Saturday, September 10, 2011

A Sound Among the Trees / Susan Meissner

This story takes place in Virginia, in an antebellum mansion named Holly Oak that survived the Civil War and has been the home of generations of family. Holly Oak is also, according to folklore, haunted. It is currently the home of Adelaide who had raised her daughter Caroline in this home as well as her granddaughter Sara. Adelaide's daughter Caroline struggled with addiction she left home as a teen and didn't come back for years, and when she left again her daughter Sara was left behind. Sara was raised by her Grandmother at Holly Oak, it was there she fell in love, married Carson had two children, and lived the story of happily ever after in her childhood home with her Grandmother and her family.

The story opens with a wedding, a wedding on a perfect day in the garden of Holly Oak. The wedding of Carson to Marielle, a beautiful yet bittersweet day for the family. Four years prior, Sara had passed away, leaving Carson a widower and her children without a mother. Because the children were young and grieving the decision was made for them to remain at Holly Oak. At the wedding we learn that Marielle will also be living at Holly Oak which concerns her family and friends, rightfully so. There are also concerns about the ghost that if rumors are true, also resides at Holly Oak, the ghost of Adelaide's great-grandmother Susannah Page who was thought to be a Civil War spy for the North.

The story develops using multiple stories woven into one. I have read other books with this arrangement that become cumbersome and hard to follow, this was not one of them. The characters are very real and when I was not reading I often would catch myself wondering exactly how long Marielle was going to be ok living in a home belonging not just to another family, but the family of her husband's deceased first wife. I couldn't wait to find out exactly what was written in the letters given to Marielle by Caroline to read and better understand the history of Holly Oak, wondering why was Caroline back now after all of these years and where had she been and what does she want now? I also really wanted to know if Susannah was indeed the one haunting the house or was it another family member who in reality had more reason to do so?

I also wondered, how the story was going to play out, how all these stories would be tied up together. I can say, they were tied together wonderfully, there were still surprises up until the end which I greatly enjoyed and there was a content feeling of satisfaction when the story ended, no questions were left unanswered and what you thought you knew you never really knew at all.

And that, is the moral of the entire story, what you think you know often takes over everything and when you realize it isn't what you thought you knew it is often even better!

I highly recommend A Sound Among the Trees, check it out, and happy reading!

WaterBrook Multnomah Publishers provided this book to be at no cost in exchange for my honest review.