on November 1st, 2005
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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Sweet tea, corn bread, and soup beansÔÇöeveryday fare for eight-year-old Alix French, the precocious darling of a respected southern family. But nothing was ordinary about the day she met ten-year-old Nick Anderson, a boy from the wrong side of town. Armed with only a tin of bee balm and steely determination, Alix treats the raw evidence of a recent beating that mars his back, an act that changes both of their lives forever.
Through childhood disasters and teenage woes they cling together as friendship turns to love. The future looks rosy until the fateful night when Frank Anderson, Nick's abusive father, is shot to death in his filthy trailer.
Suddenly, Nick is goneÔÇöleaving Alix alone, confused and pregnant. For the next fifteen years she wrestles with the pain of Nick's abandonment, a bad marriage, her family and friends. But finally, she's starting to get her life back together. Her divorce is almost final, her business is booming, and she's content if not happyÔÇöuntil the day she looks up and sees Nick standing across the counter. He's backÔÇªand he's not alone.
Once again Alix is plunged into turmoil and pain as Nick tries to win her love, something she resists with all her strength. Only one thing might break the protective wall she's built around her emotionsÔÇöthe truth about Frank Anderson's death. But when that truth comes out and those walls crumble, neither Alix nor Nick is prepared for the emotional explosion that could destroy as well as heal.
Wanna know what happens when you expect a fluffy, sweet, and light love story and get a tragic, heart-wrenching beating to your heart and soul instead?
You sob a lot, curled up on the sofa, clutching your Kindle to your chest and mumbling a lot of swear wordsÔÇöall courtesy of Sweet Gum Tree by Katherine Allred.
I don’t know why I was expecting light and fluffy. But that’s not what I got. It was raw and intense. A very touching, unique love story about a beautiful, enduring love between Nick and Alix.
Two people who couldn’t be more different, but who shared a love spanning decades and facing tragedies left, right and center.
While Alix grew up in a loving, well-respected home in the South, Nick wasn’t so lucky. An abusive father, dire circumstances ÔÇönot really a winning ticket to life. But Alix didn’t care ÔÇöhell-bent on saving the little boy and then falling in love with the young man he became.
Fate was cruel to them though. Really, awfully cruel. This coupled with their young age, fear, and insecurity and you had the recipe for heartbreak.
There were quite a few things I didn’t see coming. Things that broke my heart for them. I don’t know how they handled all the pain thrown their way, but the author has done an incredible job showing how the pain shaped and changed them. Especially Alix who lost herself in the darkness and hurt.
Though I didn’t expect the story to turn so sad and tragic, I was riveted and glued to my Kindle. The storytelling was atmospheric and haunting. And the characters were likableÔÇöflaws and all.
It was a tale of secrets that had the power to destroy. Of fears and misunderstandings. Of a false sense of loyalty. A tale of forgiveness, letting go. A tale of two people working through it all and letting love win.
5 Southern-charm stars.
~Review by Paula