Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Book Review: "The Forgetting Tree" by Tatjana Soli


The Forgetting Tree Tatjana Soli
Published: September 4, 2012
ISBN-10: 1250001048
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Source: TLC Book Tours
Recommended for readers looking for unsettling books

From Amazon.com:

When Claire Nagy marries Forster Baumsarg, the only son of prominent California citrus ranchers, she knows she’s consenting to a life of hard work, long days, and worry-fraught nights. But her love for Forster is so strong, she turns away from her literary education and embraces the life of the ranch, succumbing to its intoxicating rhythms and bounty until her love of the land becomes a part of her. Not even the tragic, senseless death of her son Joshua at kidnappers’ hands, her alienation from her two daughters, or the dissolution of her once-devoted marriage can pull her from the ranch she’s devoted her life to preserving.

But despite having survived the most terrible of tragedies, Claire is about to face her greatest struggle: an illness that threatens not only to rip her from her land but take her very life. And she's chosen a caregiver, the inscrutable, Caribbean-born Minna, who may just be the darkest force of all.

Bear with me, this is going to be a bit of a strange review.

I need to start off about what was wonderful about this book.  I loved Soli's style--this is the first of her books that I've read and I will be adding her previous book, The Lotus Eaters, to my ever-growing "To Be Read" list.  Her prose, at times, crosses the line into poetry and in sucks you in.  Soli is also skilled in creating 3 dimensional characters.  While most of the attention is directed towards Minna and Claire, even secondary characters are fleshed out.

The arc of this story is well paced, but surprising.  It starts with the tragic death of Josh, Claire's son, but the bulk of the plot revolves around Claire's cancer and her relationship with the mysterious Minna. As I write that here, it sounds like The Forgetting Tree is a disjointed book, but it really isn't.  All the seams in the plot are neatly finished and I can't say that I ever felt like I was left hanging with any element.

The Forgetting Tree is a book of remarkable quality and, based on that, I would recommend it to others.

But....

I've got to be honest.  This book creeped me out.  I honestly can't say what it was that got to me--I think it was something to do with the relationship between Claire and Minna.  Whatever it was kept me from enjoying this book as I would have liked.  I've read other reviews of this book online and I recognize that the problem was with me, not with the book.  Sometimes a book will just speak to that one part of you that really didn't want to listen and I guess that is what happened to me with this one.

I would still recommend this book to others, but with the warning that, at least for me, it may not be a pleasant reading experience.


This review is part of a blog tour by TLC Book Tours.  I received a copy of the book to read and review.  I received no other compensation and all opinions are mine, and mine alone.

Affiliate link: Purchase this book at Amazon.

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