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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Sound Among the Trees

A Sound Among the Trees by Susan Meissner was a very interesting book. It definitely was not what I was expecting when I picked up the book.

Susannah was rumoured to be a Civil War spy for the north, a traitor to her Virginian roots. Her great-great granddaughter Adelaide, the current matriarch of Holly Oak, disagrees that Susannah's ghost the haunts the mansion, but rather thinks that the house bears a grudge against its tragic past.

When Marielle Bishop marries into the family at moves into Holly Oak with her husband, she soon begins to believe that the house brings misfortune to all the women who live there. With Adelaide's superstitions and family roots at stake, Marielle must begin to sort out the truth about Susannah Page and Holly Oak and make peace with the sacrifices she has made for love.

A Sound Among the Trees was a very well written novel. The book is broken up into five parts: the Garden, the Parlor, the Studio, the Cellar, and Holly Oak. The first four parts all represent areas of Holly Oak which are supposedly the most haunted and hold the greatest sadness. The characters were very well done, and there are a couple surprising characters which enter the story near the middle which act as normative characters and reveal the truth about Holly Oaks, forgiveness, and moving on from the past. Between the Cellar and Holly Oak parts there is a significant portion of the book, about a fourth of it, called the letters. This is the section that is composed of Susannah's letters and it is here that the reader learns the truth about Susannah and Holly Oak, and the depth of true love and the importance of moving on and not living in mistakes. These are also the themes which Adelaide, Marielle, and Carson (Marielle's husband) have to learn in order to live truly peaceful lives.

I really enjoyed this book, and I liked how the author set up the book, used mood and tone, and how she designed the characters. There was very little mention of God or His work in a person obtaining true peace and repentance. However, the one real normative character of the novel did find God and develop a relationship with Him before she could move on and begin to explain the truth to her friends and family. I would have liked a little more mention of God, but I thought that overall the message of the book was portrayed fairly well.

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