Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Family Tree - Contemporary Fiction Review

Rating: Very Good

Source: Blog Tour

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 Los Angeles home they share. And now, she’s pregnant with their first child. But in an instant, her life is shattered. And when Annie awakes from a yearlong coma, she discovers that time isn’t 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 judge. 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 woman’s 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.

Genre: Fiction - Contemporary

Why I Picked This Book:
  I love Susan Wiggs and I adore anything involving an old cookbook!

My Impression:
  This is one of those books where I feel like the blurb does the book a disservice - at least for me.  That part about the cookbook and the age-old mystery?  Really shouldn't be in there at all and that was what I was most excited about.  I felt a bit like I rushed through a lot of the book looking for the part where she finds her grandmother's cookbook and end up with only a handful of mentions.  There are a number of sweet moments the come up about her relationship with her grandmother and getting back to cooking was important but there wasn't the generational connection like I was looking for.

This isn't to say I didn't really enjoy this one.  It's Susan Wiggs after all.  I loved Annie and just trying to imagine myself in her situation is absolutely terrifying.  I was rooting for her as she struggled to figure out what had happened to her and what happens in her present.  The Rush family was interesting and had their fair of heartbreak and struggle.  I loved how they rallied around to help Annie and how she began to heal.

I'm not normally a big fan of 2nd chance romances with high school sweethearts.  All that pining away for someone you were in love with as a teenager makes no sense to me.  But the relationship between Annie and Fletcher was different.  Their problems weren't immaturity but a combination of dreams and responsibilities kept separating them.  There was no pining or wishing for the one that got away.  They went about their lives and were happy.  It didn't hurt that I adored Fletcher and that he was just truly an amazing guy.

While I wish more time had been spent on Annie starting to cook again and finding her grandmother's cookbook I did really enjoy this read.  I liked Annie, Fletcher, the Rush family, and all of Annie's friends.  I was pulled right into the town of Switchback and when I wasn't reading I wanted to dive in for "just a few pages".  If you enjoy books with strong likable characters who overcome pretty amazing obstacles and solid family stories this is a must read.
Would I Read More of this Series/Author?
  Absolutely!  I'm already looking forward to my next book by Susan Wiggs.

Would I Recommend this Book?
  I would!  This is a great family story with wonderful characters.  While there is a bit of romance the focus is much more on healing and overcoming.


  1. I enjoyed this one too and you certainly have given it a well rounded and very true review. And I'll read anything Susan Wiggs writes too ( although not that fond of her historicals).

  2. I'm so glad you loved this. I've never read Susan Wiggs before, but I've heard good things. I'm not really sure this one is for me, but, again, I'm so glad you enjoyed it.

  3. Nice review, Katherine. It's time I read a Susan Wiggs novel--she's been on my list of must try authors for quite some time now.

  4. Great review, and I also enjoyed this book. I really like the author, which reminds me that I have another of her books on my shelves...waiting.

  5. I have not read Susan Wiggs yet despite having several of her books. This does sound like a good read but it is too bad that the cookbook from her grandmother wasn't a bigger part of the plot. Great review!

  6. I had read this some time ago. I probably gave it three stars too. You're right in how she focused more on the healing and moving on. I thought the gathering of maple was interesting to read about. Who do you like more...her, Kristin Hannah, or Robyn Carr?

  7. It's always very annoying when you read the blurb and think you have one particular sort of book - only to discover that you have been thoroughly misdirected! Glad it was an enjoyable book, after all. I loved reading the review:)

  8. The grandmother's cookbook and saving the family farm had me leaning in for a closer listen, but it's a shame it's not a prominent element in the story. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. :)

  9. I really enjoyed this one too. Reading this book made me want some authentic maple syrup and a big pile of pancakes. :)

  10. I read a Susan Wiggs books once. I think it was called Just Breathe. It was a pretty good book!

  11. I really want to try this author. Totally sounds like my kind of book and the cover speaks to me. Sorry there wasn't more with the cookbook and generational connection.

  12. This book looks really interesting! I tend to avoid reading blurbs when possible-- I feel like they always give too much away