The Hanging Tree (A Novella)
By Michael Phillip Cash
Author’s Website: http://www.michaelphillipcash.com/
Brought to you by OBS reviewer Kayt
Seventeen year old Arielle is at a crossroads in her life. Disenchanted with her father, she is testing the boundaries of his trust by dating someone he does not approve. Under the moonlit sky in Long Island, Arielle and her boyfriend meet under the infamous hanging tree. The couple’s destiny is rooted to the five spirits in the tree whose lives and deaths are determined by an ancient curse. Will her future be determined by the past or will Arielle’s choices alter the course of her life?
This is Michael Phillip Cash’s first novella and is loosely based on a tree with a haunted past on the North Shore of Long Island.
Author Michael Phillip Cash seems to enjoy adding some ghostly character to his books. And I usually enjoy them. This novella pushes that characteristic of his to the top and it has a wonderful result. The two living characters, Arielle and Chad, are teenagers that have met under the hanging tree. Arielle’s father is not happy with her seeing this older boy and he does not approve. She is at a hard point in her life and searching for a way to be accepted and maybe at the same time stick it to her dad. Her parents have divorced and she and her sister are living with their father. He had always been the one to be there for the girls. Now, however, he has a girlfriend and she is taking up some of their precious time. Chad is pressuring Arielle into doing something she is not ready for and unsure of how to handle.
The hanging tree is inhabited by ghosts whose lives and/or deaths are somehow connected to the tree. These ghosts are from a huge span of time, from varying lifestyles and different ages. The spirits in the tree are however, keeping an eye on the going ons that happen underneath. As I started reading this book, I thought the main characters would be the two teens. I was surprised and happy to realize the ghosts play a huge part of the story. As the ghosts relate their tales of how they came there, one thing is clear. There was a curse on them all that tied them to the tree and Arielle and Chad are also descendants.
The stories related by the ghosts are entertaining and well written. The tie in to the teens is well done. As a novella, Mr. Cash has fit in a wonderful and complete tale that intrigues and entertains. He dips his story in relationships, family, pain, hypocrisy, love and so much more. I was amazed at how much was fit into this tiny book. This is not really a horror story as far as I can see. It is more a story that stimulates thought and feeling that happens to have ghosts as some of the main characters.
*OBS would like to thank the author for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*