Saturday, March 24, 2018

Dual-Timeline Southern Ghost Story An Enjoyable, Moving Read

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Nothing could take a devoted desert conservationist away from her beloved Arizona—except for true love.  Marielle never intended to fall for someone who doesn't live locally, but that's what happened when she accidentally met Carson Bishop online.  Despite their quick courtship, she's thrilled to be marrying the 40-year-old widower and becoming stepmom to his two young children.  She's not quite as pumped about moving into Holly Oak, Carson's first wife's ancestral mansion in Fredericksburg, Virginia.  It's a beautiful, stately home steeped in history, and the only one the kids have ever known.  Hudson and Brette will inherit Holly Oak when its current owner dies.  Until then, the children will continue living there with Carson and his new wife.  Undaunted by the salacious Civil War ghost stories that surround the old estate, Marielle's a little more concerned about its living relic—Carson's 89-year-old grandmother-in-law, Adelaide McClane.  Marielle and her new family will be the intimidating old lady's house guests until she passes. 

With little else to occupy her mind while her husband works in D.C. and her stepchildren are at school, Marielle decides to investigate Holly Oak's (alleged) resident ghost.  Sullied by rumors that she worked as a spy for the North, Susannah Page was branded a traitor to her Southern roots.  Does the old apparition seek vengeance by cursing her female ancestors?  Considering the fates of all the women connected to Holly Oak, a place which seems "stuck in a strange limbo of regret" (24), it certainly seems so.  Good thing the mansion's newest resident doesn't believe in ghosts.  Or does she?

A Sound Among the Trees (2011) is one of Susan Meissner's older novels, but one whose premise especially appeals to me.  Give me a mysterious old home brimming with tragedy, ghosts and family secrets and I'm one happy reader!  While this one didn't turn out to be my favorite of this type of novel (Kate Morton is the queen of this genre, in my [not so] humble opinion), I still enjoyed it.  With a rich, atmospheric setting and a compelling plot, it was easy to get absorbed in the tale.  True, the characters are a little blah, but their problems still interested me.  Overall, A Sound Among the Trees tells a beautiful story about redemption, resilience, and making peace with the past.  It's a clean, moving read that I'd recommend to anyone who enjoys dual-timeline novels set in the American South.

(Readalikes:  The structure/style remind me of other dual-timeline novels by Susan Meissner as well as books by Kate Morton)

Grade:

      
If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for brief, mild language (no F-bombs), violence, blood/gore, and brief, non-graphic references to sex and rape

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find

5 comments:

  1. The dual timeline thing is so overdone in books lately; I'm getting a little tired of it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Do you think so? I'm still loving it, although some dual timeline novels are definitely better done than others.

      Delete
    2. Maybe I've just been running into all the bad ones! ;D

      Delete
  2. The cover of this one doesn’t match the synopsis. To me it looks like a historical southern romance. I’m glad you ended up liking it. Kate Morton is the best, I agree.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. True. It's not the greatest cover.

      Delete

Comments make me feel special, so go crazy! Just keep it clean and civil. Feel free to speak your mind (I always do), but be aware that I will delete any offensive comments.

P.S.: Don't panic if your comment doesn't show up right away. I have to approve each one before it posts to prevent spam. It's annoying, but it works!

Blog Widget by LinkWithin