Sutter County has long been known as the top producer of peaches in the state of California. Contrary to popular myths regarding peaches in both Georgia and South Carolina, in 2021 California out produced both these states by 382,300 tons, according to data collected by the Agricultural Marketing Resource Center. This makes California the largest peach grower in the nation with Sutter County accounting for nearly a third of the state's overall harvest. Combine that with Yuba County and Marysville’s annual Peach Festival, and the importance of this crop in the local farming community is self-evident.
With this in mind, it seems quite fitting that Wendelin Van Draanen, an international award-winning and best-selling author, would decide to host a book signing event at the Sutter County Library in Yuba City for her newest work, “The Peach Rebellion.”
“The Peach Rebellion” is a fictional tale based in the Central Valley of California in 1947. The plot centers around three young women in the years following World War II, when the social standards and expectations regarding their gender were in a state of flux. One of the protagonists, Peggy Simmins, is a peach farmer's daughter who wrestles with the differing views of her two close friends – Ginny, a peach picker displaced by the Oklahoma dust storms, and Lisette, a wealthy banker’s daughter.
“Everyone has a story that we don’t really know or understand, and their view of life stems from it,” said Van Draanen. “It’s only by listening with an open heart that we can begin to bridge divides.”
Van Draanen grew up a lifelong resident of California and taught high school for many years. She has authored more than 30 novels, all published through Knopf and Random House, including “Flipped,” a romantic comedy that was picked up by Warner Brothers and released as a feature film in 2010 directed by Rob Reiner.
“With ‘The Peach Rebellion,’ I wanted to create a compelling story that would have the reader walk a mile in someone else’s shoes,” explained Van Draanen. “Also, what makes a peach so delicious is the combination of really varied elements – earth, air, water and soil. This story suggests we should emulate that as a society.”
On March 21, the Friends of Sutter County Library will be hosting Van Draanen for a special author talk and signing event from 5:30-7 p.m. There, Van Draanen plans to discuss her publishing journey with a focus on the motivations and research that went into writing this title.
“I was smitten with this work of historical fiction when I realized that the central figure, Ginny Rose, shared her birthdate with my beloved late mother-in-law,” said Linda Baker, president of the Friends of Sutter County Library. “Both were swept to Northern California from Oklahoma with their families in the late 1930s. The Peach Rebellion is set in a peach-growing community where Ginny feels lucky to get a job in the local cannery working side by side with her high school teachers. In an unlikely union, the daughter of orchard owners and the daughter of a wealthy town banker join her in rebelling against the established social order, healing old wounds and mending broken hearts. I have enjoyed chatting about the book with local folks who essentially lived pieces of this story.”
The Sutter County Library is located at 750 Forbes Ave. in Yuba City. For more information about this novel and the author, visit wendelinvand.com.