For 150 years, Holly Oak, a spacious Southern home, has stood the test of time and wills in historic Fredericksburg with Civil War scars to prove it. Marielle Bishop marries into the family with multi-generational ties to the home, leaving behind her independence and her love of Arizona’s deserts to move to Holly Oak to become a wife and stepmother. But it isn’t long before Marielle is led to believe that the house she just settled into brings trouble and misfortune to all the women who live there. Local folklore has it that Susannah Page, a Yankee spy who housed Union soldiers, haunts Holly Oak because she’s longing for pardon. When Susannah’s great-granddaughter Adelaide McClane tells her that the house is “stuck” because of it’s tumultuous past, Marielle is determined to get past the rumors and uncover the secrets that are buried within its walls. With Adelaide’s richly peppered superstitions and deep family roots at stake, Marielle must carve her new life out carefully as she sorts out the truth and makes peace with the sacrifices she has made for love.
After having reviewed Meissner’s Lady in Waiting and The Shape of Mercy, I was thrilled to get another chance to read her writing. Meissner has a true gift of transporting you into the story and wrapping you into the character’s worlds.
That said, I was a little disappointed with A Sound Among the Trees. It was harder for me to get into and care about the characters, except for Susannah’s story. As a history writer, I knew the historical plot would interest me a little more than the contemporary (it’s just how I’m wired) but I wished the whole book was through Susannah’s perspective.
The details of the life at Holly Oak fascinated me and I loved the way Civil War history mixed with the story of these women. By the end, I was truly delighted and I loved spending time in Meissner’s phenomenal writing. Though the beginning half didn’t connect with me as quickly as her other novels, this is still a unique tale that will appeal to many readers.
Disclosure: I was provided a copy of this book by Waterbrook-Multnomah’s Blogging for Books program in exchange for my honest review.