A Walk in the Spring Rain, and the Orchard Children (Rachel Maddux Series, Vol 3)

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9780870497575: A Walk in the Spring Rain, and the Orchard Children (Rachel Maddux Series, Vol 3)
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The two works by Rachel Maddux reprinted in this volume could be called her "Tennessee" books. Both were written after Maddux and her husband, King Baker, moved to Houston County, Tennessee, in 1960, and both draw upon her experiences with and perceptions of life there in the 1960s and 1970s. A Walk in the Spring Rain is a novel, and The Orchard Children is nonfiction, but both books deal with discovery, love, and loss - themes that transcend a specific place.
A Walk in the Spring Rain, first published in 1966 by Doubleday, was reissued in paperback by Avon in 1978. A film version of the novel, starring Ingrid Bergman and Anthony Quinn, premiered in 1970, and the novel was included in the book Fiction into Film, published by the University of Tennessee Press later that year. What makes this short novel so compelling? It is a love story - the most popular theme in human narrative - affirming the power and possibility of human love, at any age and in any circumstances. Set in West Virginia, it owes much of its specific sense of locale to Maddux's own adjustment to rural life in Houston County.
The Orchard Children, first published in 1977, is the account of Maddux and Baker's unsuccessful attempt to adopt two foster children. In emphasizing the importance of childhood, it has affinities with Maddux's only other autobiographical work, Communication, written in 1941 when she was twenty-eight and published in 1991 by the University of Tennessee Press. Just as one of the central themes of Communication is the need to take children seriously on their own terms - to pay attention to their requirements for honesty and affection - so the message of The Orchard Children is that the legal system, which determines who will raise abused or abandoned children, seems often to ignore the best interests of the children themselves. Maddux's universalizing of her story resulted, as with A Walk in the Spring Rain, in a wider audience for The Orchard Children. The book inspired a CBS television documentary, titled "Who Will Save the Children?" and starring Shirley Jones and Len Cariou, which aired in December of 1978.

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