Thursday, October 27, 2011

Book Review: A Sound Among the Trees

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Book Details:
Title: A Sound Among the Trees (ARC)
Author: Susan Meissner
2011, Waterbrook Press
ISBN: 978-0-307-45885-8
Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Book Summary:
As a young bride, Susannah Page was rumored to be a Civil War spy for the North, a traitor to her Virginian roots. Her great-granddaughter Adelaide, the current matriarch of Holly Oak, doesn't believe that Susannah's ghost haunts the antebellum mansion looking for a pardon, but rather the house itself bears a grudge toward its tragic past.
When Marielle Bishop marries into the family and is transplanted from the arid west to her husband's home, it isn't long before she is led to believe that the house she just settled into brings  misfortune to the women who live there.
With Adelaide's richly peppered superstitions and deep family roots at stake, Marielle must sort out the truth about Susannah Page and Holly Oak - and make peace with the sacrifices she has made for love.

My Review:
Let's start out by saying that this book was not at all what I expected. Coming from a Christian publisher, there was almost no mention of God in this book (very minimal). I think someone who is not religious-minded could very well read this book and not be annoyed. That said, I enjoyed the book for the most part.

The storyline was very interesting. The community believes that Holly Oak is a cursed house. As the story goes, Susannah Page harbored Union spies in her cellar during the Civil War and was a traitor. The women who live in Holly Oak believe that the house bears a grudge against them for Susannah's  sins and needs absolution. 

After a series of events, a stash of letters have been uncovered. Hidden letters written by Susannah to her cousin in the North - letters that were never sent. These letters do a lot in the way of explaining the events of the past and whether or not the house is really haunted (which I'm not going to tell you - because you should read it!)

I got a little bogged down in the current-day part of the book. It seemed like there was a lot of carrying-on by Marielle and Adelaide about whether there was a ghost, if the place was haunted, whether it was safe to live there, etc. Not that it wasn't interesting... I just felt it went on too long. On the other hand, when it got to the part where they were reading the letters of Susannah's I was completely drawn in. I loved reading Susannah's telling of what was happening in Virginia during the Civil War.

Overall it was a good book, interesting and full of interesting characters. It was a redemptive story in the end, which I liked. Definitely worth picking up, especially if you like a little historical fiction! 

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