A Sound Among The Trees, by Susan Meissner

book coverSometimes, I receive a book to review after its publication date. In the case of A Sound Among The Trees, I received it more than two months after its publication. As a result, it kept being pushed back in my reading list as I reviewed other books closer to their release dates. I did make a commitment to review this book, however, so consider this review a bonus.

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.    

The book opens with a bride in white, but this is not Marielle’s wedding. Instead, Adelaide is hosting a reception for the happy couple at the grand old mansion of Holly Oak. The relationship between both women is awkward: Marielle’s new husband is Adelaide’s son in law. After his wife’s death, Carson and the children never moved out and now, Marielle will be living here in the shadow of all that has gone before. Rumors abound about her new home with suspicions of ghosts and the bodies of soldiers buried in the cellar. One of Adelaide’s friends won’t go near the parlor and insists on bringing in a so-called psychic to investigate. At first, Adelaide is skeptical of the ghost stories; she believes the house is the problem and not the people who have lived there, especially when her great-grandmother told her, “The answers are beneath you,” the day she died. After an accident, however, Adelaide begins to wonder if maybe Susannah is haunting her.

Susannah’s story is told via letters that are handed to Marielle. It’s an interesting concept, and the letters give the reader a complete story within a story. There are no questions left unanswered from this time period, and I came away with a fuller understanding of how the city of Fredericksburg suffered during the Civil War. The city was under siege during the winter of 1862 and both sides suffered terrible casualties. Anyone who loves visiting Civil War sites will appreciate the descriptions of Holly Oak and its history, complete with a cannonball wedged in an exterior wall of the mansion.

This is a great story with powerful characters, wonderful descriptions and an interesting twist at the end. I wish I’d read it earlier. Thankfully, it is never too late to read any good novel.
Publisher: Waterbrook Press

Publication Date: 04 October 2011

Page Count: 352

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I downloaded my free copy of A Sound Among The Trees from Waterbrook Multnomah in exchange for an honest review.

 

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