A Sound Among the Trees by Susan Meissner revolves around an old antebellum Fredericksburg mansion, Holly Oak, that survived the Civil War. It is currently owned by Adelaide McClane, the great-granddaughter of Susannah Page, who was rumored to be a Civil War spy for the Union. With that rumor floats the superstitions that the house is haunted by Susannah's ghost. Or, according to Adelaide, the house wants a pardon or bears a grudge for all that went on in its tragic past, and the revenge is taken out on the women of the house, making them suffer tormentingly. Adelaide herself "lost" her daughter, Caroline, then her granddaughter, Sara, to a horrible accident, and lastly a freak accident herself.
Enter Marielle Bishop, an Arizona transplant, married to Adelaide's grandson-in-law, Carson, with his two children. They, too, live with Adelaide in the mansion. Marielle tries to live up to and learn about Carson's first wife.
Susan's story is inundated with loss, death, love and reconciliation. But the storyline in-between has a tight and twisting theme of hauntings, clairvoyance, and the truth. The atmosphere is eerie and ethereal at times, causing you to wonder if ghosts are involved whether you believe in them or not, which I myself do not. But that doesn't eliminate some kind of evil power behind it all.
The secrets, estrangements, and innuendos keep the story flowing from beginning to end. The twist of the ending will blow you out of the water! I never saw it coming and would never have guessed, but it made sense afterwards. What a great ending to an eerie start! And new understandings!
A sound among the trees has always been soothing for me to listen to. If I let the ethereal atmosphere of this book overcome me, it could take my joy away. But I just remember that the Lord is all-powerful, not ghosts, and definitely not clairvoyants.
Technically well penned. Language, subject approach, and spiritualism emphasis quite surprising. Concerned about trend of Christian authors to work through very worldly venues - hard to maintain any semblance of Christianity. Pondering why so many Christian reviewers rated this work so high.
The tale begins with a lovely garden reception for Marielle, the new bride of Carson, a widower, who lives with his two children, and his former mother-in-law, Adelaide, owner of Holly Oak, a southern mansion located in historic Fredericksburg, Virginia. The local group of "blue ladies" (so-called because of their hair color) gossip about the house's ghost, Susannah, Adelaide's great grandmother. Rumors have it that Susannah was a spy for the Union. Adelaide wants the rumors to stop, even though she does feel that Holly Oak brings misfortune to every female who resides there.
An vengeful house! This alone is enough to give me the creeps. Imagine, marrying a widow with two children and living in the haunted house with his former mother-in-law!
Susannah wrote letters to her cousin who lived in Maine. Those letters--once they're found--tell the story of the Civil War and put all gossip about Susannah to rest. I especially enjoyed reading about the Confederate uniforms being made (and hidden from the Union invaders).
In addition to the details of the times, the reader learns that love comes in many shapes. I heartily recommend this historical/romance fiction.
This story takes you from Modern day to the Civil War period. We open the story at a wedding reception for Marielle and Carson, at which looks like a beautiful Southern estate. Carson and Marielle have meet over the internet and there interest bloomed into love. They were married in Arizona, and are having the reception in Virginia.
Carson and his two children live in Virginia in the beautiful old home, that has been in the family for many generations. The home is actually Carson's deceased wife's families, and will sometime belong to their children Brette and Hudson. Marielle has agreed to Carson's request that they live here rather than upset the children, and be there for Sara's Grandmother Adelaide.
It must have been very difficult for Marielle to live in Carson's late wife's home! A home that seems to have something wrong with it. There is talk around town that it is haunted? There is supposed to be some lost letter's that would confirm all of this.
I think the part of the book I enjoyed the most was the letter's written by Susannah...she is Adelaide's Great-Grandmother. Loved the description of the South during the War, although parts sounded to true with all the killing and injured.
A very enjoyable read.
I was provided with a copy of this book by the Publisher WaterBrook Press, and was not required to give a positive review.
This is my first Susan Meissner book and I can honestly say it won't be my last! I closed the book impressed with this authors ability to weave so many characters into such an intriguing tale.
Marielle is marrying Carson, who lives in his deceased wife's family home, Holly Oak, with his two children and grandmother-in-law, Adelaide. This stately home has been in the family since the Civil War and has an aura of mystery and sadness surrounding it. Is it the house itself that wants to exact a portion of each Holly Oak woman for past wrongs or is it the ghost of Susannah Page, accused of being a spy for the Yankees, who haunts each woman who dwells within? Is there really something supernatural going on at all?
As interesting as the present day events in the story were, I was most captivated when the "lost" letters from Susannah Page to her cousin were introduced into the story. From that moment on, I didn't want to put the book down. I was totally drawn into the life of Susannah. Even though they are fictional letters, I went so far as to read some of them to my husband! The descriptive nature in them had me believing that what I was reading was detailing exact moments and events that took place at Holly Oak from 1860 to 1863. The people seemed so real. I could hear the conversations, the ramblings, the shot of the muskets and feel the ground and walls quiver with the roar of the cannons! The tension and fear that was felt when the yankee soldiers were coming and the townsfolk were running was palpable. My emotions were fully engaged throughout this novel.
I'll just say this. Adelaide has some eccentric friends and I hope that when I'm an elderly woman I have some friends like that who will gather around me and support me even if they think I'm nuts. Of course, I thought a couple of the friends were nuts but that's what made them so lovable.
Even though this novel is published as Christian Fiction, the spiritual thread is not overly obvious. This would probably appeal to many who read contemporary and some historical fiction. I do wish there had been more time spent in the historical time frame of the book but that's just my personal preeference and does in no way detract from the wonderful story that is A Sound Among the Trees.
Get it. Read it. You won't regret it!
Waterbrook Multnomah provided me this book for free through their Blogging for Books program. I was under no obligation to write a positive review, just my opinion of the book.