cover image The Orchard: A Memoir

The Orchard: A Memoir

Adele Crockett Robertson. Metropolitan Books, $20 (4pp) ISBN 978-0-8050-4092-0

After the death of her father in the spring of 1932, Radcliffe graduate Adele Crockett left her city job to save the family apple orchard in Ipswich, Mass. She had to cope with a mountain of debt, aging machinery and the vagaries of weather--all without encouragement from her mother and brothers. Later, she wrote in rich detail about her farming years in the depths of the Depression. Her manuscript was discovered soon after her death by her daughter, Betsy Cramer, who contributes the introduction and epilogue. It is a charming memoir that evokes the despair and hope of that era. We see the doughty Adele and her French-Canadian workers feverishly picking apples in darkness to beat a hurricane; we share her nervousness when she attempts to find a market. An unusually cold winter that froze most of the crop spelled the end of Adele's valiant struggle. Photos not seen by PW. 25,000 first printing. (Oct.)