get me wrong, he was very rugged and handsome in my head! hehe). The setting is gorgeous as it tends to be in her novels, her descriptions of the natural world are beautiful, but peppered with a scientific view that helps to keep them grounded a bit.
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 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 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
Clare Martha Thérèse
This is a beautiful book. I savored every bit. It has a lot of sweet romance but also shows good virtues in the characters. It is a story of man searching for his love and doing everything and anything to win her love and give her happiness. It tells that true love is not a feeling, but an action and a choice that never dies and endures much. It is so dreamy and a must-read for every romancer out there.
Jul 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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 20, 2010 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
Jan 18, 2010 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
Lisa Brown
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 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
Feb 12, 2011 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
Feb 03, 2014 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
Mar 12, 2013 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
Nov 15, 2016 rated it liked it
Love how Gene Stratton-Porter writes, so was excited to read The Harvester. It's a sweet love story, of how the Harvester woos his Dream-Girl, and as always, the beautiful world is described in vivid detail by Mrs. Porter's pen. It moved a little slowly at the beginning and I didn't care for some of the beliefs portrayed in it (specifically concerning nature and death), which is why it's not a favorite, but still a good, sweet read. I prefer A Girl of the Limberlost and A Daughter of the Land ov ...more
Mar 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I have found my new favorite novel! My dad has been trying to get me to read this for years, and I can’t believe I’ve waited this long. Loved every minute of it. I usually prefer a book with more of a tragedy, this one doesn’t quite fit that description, but is a beautifully drawn out love story. I will definitely read more from this author. Posting the link to Dads review of the book, it is beautifully written:

Read Craig's 5-star review of The Harvester by Gene Stratton-Porter
May 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book is all about a mans love for a woman, love is not forced, love is patient, love is kind, love is healing, love is joyful. If everyone were only to be able to be loved in this way the world would be a better place! There were times in the novel that I wanted to skip past some of the details of the flowers, land, seeds etc (even though I am in love with all things that grow in my garden) but once the story settle on the love story it flowed better for me.
Karen Hogan
Jan 17, 2015 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.
Mar 30, 2011 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?
Apr 12, 2011 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!
Jun 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: romantic
This is the picture of how a man and woman's relationship should be. I love David. I love Ruth. If I could, I would marrry somebody like David, somebody who is passionate, noble, and caring. If more men strove to reach this standard, our world would be a better place. :
Dec 28, 2008 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.
Elizabeth Gajdosik
Apr 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Gene Stratton-Porter, teach me your ways! Your novels contain strongest morals and you paint your characters with truest life!
Jan 03, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
I love the Harvester's steadfast character and ache for his loneliness. Will the Girl ever be his?
Janell Howard
Oct 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Loved, loved, LOVED this book!!!
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Happily Ever Afte...: Qtrly Classic Group Read - The Harvester (spoilers) 16 31 Nov 15, 2013 04:18AM  
Gene Stratton Porter 2 6 Oct 16, 2013 10:33AM  

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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
“Knowing things will not harm you. Doing them is a different matter. What you know will be a protection. What you do ruins - if it is wrong.” 0 likes
“From an outside viewpoint it seems as if I had almost all a man could ask in reason. But when was a strong man in the grip of love ever reasonable? I think the Almighty took a pretty grave responsibility when He made men as He did. If I had been He, and understood the forces I was handling, I would have been too big a coward to do it.” 0 likes
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