By Susan Wiggs
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer jerjen
Sometimes the greatest dream starts with the smallest element. A single cell, joining with another. And then dividing. And just like that, the world changes.
Annie Harlow knows how lucky she is. The producer of a popular television cooking show, she loves her handsome husband and the beautiful Manhattan home they share. And now, she’s pregnant with their first child.
But in an instant, her life is shattered. And when Annie awakes from a year-long coma, she discovers that time isn’t the only thing she’s lost.
Grieving and wounded, Annie retreats to her old family home in Switchback, Vermont, a maple farm generations old. There, surrounded by her free-spirited brother, their divorced mother, and four young nieces and nephews, Annie slowly emerges into a world she left behind years ago: the town where she grew up, the people she knew before, the high-school boyfriend turned ex-cop. And with the discovery of a cookbook her grandmother wrote in the distant past, Annie unearths an age-old mystery that might prove the salvation of the family farm.
Family Tree is the story of one woman’s triumph over betrayal, and how she eventually comes to terms with her past. It is the story of joys unrealized and opportunities regained. Complex, clear-eyed and big-hearted, funny, sad, and wise, it is a novel to cherish and to remember. (Goodreads)
Family Tree is a book about second (and third) chances, starting over, finding yourself and never giving up on your dreams. It is funny, heartwarming, heart wrenching and thought provoking. It is the story of Annie and Fletcher, from childhood until adulthood. It is the story of life changing decisions, life changing challenges and following your dream, no matter what obstacles stand in your way. It is about standing up for what is right, standing on your own two feet and standing beside your family, through good times and through bad. It is about leaving home to follow your dreams and returning there when you realize that your true dreams were right there all along.
The characters are well rounded, well developed and three dimensional. Annie is one tough cookie, and although she may be down at times, she is never out. She continues to pull herself up by her boot strings and does what she needs to to take back control of her life. There were a couple of times I thought she acted a little selfishly, but then again, everyone does that at times in their lives. Fletcher was a stand up guy and very loyal to his family and friends. When he meets Annie he knows that she is someone special and he wants to get to know her better. The more time he spends with her, the more he likes her and wants to be with her. But many times, the plans that we make do not work out the way we envisioned them to, and we have to go with plan B or plan C. That is what happens to Annie and Fletcher. I think my favorite character was Gran. She was wise and loving and only wanted what was best for her family, especially Annie. I enjoyed reading about the time that the two spent together.
The writing style flows smoothly and the book is an easy read. Through much of the book, the chapters were presented in a “then and now” style and this worked very well. I enjoyed reading the backstories of the characters this way and I thought it added another level to the book. The author is very talented in bringing out the emotions of the characters and the readers. There were times that I laughed, times that I had tears in my eyes and times that I said to myself “you have got to be kidding me”. I think it takes a special talented author to take a reader through the full gamut of emotions, and I think this author is extra special.
This is one of those books that pulled me in from the first page and held me captive until the last page. If I could, I would rate Family Tree more than five stars, that’s how much I loved it. I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys a well-crafted women’s contemporary read. There is no question I will be reading more of the many books that this author has written and I am looking forward to that.