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Cruel Harvest

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"Get out here, now, or I'm gonna kill you!" he hollered.

Little girls are hardwired to hold their daddies in high esteem, so it comes as a shock the first time a daughter feels the back of her daddy's hand across her face . . . or watches him punch and kick her mother to within an inch of her life.

How could this be? Her older sisters teach her how to survive, even when he comes for her in the night.

A girl learns to become invisible, to look the other way, to say nothing when a curious stranger asks if she's okay. To lie. To expect nothing, not even from relatives.

To cry without tears.

To pray silently.

When she is fourteen, and weary, a girl begins to wish she were dead. Cruel Harvest is the compelling story of how she lived instead.

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Praise for Cruel Harvest

“Fran Grubb's childhood odyssey is a shatteringly dark tale of despair. But that's not the end of her captivating life story. Each page of Cruel Harvest reveals a remarkable journey of rescue and redemption. Your heart will be moved as you witness Jesus' power to deliver, forgive, reconcile, rebuild, and love.”
Denalyn and Max Lucado

“Cruel Harvest is an incredible story of survival and forgiveness. Fran’s ability to survive brokenness as a child and even into adulthood and then to overcome those experiences through faith and forgiveness is a true testament to the power of God’s love for each of us. Everyone can be inspired by her story.”
Sheila Walsh, author of God Loves Broken People and Women of Faith speaker

“Against all odds, Fran survived her trip through the "valley of the shadow of death." I loved reading this story of deliverance. Thank you for the reminder that God can turn our mourning into dancing!”
Gracia Burnham, former hostage and author of In the Presence of My Enemies

“It is hard endorsing Cruel Harvest with just a few words.  I want everyone to know how powerful her story is and how many lives it can help change, and is currently changing. Ever since reading Fran Grubb’s story I have used it to help numerous clients that are victims of childhood violence. Every woman has commented on her faith and how her book has given them hope!  We are putting the book in our library for all the ladies to read.”
Vicki Mason, Primary Crisis Interventionist, Women's Crisis Services of LeFlore County, Poteau, Oklahoma

“This was a wonderful book. We could feel the faith of the child throughout every page. We highly recommend Cruel Harvest.”
DeWayne and Rebecca Hicks, Founders of Courage to Change Ministries, Greenville, Arkansas

Cruel Harvest will touch your heart clear through to your soul!  I guarantee that you won't be disappointed and you won't be able to put it down.”
Pastor Ray Witherington, Midnight Cry Ministries/Restoration Revival Center Church, Townville, South Carolina

“Fran Grubb’s heartbreaking story is ultimately one of triumph against all odds. Cruel Harvest is well-written and riveting. It’s unimaginable that Fran could face such daily horrors and come out with such grace, wisdom, and generosity. You will be deeply moved!”
June Cotner, author of the best-selling Graces and 26 other books

About the Book

One woman's gripping emotional, physical, and spiritual odyssey to find her shattered family-an amazing story of survival and reunion.

Nearly half a century after the time depicted in John Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath, Fran grew up in a world of migrant farm workers little changed from what the Joad family endured in that timeless classic. Picking cotton and apples at age five, she has to endure emotional, physical, and sexual abuse simply to survive her nomadic childhood.

Scared and HidingDuring her young impressionable years, she witnesses bloody knife fights, overhears a plot to murder her father, and is devastated by the suspicious death of her baby sister. Dragged across the country in the mid-1960s by their sadistic, violent, alcoholic father, Fran and her sister live in abandoned shacks and under bridges at night. During the day the girls are forced to do backbreaking labor, picking whatever is in season.

As Fran matures, horrific living conditions and unthinkable abuse do not diminish her determination to find a way to escape and she courageously risks her life to flee. As an adult, Fran yearns to find the only family she knew-a family torn apart by abuse, tragedy, and fear.

About the Author

Fran GrubbFran Grubb has a passion for helping and encouraging people. She travels across the United States with her husband, Wayne, singing her way into the hearts of her listeners and speaking at churches, tent revivals, prisons, women's shelters, children's homes, drug and rehab clinics and any place there is a need. Fran and her husband are founders of “Feed The Hungry Children,” a non profit working with the hurting in Kenya. She loves good coffee, reading, all dogs and belly laughter. When Fran is not writing she is singing and playing the guitar.

Q&A with Fran Elizabeth Grubb

Why did you feel that now was the time for you to write this book and share your story?

Actually, I started writing Cruel Harvest more than ten years ago. I wrote now and then, but writing was slow. I felt I was all alone. I wasn't sure I would be able to reveal intimate secrets, like being kidnapped from an orphanage at nine years old. Then a series of events led me to return to that same children's home. After speaking to the children and staff at Connie Maxwell, I was overwhelmed by their response. I received a standing ovation and many came up to ask questions afterward and talk about their own stories.

Invitations started arriving in the mail from churches, radio and local television stations. As I spoke from my heart, to groups and individuals, I experienced an amazing reaction from crowds that came to listen and I was certain of two things. #1, I was not alone. And #2, there were people who needed to hear my story and know how I had survived. They needed to hear that they were not alone either. By speaking at prisons, churches, and different organizations, I realized I had been given this life for a reason. I knew I was meant to encourage others with my story of survival and faith. So, with much prayer and total trust in God, I wrote Cruel Harvest.

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What kind of stories will readers encounter as they journey through Cruel Harvest?

Cruel Harvest is a powerful, emotional, unforgettable, thriller, filled with human emotion, suspense, unforgettable characters and it will keep you turning the pages. My story has made people cry, laugh, shudder, cringe. For example, hundreds of giant, black, hairy, spiders crawled out from the walls, floors and ceiling of a deserted, dilapidated, hunting shack we found shelter in to keep from freezing to death during an ice storm in Missouri, when our old car wouldn't go any farther. That was like something from a horror movie. There were so many spiders covering the walls and floors of that shack it seemed the floors were moving!

I think the night I escaped from my dad, at fourteen, is both harrowing and humorous. I was fleeing for my life, but at the same time I found satisfaction in the fact that just for one moment my dad was on the receiving end of fear.

When eating my first meal at the children's home, I was allowed to eat all I wanted. I didn't know when to stop filling my plate and the other children were staring at me not believing one small girl could eat so much. I wasn't sure when we would be allowed to eat again and I wanted to eat enough for all of us. Cruel Harvest is filled with human emotion. It's powerful, intense, romantic, heartwarming, and has a happy ending. I can guarantee it will keep the reader engaged and turning the pages. I'm not saying this because I wrote the book, but I believe it should be in every library. Cruel Harvest has heart.

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Many people have the misconception that migrant workers are all immigrants. But you're a natural born citizen right? And what's your heritage?

Yes, I am an American. My dad was full blooded Irish and Mama was part Indian. I was born in Arizona, the fifth child of American born parents. We worked the fields from Oklahoma to Georgia and I've seen many Americans as well as immigrants in the cotton fields.

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Reading the book you get a true sense of the migrant worker life. Can you give just a brief sampling of your life on the fields?

We picked beans, apples, peaches or whatever was in season, but mostly cotton. It was against the law to keep children from school so if the truant officers came out to the fields to see if any school age children were working, I would be ordered to crawl inside daddy's cotton sack until the officer left. It was suffocating, hot, and dusty in his cotton sack, but the beating if we were caught would have been much worse.

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Grapes of Wrath is a book that many people have read that deals with migrant worker life. When reading it, were you able to empathize with the people in that classic literature?

When I first watched "The Grapes Of Wrath" with Henry Fonda I was struck how alike our life was. It certainly brought back memories of cooking on the side of the road, sleeping in the car under a bridge or any shelter the farmer offered, washing our clothes in a creek, and never having enough to eat. I felt sad watching the video. The Joads had love and I longed for a mother. I have not read the book because after watching the film, I felt like I was back living the life I had worked hard to escape. Some things had changed, and my life was thirty years later, but I could certainly empathize with the Joad family.

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You reveal some pretty harsh things about your life. Of all the things you endured what has been the thing that you feel has impacted you the most?

Losing my mother would have to be up there at the top. Not being allowed to go to school was hard. I had a burning hunger to learn and someday write books. I knew it was against all odds because I didn't have an education but I could not give up. I inherited my Mama's love of books and an unquenchable spirit. Mama had a faith and joy that was inside, attached to her organs in a way that daddy couldn't beat out of her. She passed that down to me and I held it close vowing never to let that part of her go. She didn't have anything of material value to leave me, but she had faith and joy that nobody could take. I clung to that part of her like priceless diamonds when life seemed totally hopeless. I had Mama's faith.

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Was writing the book therapeutic for you in some way?

Writing this book is the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. It is also one of the most rewarding. There were times I didn't think I could get through all the memories. I had to relive, write, rewrite, and edit. But God helped me by His grace and mercy and my husband gave encouragement for the seven years that it took to actually get Cruel Harvest to the publisher.

Each time I read and rewrote a chapter it was like reliving the event again. Finally, after many rewrites, I was able to get past the pain and actually began to heal. I believe that God wanted me to write this story for myself as much as for everyone else. In the end it did help me and I hope that it helps others to heal and find forgiveness too.

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Overall, what do you most hope that readers will take away from this book?

I hope that everyone who reads Cruel Harvest will feel the faith and trust in God that Frances had. My prayer is that every reader will know for certain that nothing is impossible with God. With faith we can beat all odds no matter how bad things look. I want to pass on the faith of a child and the absolute certainty that nothing is impossible with God.

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