A Sound Among Trees is a fictional story that spans multiple generations of women who live, or have lived, at Holly Oak House in Fredericksburg, Virginia. The history of the house encompasses the Civil War, the physical battles that raged around it, and the battles, both mental and relational, that waged within it. The current lady of the house, Adelaide, is convinced that the house is trying to absolve itself of the sins of the house by taking out its angst on the women of the family line. People in the town are convinced that Adelaide's great grandmother, Susannah, haunts the house to absolve herself of her crimes. Are either of these true? You'll need to read the book to find out. :)
I am not a fan of ghost stories, and while the book focused on the idea of Susannah as a ghost, I had trouble getting interested in the story. There were two story lines that did pull me in, though: the story of Susannah herself - told through stories to her cousin Eleanor, and the story of Caroline, Adelaide's daughter, who ran away from home and returned only periodically, once bearing an infant daughter whom she left for Adelaide to raise.
Caroline, the prodigal daughter, leaves home to experience the world in every way she can. She doesn't know who her daughter's father is, and she has an eclectic resume of odd jobs from her travels. However, her travels eventually lead her to a convent where, in her words, the nuns teach her that "people who fall against the last door on earth, find out how to crawl through it." She is changed by God, she has found peace, and she returns to Holly Oak to share that peace and to be the daughter and grandmother that she should have been before.
Susannah's letters tell the story of the civil war and her family's involvement in it, living in the South, but having ties to the north. As a reader, I felt Susannah's conflict, her confusion over the war itself and what her role within it should be. She became more than the "ghost of Holly Oak" through her own voice in the letters, and she became part of the reinstatement of peace to the surviving generations of Holly Oak Women.
Overall, I would give this book 2.5 stars. I was solidly in the 2-star category until I got to Susannah's letters and the conclusions. While those finally got me engaged in the story, it wasn't really enough for me to rank the book much higher.
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.