This is ONE OF 3 responses to VC 32 John 9 ("Great Idea")...
I understand Stuart's suggestion, POSSESSION, is going to be the first book. After that, how about A THOUSAND ACRES by Jane Smiley. It's from the point of view of a farm wife with overtones of King Lear. I didn't think I was going to like it - how was I going to relate to a farm wife throughout an entire novel? - but proved myself wrong.
Another suggestion is SHIPPING NEWS by Annie Proulx which I've heard a lot of good things about but haven't yet read.