"Holman's enthralling narrative...also incorporates an impressive amount of detailed information about such resolutely untrendy matters as farming, cheesemaking, animal husbandry, house construction, and the...moral nature of one of our most ingenious and articulate Founding Fathers....[T]errific."
"The story line is droll, but the book is also tough, sad and surprisingly sweet."
From the Publisher
After taking fertility drugs, Manda Frank gives birth to 11 babies in a Virginia town. At the same time, a dairy farmer named Margaret Prickett has a plan to transport a 1200-pound cheese to the White House (based on an incident from the presidency of Thomas Jefferson). Other characters include an insincere presidential candidate, a Jefferson-impersonator in love with Margaret, his selfless minister father, and a teenager madly in love with her history teacher.
Beautifully crafted and driven by warm, vibrant characters, The Mammoth Cheese follows the residents of rural Three Chimneys, Virginia, on their historic journey to re-create the making of the original Thomas Jefferson-era, 1,235-pound "Mammoth Cheese." As the book opens, the town is joyously celebrating the birth of the Frank Eleven (eleven babies simultaneously born to Manda and James Frank after fertility treatments) and enjoying the thrill of notoriety as reform-minded presidential hopeful Adams Brooke visits the newborns. But as autumn progresses and the babies start to die, the community seeks to redeem itself through the making and transporting of a symbolic Mammoth Cheese to Washington, as a gift for the newly elected President Brooke. The cheese is the brainchild of August Vaughn, a farmhand by day and a President Jefferson impersonator by night, and the creation of Margaret Prickett, a single mother and cheese maker trying to save her century-old family farm. As Margaret slips deeper into debt and desperation, her thirteen-year-old daughter, Polly, slides closer to an inappropriate relationship with her radical, attentive history teacher.