When Marielle decided to marry Carson Bishop she knew there would be some challenges. She would be moving across country, leaving her family and friends behind in Arizona to become an instant mother to Carson’s two children in Fredericksburg, Virginia. As if this wasn’t enough, they would be living at Holly Oak, the childhood home of Carson’s first wife, Sarah, who died four years earlier. The home that Sarah’s grandmother, Adelaide, still lives in. Carson convinces Marielle that living at Holly Oak will be good for all of them: the kids wouldn’t have to face another huge change, Adelaide wouldn’t be left alone at such an old age and Marielle would have some company while trying to get acclimated to her new environment.
But as Marielle begins to spend more time at Holly Oak, trying to decide if she can survive in her new roles as wife and mother, she learns that something is different about this house. Some believe a curse lies over the women of Holly Oak. Others think it is haunted by Susannah Page, Adelaide’s great-grandmother who some suspect was a Union spy during the Civil War. Adelaide believes the house is seeking retribution for all the death and destruction that has happened there over the years, and that it has been her job to try and keep the house at peace. Marielle isn’t sure what to believe but she knows one thing for sure: if she is going to make a life there and forge a family within its walls, she is going to have to find the answers somehow.
When Adelaide lets it be known that she gave letters that Susannah wrote to her Northern cousin during the Civil War to her daughter, Caroline, Marielle realizes the key to what haunts her home might be hidden within those letters. The problem is Caroline abandoned her own daughter, Sarah, at Holly Oak as an infant and has been drifting in places unknown for years in a haze of drugs. When the mysterious Caroline eventually shows up at the house ready to settle her score with her family and their familial home, she gives Marielle the chance to read through Susannah’s letters and see for herself that what appears to be the history of Holly Oak is not what it seems at all.
A Sound Among the Trees is the second book by Susan Meissner I have had the pleasure of reading. Once again, I was blown away by her ability to seamlessly meld the past and present in a way that allows each timeline to stand alone as a compelling story line while also allowing them to twist together to bring the central story full circle.
Each woman at Holly Oak is brilliantly flawed and it is the way they influence each other that eventually allows them all to heal and grow. It is impossible to encompass all the details of this story into one small review, but suffice it to say it is a story of love, loss, and making amends for wrongs done, real or imagined. I recommend A Sound Among the Trees to anyone who loves a little history in their contemporary fiction or anyone who just want to sit back and enjoy a good read.
Colleen lives in Tampa, Florida with her husband, son, their dog Oliver and their fish Finn. When not working or taking care of her family she has her nose stuck in a book (and, let’s face it, often when she is working or taking care of her family as well). Nothing excites her more than discovering a new author to obsess over or a hidden jewel of a book to worship. Her reviews can also be found at www.readerunboxed.com.
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