Frequently we, as humans, use our pasts as an excuse not to live in the present. Could a house do the same?
In her newest book, A Sound Among the Trees, Susan Meissner explores how a family's past is connected to the history of the house in which they live. It is a haunting story full of twist and turns and seemingly unanswerable questions. Long after I finished reading, I found myself revisiting the story and its characters in my mind.
Here is a summary of the book, courtesy of Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers:
A house shrouded in time. A line of women with a heritage of loss.
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.I always enjoy Susan Meissner's style. Her ability to mix together both contemporary and historical stories together amazes me. In this new novel, she not only combines two time periods, but inserts the house--Holly Oak--as a character. I found myself pondering how (and why) we chain ourselves to our past "baggage" instead of choosing to live free.
Meissner's characters are memorable and thought-provoking: Adelaide, the elderly matriarch who "does penance" by stitching confederate uniforms for reenactors; Marielle, the young bride who discovers that she has married into a family legacy of suffering and sacrifice; Susannah, living in Civil War Virginia, and haunted by her divided loyalties; and of course, Holly Oak--the house, itself--hiding its owners' secrets while bearing the scars of the war.
A Sound Among the Trees is a great October read. The house's secrets and ghosts are a perfect match for the season. Enjoy!
Read an excerpt from A Sound Among the Trees, courtesy of Waterbrook Multnomah.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for the purpose of review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”