A German immigrant family confronts the harsh realities of Pennsylvania farm life in this sweeping historical novel by the author of Daughter of Australia.
In 1914, Andrew Houghton trades his coal mining job in southwestern Pennsylvania for an apprenticeship on the railroad in Pittsburgh where his uncle Wilhelm works. But a tragic accident leaves him severely injured, shattering his dreams of the future. Wracked with guilt, Wilhelm finally agrees to his wife’s pleas to leave Pittsburgh’s smog behind. With Andrew in tow, they swap their three-story row house for a rough-and-tumble farm.
Life in rural Pennsylvania is not as idyllic as they imagined. The soil is slow to yield and their farmhouse is in disrepair. But there is one piece of beauty in this rugged land. Lily Morton is quick-witted and tough on the outside, but bears her own secret scars inside. Andrew’s bond with her will help steer them through all the challenges to come, even as anti-German sentiment spreads across America with the outbreak of World War I.
Beneath the Apple Leaves is a vivid, deeply moving portrait of family—its hardships, triumphs, and passions—and a powerfully authentic evocation of life on the land and the hearts that sustain it.
“Verna’s language is rich in description, and her writing flows beautifully . . . a wonderful read.” —Historical Novel Society“Compelling . . . Verna’s skill as a storyteller makes this book a solid and worthwhile read.” —Publishers Weekly