In combining agricultural history of the hop industry and regional fiction, Lords Of The Moxee Valley pays tribute to the settlement of Mexican migrant field workers who became land owners in the French town of Moxee, Washington in the early 1950s
In 1940, two hurricanes destroy Victor Chanteur’s sugar cane crop in south Louisiana. Uncle Emile Chanteur makes Victor an offer he can’t refuse. “I will give you one hundred acres of hops, two houses, all the machinery and a kiln if you and your family will move to Moxee, Washington and farm my land, which cannot be sold until after I die.” Victor accepts the offer and, with his family, drives a bus across the United States to Moxee. He is taught how to grow hops by his uncle and Pepe Santos, Emile’s Mexican field manager.
Pepe and Luna live in a small house provided by Emile within a hundred yards of “the big house.” The Chanteur and Santos children attend Holy Rosary Catholic School together and become lifelong friends. T-Luc Chanteur and Domingo Santos are spiritual brothers and provide adventure and high jinx to the story similar to the antics of Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer.
When Valentina Chanteur, T-Luc’s sister, matures to a young woman, trouble boils after Domingo falls in love with her and the two teens hide from Victor after he warns Domingo to stay away from his daughter by firing a shotgun above his head.
Uncle Emile attempts to bring compassion and love to the troubled families as Valentina and Domingo cross blood and cultural boundaries. Victor alienates his children and his wife with his violent acts but in the finale’, his most unexpected generosity unites the Chanteur and Santos families.
God always does a better job than me.
I say to myself, big trouble coming to Victor. I don’t need to make it worse. When you see that kinda trouble, keep your head down, work hard and keep your mouth shut. Trouble passes right by you. Believe what I’m telling you.”
Wisdom by Prospero – Pepe – Santos
Barnes and Noble: Lords of the Moxee Valley
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