16 August 2016

Family Tree by Susan Wiggs

Family Tree by Susan Wiggs.
Audience/Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance.
Publication: August 9th 2016 by William Morrow.
For readers of Kristin Hannah and Jodi Picoult comes a powerful, emotionally complex story of love, loss, the pain of the past—and the promise of the future.

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.

Reviewed by Kelly.

I am a sucker for books with a whole family involved. I love the tender exchanges with children and family who loves you even with all their own garbage. In the beginning, we find Annie to be in control of her life or so she thought. She is doing well with her production of her life’s dream of a cooking TV show that has a little twist. She is married and is being interviewed by a popular magazine. She finds out she is pregnant that morning of the interview and she is so elated that she ditches the rest of the interview to tell her husband. When she gets there, she finds the unthinkable! She runs off and part of the set falls on her and puts her in a coma for a year.

When she wakes up, she is home in Vermont. She isn’t in California anymore. She doesn’t remember what happened to her much less how to do a simple task of holding a toothbrush or remembering that she was married or pregnant. As she begins the process of healing and regaining her strength and overcoming a severe head injury, the pieces slowly come back to her. Also her memories of Fletcher, the one she loved and left behind in Vermont.

The book goes back and forth in time. Seeing what happens with both Fletcher and Annie over the years. You get their perspectives as well. Their on and off again relationship was hard to handle. Fletcher is an amazing person and sometimes I wanted to slap both of them. But mostly Annie! She couldn’t make up her mind what was more important to her. Yet you knew she wanted a family of her own. I thought she was stupid towards the end and almost pushing Fletcher away again. I get head injuries changes people (I should know my husband had a really good one too!) but she just irked me and then when she finally decided what to do, I was lost. I didn't get why she changed her mind so quick. It just ended abruptly. Don't get me wrong, I wanted to see her and Fletcher together.

I enjoyed learning lots of food stuff! Ugh! My mouth watered with half the book! I learned a lot about syrup and sap! I liked how even in the teenage years most of the kids were hard workers on family businesses.

This is an emotional book that deals with finding yourself again, finding happiness and making compromises to be with those you love who matter most in life. I loved Fletcher. He made a name for himself when others thought he would amount to nothing. I loved the dynamics of his relationship with his father. Annie’s family had more issues but I loved every minute of their encounters as a family. They were real and loved you even when they disagreed. The ending was sweet; I just wish it weren’t so rushed in the end.

This is my first book by this author, but I am anxious to read more of her work!!

Thanks to Harper Collins / William Morrow for giving me a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. The opinions are my own!

Susan Wiggs's life is all about family, friends...and fiction. She lives at the water's edge on an island in Puget Sound, and she commutes to her writers' group in a 17-foot motorboat. She serves as author liaison for Field's End, a literary community on Bainbridge Island, Washington, bringing inspiration and instruction from the world's top authors to her seaside community. (See www.fieldsend.org) She's been featured in the national media, including NPR's "Talk of the Nation," and is a popular speaker locally and nationally.

According to Publishers Weekly, Wiggs writes with "refreshingly honest emotion," and the Salem Statesman Journal adds that she is "one of our best observers of stories of the heart [who] knows how to capture emotion on virtually every page of every book." Booklist characterizes her books as "real and true and unforgettable." She is the recipient of three RITA (sm) awards and four starred reviews from Publishers Weekly for her books. The Winter Lodge and Passing Through Paradise have appeared on PW’s annual "Best Of" lists. Several of her books have been listed as top Booksense picks and optioned as feature films. Her novels have been translated into more than two dozen languages and have made national bestseller lists, including the USA Today, Washington Post and New York Times lists.

The author is a former teacher, a Harvard graduate, an avid hiker, an amateur photographer, a good skier and terrible golfer, yet her favorite form of exercise is curling up with a good book.

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