The Blue Orchard (Paperback)

By Jackson Taylor

Touchstone Books, 9781416592945, 393pp.

Publication Date: January 12, 2010



On the eve of the Great Depression, Verna Krone, the child of Irish immigrants, must leave the eighth grade and begin working as a maid to help support her family. Her employer takes inappropriate liberties, and as Verna matures, it seems as if each man she meets is worse than the last. Through sheer force of will and a few chance encounters, she manages to teach herself to read and becomes a nurse. But Verna's new life falls to pieces when she is arrested for assisting a black doctor with "illegal surgeries." As the media firestorm rages, Verna reflects on her life while awaiting trial.

Based on the life of the author's own grandmother and written after almost three hundred interviews with those involved in the real-life scandal, The Blue Orchard is as elegant and moving as it is exact and convincing. It is a dazzling portrayal of the changes America underwent in the first fifty years of the twentieth century. Readers will be swept into a time period that in many ways mirrors our own. Verna Krone's story is ultimately a story of the indomitable nature of the human spirit--and a reminder that determination and self-education can defy the deforming pressures that keep women and other disenfranchised groups down.

Praise For The Blue Orchard

"The Blue Orchard held me in its spell. Taylor is a master storyteller and his novel is riveting, substantial, and unforgettable." -- WALLY LAMB, author of The Hour I First Believed

"The Blue Orchard is a classic, a great American novel that will astonish and quicken dead and bored parts of our hearts. This is a solid, true achievement that will stand the test of time. If Jackson Taylor never writes another word he has made his mark with The Blue Orchard." -- SAPPHIRE, author of Push

"This novel re-creates wonderfully a time, a place, and a circumstance in American life that drove women and men alike to break a law that could never -- and will never -- be obeyed. I found myself stirred repeatedly." -- VIVIAN GORNICK, author of The Solitude of Self: Thinking About Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Fierce Attachments

"[Taylor] illuminates the thorny ways of class, race, and gender. This is an amazing book." -- MARIE PONSOT, National Book Critics Circle award winner and author of Springing and Easy

"If you want to understand Roe v. Wade, Civil Rights, Nixon, Vietnam, Free Love, Free Sex, Pop Art, Howl, feminism, and the death of white gloves and veiled hats -- then read The Blue Orchard." -- ULTRA VIOLET, author of Famous for Fifteen Minutes: My Life with Andy Warhol

"The Blue Orchard is a revelation, an insightful look at a girl born into poverty and ignorance with a mind of her own and the courage to act on it. We all need to read and remember this story." -- HETTIE JONES, author of How I Became Hettie Jones