Friday, February 14, 2014

Book Review: A Sound Among the Trees

A Novel Set in Civil War Times

A Sound Among the Trees keeps you turning pages from beginning to end. Susan Meissner does her homework and, in this novel, shines a spotlight on family relationships complicated by the Civil War. Susanna was rumored to be a spy for the north whose presence lived on at Holly Oak, a stately southern mansion with a cannonball embedded in its walls. Generations later, Marielle married into this family, which could not seem to break free from shadows of the past.

The novel captures the complexities of love and loss, grudges and forgiveness. Are the tragedies within the family the result of ghostly activity or what causes townspeople to believe the house is cursed? What is the secret that supposedly lies “beneath their feet”? How have the inhabitants of Holly Oak, especially the matriarch Adelaide, been scarred by the past? Such are the questions you want answered as you enjoy this fictional account of southern living.

This book opened my eyes to the kinds of turmoil within families caused by the Civil War, especially for those who had moved from one region of the country to another. We think of the war as north against south, good guys against bad guys. But what about families with mixed loyalties? A reader’s guide offers questions for discussion, and authors’ notes offer recommended resources. All in all a wonderful read for a cold winter’s night.



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