The Harvester has fairy-tale charms & flaws

The Harvester is an old-fashioned romance with fairy-tale charm, an  implausible tale of a gorgeous hunk with a fat bank account who loves doing chores around the house.

David Langston has developed a prosperous business raising medicinal herbs. He dreams of a lovely raven-haired girl who will be the passion of his life. David builds a home for her, then sets off to find her.

He rescues her from poverty and abuse and gives her the protection of his name. When she becomes dangerously ill, he saves her with an herbal mixture he compounded.

Ruth responds with gratitude and trust but not passionate love. David has to chance losing Ruth entirely before he can win her completely.

The story keeps threatening to turn into a bodice-ripper but stops before a single button is disturbed. And Gene Stratton-Porter uses language so discrete it wouldn’t offend Queen Victoria.

The novel has all the faults of any fairy-tale: the setting is stylized,  the characters are types rather than individuals,  the plot is implausible.

The book’s charm is in those faults. Gene Stratton-Porter’s story is so preposterous it could never happen.

But that doesn’t keep us from wishing it could happen—to us.

The Harvester
By Gene Stratton-Porter
Grosset & Dunlap, 1911
374 pages
1911 Bestseller #5
@2011 Linda Gorton Aragoni