Good news…. In our recent move I discovered several books that I should have read and reviewed eons ago, but they had been misplaced (that was the bad news – OOOPS). I recently reviewed “ The Miner’s Lady” and next turned to this refreshing fictional novel by Susan Meissner. If I had been told it was “ghost story” I never would have picked it up. And in fact I found it to be a totally refreshing “Christian Fiction” novel. Read more of my thoughts below….
“A Sound Among the Trees” was a breath of fresh air – especially for they usually predictable “Christian Fiction” genre. With no prior experiences reading works by Susan Meissner, I came into the book completely unassuming – except to expect the typical “Christian Fiction” romance and strong faith elements to appear. I was pleasantly surprised that while the book talks about spiritual matters there are only hints at finding more in ourselves spiritually and seldom was God or faith explicitly referenced – it was a refreshing approach.
I loved that this book was unexpected with a few subtle twists that left me wanting more. I’d recommend it, especially to those who love Historical Fiction and this specific period of the American Civil war. I would also easily pass this along to those who love mysteries or ghost stories, and certainly would not feel like friends would be put off by the faith elements in this book. To me this is a huge plus as I have felt often that Historical Christian Fiction has so much to offer, but I’ve found myself reticent to pass it along since others might be too distracted by the faith-based portion of the story line. Nothing cliche or typical about this book. I found it a quick and interesting read. Meissner uses interesting vocabulary, sentence structure, and format that left the literary parts of me satisfied and impressed.
I also thoroughly enjoyed that it was written about the home of Holly Oak in five parts, each named after a part of the home. The five parts were titled “The Garden,” “The Parlor,” “The Studio,” “The Cellar” – which included my favorite portion of the book as sub section called “The Letters” and finally “Holly Oak.” The letter portion was historically rich and this is when I found myself the most connected to an individual character. In these central 100 pages the ancestor/ghost of Sussanah writes to her cousin in a set of unshared and unpublished letters. A totally interesting and dare I say it, “cool” way to interject family history into the story. I found the format to not only be refreshing, but an overall interesting and intriguing spin on exploring the characters; and in this case the home itself – which really is the main character.
I planned to give the book 5 stars, but after I explored a few of the other reviews I had to agree that there was a bit lacking in the overall character development. I found myself rooting for the home of Holly Oak, as much or more then the characters themselves, which may have been EXACTLY what Meissner was going for. The home itself is a character and the one that gets the most time, attention, and character development. But in the end felt less connected to the other (more human) characters.
I’d pass this along to a friend and certainly read more by Meissner. In fact you can read the first chapter right here or read more about the author here.
And as a sidenote I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.