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2024 Bookish Books Reading Challenge (Hosted by Yours Truly)

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My Progress:

12 / 30 books. 40% done!

2024 Literary Escapes Challenge

- Alabama (1)
- Alaska
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My Progress:

28 / 51 states. 55% done!

2024 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

My Progress:

23 / 50 books. 46% done!

2024 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge

23 / 50 books. 46% done!

Booklist Queen's 2024 Reading Challenge

My Progress:

48 / 50 books. 96% done!

2024 52 Club Reading Challenge

My Progress:

40 / 52 books. 77% done!

2024 Build Your Library Reading Challenge

My Progress:

27 / 40 books. 68% done!

2024 Pioneer Book Reading Challenge

15 / 40 books. 38% done!

2024 Craving for Cozies Reading Challenge

My Progress:

10 / 25 books. 40% done!

2024 Medical Examiner's Mystery Reading Challenge

2024 Mystery Marathon Reading Challenge

My Progress

12 / 26.2 miles. 46% done!

Mount TBR Reading Challenge

My Progress

26 / 100 books. 26% done!

2024 Pick Your Poison Reading Challenge

My Progress:

64 / 104 books. 62% done!

Around the Year in 52 Books Reading Challenge

My Progress

43 / 52 books. 83% done!

Disney Animated Movies Reading Challenge

My Progress

69 / 165 books. 42% done!
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)


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
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