Published by William Morrow on August 9th 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
For readers of Kristin Hannah and Jodi Picoult comes a powerful, emotionally complex story of love, loss, the pain of the pastÔÇöand the promise of the future.
Sometimes the greatest dream starts with the smallest element. A single cell, joining with another. And then dividing. And just like that, the world changes.
Annie Harlow knows how lucky she is. The producer of a popular television cooking show, she loves her handsome husband and the beautiful Manhattan home they share. And now, sheÔÇÖs pregnant with their first child.
But in an instant, her life is shattered. And when Annie awakes from a year-long coma, she discovers that time isnÔÇÖt the only thing she's lost.
Grieving and wounded, Annie retreats to her old family home in Switchback, Vermont, a maple farm generations old. There, surrounded by her free-spirited brother, their divorced mother, and four young nieces and nephews, Annie slowly emerges into a world she left behind years ago: the town where she grew up, the people she knew before, the high-school boyfriend turned ex-cop. And with the discovery of a cookbook her grandmother wrote in the distant past, Annie unearths an age-old mystery that might prove the salvation of the family farm.
Family Tree is the story of one womanÔÇÖs triumph over betrayal, and how she eventually comes to terms with her past. It is the story of joys unrealized and opportunities regained. Complex, clear-eyed and big-hearted, funny, sad, and wise, it is a novel to cherish and to remember.
Susan Wiggs’ has an extensive library, but this is only the second of her books that IÔÇÖve read, and the first one was ages ago. I was immediately reminded that liked her writing style. Nor did it take long for me to re-discover that she writes great dialogue. But the key to this reading experience is in the the setting(s) and her characters. Family Tree certainly contributed to this reader/author relationship.
I was a bit trepedatious going into this read. Stories with infidelity can be hit or miss for me. In this case it’s a hit and it’s most likely because that is not the key aspect of the story. It’s a plot driver for sure, but this is an exploration into a woman finding herself again and getting a second chance with her first love. It’s bumpy road and well worth the time investment and some of the anxiety it generated in me. The story is told in the then and now with the notion of Before and After life events that is a key message. So, we get a clear picture of of both our heroine Annie Harlow’s life and that of her high school flame Fletcher Wyndham.
There are many shifts and changes for them. The demise of her relationship with Fletcher was heartbreaking on so many levels, I suppose that’s what happens with a great love. They seem to be thwarted at every step as circumstances continually pull them a part. It takes more than two chances for these two to figure it out. This aspect of the plot was ripe with angst, but also sweetly balanced by the sincerity of the depth of their care and concern for each other with, what with their near lifelong connection.
“All her instincts and urges told her that Fletcher Wyndham was her moment.”
The story is rich in detail with the Rush mountain family, Annie’s parents troubled marriage and how that impacted her, her grandmothers influence on her life and how that led to the choice of her profession. The one that introduced her to her self-centered husband Martin and led to a key before and after time in her life. We get much of this backstory as Annie recuperates from a devastating accident. I think Wigg’s does an amazing job with Annie’s recovery and stays true to the process and amount if time it would take.
“Her thoughts were pinging every which way. Maybe her brain was not scrambled eggs, but popcorn. With the lid off the pan. A thought would form and then shoot away before she could grasp it.”
I stayed deeply engaged in Annie and Fletchers’ lives as Wigg’s draws out the real ” end of their story.” I don’t think I’ve mentioned what a dream boat Fletcher becomes. He may start out that way but he takes a few miss-steps throughout the story. Ultimately he and Annie need to learn to trust each other but Fletcher’s way of loving her is romantic and yet pragmatic:
ÔÇ£I want you to have a choice. You shouldnÔÇÖt be here by default, but because you choose to be here.ÔÇØ
Yes, they are tested through the final 2% of the story but then we are gifted with a fabulous epilogue – the best of the “After” chapters. Annie learns she has to go back to move forward – where she’s meant to be. 4.5 #SugarRush Stars and recommendation
~Review By Cyndi