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Farm Fiction

By Lukie Marriott

Symbolic of an older, respected way of life immersed in the rhythms of nature, there are also secrets and tragedies that seem to go along with life on a farm. Think of those long family histories, creaky old buildings, and the hiding places that fields and woods provide! To seal the idea that the two go hand-in-hand, there are plenty of secrets and dark events in these books.

  • Some Luck

    2014 by Jane Smiley

    In 1991, Smiley won the Pulitzer for her novel, A Thousand Acres, about a farm family that seems idyllic on the surface, but with dark secrets lurking beneath. With Some Luck, she returns to farm life in the first book of an epic trilogy that serves as a chronicle of the 20th century. In subsequent volumes, family members will leave the farm until only one woman is left, hanging on to an eroded piece of land as if to the planet itself.

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  • Mudbound : A Novel

    2008 by Hillary Jordan

    Winner of the Bellwether Prize for Fiction, Jordan's novel is set on a rustic Mississippi Delta farm in the 1940s. Two young men return as veterans of the war: the racist farmer's son, Jamie, and Ronsel, the sharecropper's son. Having seen the larger world, neither man wants to bow to the rules of the Jim Crow South and instead, form a bond. Told in multiple points of view, this is a heart-rending, powerful story.

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  • The Paperbark Shoe

    2011 by Goldie Goldbloom

    Albino pianist Gin Boyle marries Mr. Toad and moves to his Australian farm where, with their two children, they are ostracized and mocked by their neighbors. When two Italian prisoners of war are sent to help with the farm, Gin's isolated world is turned topsy turvy. This is a wrenching love story, an audacious, and darkly funny tale and a brilliant debut for author Goldbloom.

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  • Long Upon the Land

    2015 by Margaret Maron

    This Grand Master Award-winning mystery writer's 20th and final Judge Deborah Knott novel centers on a land dispute between Knott's father and the farmer next door whose body he discovers bludgeoned to death. The local paper suggests that Knott's father and brothers may have had something to do with the murder. And why did Knott's mother marry the semi-literate bootlegger to begin with?

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  • Plain Truth

    2000 by Jodi Picoult

    A Philadelphia attorney moves into the farmhouse of an Amish family as guardian and defense lawyer for a teenager accused of killing her newborn. While much of the novel revolves around the trial, Picoult dramatically reveals the sacrifices and pressures of the "plain" way of life.

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  • A Fireproof Home for the Bride

    2015 by Amy Scheibe

    A coming-of-age novel set in the 1950s American heartland, Emmy Nelson was raised in the very strict Lutheran tradition. It isn't until she breaks away and begins working for a newspaper that Emmy learns deeply disturbing truths about her family and community. This is an engrossing tale with a fierce, smart heroine.

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  • We Were the Mulvaneys

    1996 by Joyce Carol Oates

    Oates' 26th book centers on the tragic downfall of the large, prosperous Mulvaney family of High Point Farm. Oates is a masterful writer who makes you care about her complex characters. And though much of the subject matter of her books is dark (in this one there's a violent act and vigilante justice), the Mulvaneys are a family within which hope and compassion prevail.

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  • The Cherry Harvest

    2015 by Lucy Sanna

    In a novel that is described as beautiful and haunting, German prisoners of war are assigned to pick cherries for a struggling Door County family. When the son returns from the battlefield, wounded and bitter, passions and secrets they've all been keeping threaten to explode.

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  • The Excellent Lombards

    2016 by Jane Hamilton

    Frankie Lombard loves her life on the family's apple farm and imagines that she and her brother will run it as adults. This dream is threatened when William becomes far more interested in computers and going away to college. Hamilton's insightful approach to an awkwardly maturing girl and a farm family living on the edge of big changes rang true for this reader. There are some unusual characters whose secrets Frankie longs to uncover, and Mom is a quite snarky librarian!

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  • Three Bags Full : A Sheep Detective Story

    2006 by Leonie Swann

    A sparklingly inventive and clever who-dunnit in which the detectives are sheep investigating the murder of their shepherd. Agatha Christie meets The Wind in the Willows in this madcap adventure that will have you laughing out loud. Booklist gives it a starred review.

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  • Miss Jane : A Novel

    2016 by Brad Watson

    Watson based Miss Jane on his aunt whose mysterious urogenital condition kept her from marriage at a time when such women were dismissed as "old maids." Set on a Mississippi farm, Watson writes of the beauty and cruelty of nature and Jane's own irrepressible spirit.

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