Published: July 15, 2014
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: GoodReads First Reads
Highly Recommended for fans of character-driven novels
It is 1938 when Eveline, a young bride, follows her husband into the wilderness of Minnesota. Though their cabin is rundown, they have a river full of fish, a garden out back, and a new baby boy named Hux. But when Emil leaves to take care of his sick father, the unthinkable happens: a stranger arrives, and Eveline becomes pregnant. She gives the child away, and while Hux grows up hunting and fishing in the woods with his parents, his sister, Naamah, is raised an orphan. Years later, haunted by the knowledge of this forsaken girl, Hux decides to find his sister and bring her home to the cabin. But Naamah, even wilder than the wilderness that surrounds them, may make it impossible for Hux to ever tame her, to ever make up for all that she, and they, have lost. Set before a backdrop of vanishing forest, this is a luminous novel of love, regret, and hope.
There are books that are non-stop action from the first to the last page and there are books that are more like a meditation. Evergreen is one of those quiet books. It is definitely more a character-driven book than a plot-driven one...if you like those sorts of things.
And I do like those sorts of things.
Rasmussen has created a group of flesh-and-blood characters, all of whom are dealing with the repercussions of one act and one decision. Rasmussen is smart how she handles this--the book is divided into 4 parts that span the generations from 1938 to 1972. She is able to cut out the superfluous material and get right to the heart of these characters in a way that I've seen few writers do. These characters will get right into the reader's soul. Rasmussen is able to bring out the humanity in each of these characters so all of them are relatable in some way.
Rasmussen is also very successful in setting the place of this novel Evergreen is set apart--apart from town, apart from lumber camps, apart from just about everyone except these characters. Even still, I was able to picture this place in my mind's eye and feel like I was there with the characters.
As I said, this is a deeply character-driven novel, which I know does not appeal to everyone. However, if you enjoy character novels and, frankly, just beautiful prose, you will enjoy Evergreen.
I won a copy of this book through the GoodReads First Reads program. I was encouraged, but not required, to write an honest review. I received no other compensation for this post.