Have you ever gone out to a dinner where the appetizers were superb, the soup amazing, the salad everything a salad could ever hope to be but the main course was completely lackluster? After you’ve had a bit of time to think back on the experience, you find yourself wanting to visit the restaurant again, just for the lovely soup!
That’s how I felt about Susan Meissner’s “A Sound Among the Trees.” This story had a terrific premise, a new bride arrives to her new home in Fredricksberg which she will be sharing with her new step-children’s great-grandmother, her new husband (previously widowed) and, apparently, the family ghost. A ghost with an apparent grudge against the women of the family and one that cannot get past the tragedies of the Civil War.
“It was an unspoken understanding among the Holly Oak women – for who on the outside would believe it? – that the house had never grasped the notion that it was no longer a battleground, a hospital, a hiding place, a graveyard…no longer a refuge stripped of its meaning by the women who had lived inside it. It was still a house of penance, the cannonball on the north wall a tangible reminder of the indictments against it, and its women the apparent objects of its remorse.”
Throw in a missing daughter and add a legend of a Yankee spy living in the house and you have the makings of a great tale. Which it is, great….mostly, until you get to the end. The story is deftly told from three perspectives, the aging Adelaide an inmate of the house since birth, Marielle, the new bride trying to step gently around a house filled with memories of her new husband’s deceased wife and Susannah, a Civil War resident of the house and presumed ghost of Holly Oak. The ending, frankly, left me feeling like I’d suddenly wandered into another story, “Wait, you’re going to have them do what? You’ve got to be kidding!”
However, as I said before, this is one of those times when the soup and the appetizer may be worth the lackluster main course. I’m only rating this 3 out of 5 because of the ending but it was a thoroughly enjoyable read.
I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review as part of their “Blogging for Books” program.
Waterbrook Multnomah is giving away books for book review readers! Click on this link and rank my review to be entered to win! “http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/bloggingforbooks/reviews/ranking/12296“>