Harvest by Cherrae L. Stuart starts with vivid imagery. Jed has a shotgun muzzle jammed into his side. Is he being held hostage in a bank robbery? Was he caught trespassing in a backwaters cabin? We’ve got the scent of fertilized soil, the feel of damp earth … and we quickly realize that it’s more complicated than we thought.
That’s because Jed is on his own family farm, it’s his own heirloom shotgun, and something horrific is threatening all he holds most dear.
We get a dense range of senses and environment; things I adore in stories. Grinding crunching sounds. Wet, relentless clawing. And there’s also layers of information about Jed himself. His family began as slaves, then climbed to sharecroppers and owners. There’s reasons he is clinging to this plot of land.
I love the details about how desperately and emotionally cares for this crop – his make-it-or-break-it chance to hold on to the family legacy. The way he talks to the crops. How concerned he is that something is about to destroy all he holds so dear.
The story comes to a climax and ends in a quite satisfying manner. There’s a real sense of having taken a journey with Jed, one that was worth the trip.
I enjoyed the writing style immensely. It was engaging and drew me in.
There’s some scene-suitable swearing and also some sexual content. There isn’t any overt gore or torture. It’d be appropriate for mid-teens and up.
Well recommended, and I look forward to reading more by Stuart.
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