Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A Sound Among the Trees by Susan Meissner

downloadA 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.    

83586_meissner_susanSusan Meissner has been feeding her love of writing all her life. Her first novel,Why the Sky is Blue, was released in 2004, after she resigned her post as editor for a local newspaper in a rural Minnesota town. Since that time she has had several books published and moved to San Diego, where she lives with her family.

Heidi Says . . . My love for Susan Meissner and her writing started with The Shape of Mercy. It’s been 3 1/2 years since I read that book, but I still list it among my favorites and have been hard-pressed to find another book that I have enjoyed as much. Here’s a quote from that original review, that totally fits for A Sound Among the Trees as well:

This book is a perfect blend of contemporary and classical and it draws the two together in such a way that I was hooked from the very first page!

The following year, I had opportunity to read and review White Picket Fences.  Once again, I found myself totally drawn in to the book, it’s characters, and the historical content.  I ended that review with these words:

I am impressed, once again, with Susan's ability to share about a true historical event, while sharing a fictional story.  So far, both of her books have left me longing to know more about these stories of our history, and sent me in search of further information.  Since I'm a researcher at heart, these books are right up my alley!

Lady in Waiting arrived last year, at a time when I was too busy to do the review, so I passed it along to my mom.  Once again, Susan has woven a modern day story with historical facts to create a book that my mom could not put down. In her words:

This was a very good, very exciting book.  I must say it is one of the best books I have ever read!  It will be hard to follow this one up!

So, that brings me to A Sound Among the Trees . . . and Susan has done it again!  She has certainly created a place for herself on my list of favorite authors.  I absolutely adore history; but so many of the more recent historical fiction books that I have read are all the same story, just with different names, locations, etc.  Not so with Susan’s books. 

She has a unique way of telling a historical story – in this case it’s the Civil War – yet weaving it with a modern-day fictional tale. So, we find several generations of women residing in this old home that has weathered the war.  And we’re introduced to the possibility of haunting and ghosts.  Yet, in the end, we find that none of those things are the issue at all – it’s really a matter of the heart (and mind). 

I loved each and every character in this book.  Marielle, who just “happened” upon this house, through marriage.  Adelaide, who is haunted by the past and the decisions of her ancestors.  Susannah, who we come to know intimately through letters she wrote to her cousin during the war.  And all the supporting characters as well – even they play a significant role in combining past and present. 

I am now anxiously awaiting Susan’s next book – The Girl in the Glass – set to release this September.

Susan – you have a real gift for storytelling!  I hope you continue to write great tales of love, loss, history, and healing.  I will continue to read your books as long as you write them!

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