The Seed Keeper
A haunting novel spanning several generations, The Seed Keeper follows a Dakota family’s struggle to preserve their way of life, and their sacrifices to protect what matters most.
Rosalie Iron Wing has grown up in the woods with her father, Ray, a former science teacher who tells her stories of plants, of the stars, of the origins of the Dakota people. Until, one morning, Ray doesn’t return from checking his traps. Told she has no family, Rosalie is sent to live with a foster family in nearby Mankato—where the reserved, bookish teenager meets rebellious Gaby Makespeace, in a friendship that transcends the damaged legacies they’ve inherited.
On a winter’s day many years later, Rosalie returns to her childhood home. A widow and mother, she has spent the previous two decades on her white husband’s farm, finding solace in her garden even as the farm is threatened first by drought and then by a predatory chemical company. Now, grieving, Rosalie begins to confront the past, on a search for family, identity, and a community where she can finally belong. In the process, she learns what it means to be descended from women with souls of iron—women who have protected their families, their traditions, and a precious cache of seeds through generations of hardship and loss, through war and the insidious trauma of boarding schools.
Weaving together the voices of four indelible women, The Seed Keeper is a beautifully told story of reawakening, of remembering our original relationship to the seeds and, through them, to our ancestors.
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Praise and Prizes
“With compelling characters and images that linger long after the final page is turned, The Seed Keeper invokes the strength that women, land, and plants have shared with one another through the generations.”
“A gracefully told story of continuity through seeds saved and nurtured by Dakota women, The Seed Keeper is lush and sustaining—a read that feeds heart and spirit in the same way as do the gardens that are their legacy.”
“In her remarkable first novel, Diane Wilson braids history and fiction, offering a heartbreaking yet hopeful story of the Dakota women who protected their family seeds for future generations. The Seed Keeper is both a prayer and a powerful invitation for all of us to fall back in love with the earth.”
“Wisdom, humor, truth, marriage, history, child-rearing, environmental advocacy, overcoming obstacles, tears: [The Seed Keeper] has it all, told in a compelling and poignant way.”