Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Killing Tree - A Review

The Killing Tree, a novel by Rachel Keener

It's the summer after Mercy Heron graduates from high school, and she's living in the household of her domineering grandfather and a grandmother whose behavior has always been erratic--some folks even call it crazy. They've raised Mercy since her mother died giving birth to her under the June apple tree, after Father Heron locked her out and ignored her pleas for help. Mercy's days are spent working at the local diner, and hanging out with her wild best friend Della. Unlike Della, she's never seriously considered leaving the insulated community on Crooked Top mountain. Not until that summer when she meets Trout, a man who opens Mercy's eyes to a world beyond what she's known--both physically and emotionally. Their relationship must be kept secret, because Father Heron won't approve of his granddaughter being involved with a migrant worker. But when Mercy tries to escape, she'll learn just how powerful, and ruthless, her grandfather can be. And the truth of her past will threaten to forever bind her to the mountain.
I really enjoyed this novel. It took me a little bit to warm up to the characters, but once I did, I had a hard time putting this book down. That would explain why I was up until 2 a.m. the other night.

One of my favorite parts about this novel was the character development. There were no one dimensional characters. The author took the time to develop each and every character, making them very human. The good guys had weaknesses and the bad guys weren't all bad. I liked that. Life is never simple. Neither are people. And neither is this novel.

There was a foreboding woven throughout this story that made me want to keep reading. I enjoyed the suspense.

There was also some beautiful writing. The descriptions made me want to go there. There were songs woven through the novel as well. I'll admit that I often skim over that kind of thing when I'm reading...I find it boring. But it worked in this story.

I will say that the ending didn't sit well with me. There was just something about it. I liked that all the ends weren't neatly tied up because that's the way life is. But if felt a little too untied for me.

Regardless, I sit here a few days after finishing this book with the characters still in my head. Surely that's the sign of a good book. I definitely recommend this book, especially if you want to escape to the Appalachian Mountains for a while.

This book was provided to me for an impartial review

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