The backstory: After adoring Tatjana Soli's debut novel, The Lotus Eaters (my review), I was eager to read her next novel.
The basics: Claire and her husband Forster have lived on Forster's family citrus farm in Southern California since they were married. They now have three children. When their farm is attacked, the family is torn apart.
My thoughts: Tatjana Soli does not shy away from the sadness of the human condition. Her writing is beautiful, but it's the way her characters come alive on the pages that most impresses me. I admit the description of this novel likely would not have convinced me to read this novel, but after loving The Lotus Eaters, I would gladly read anything else Soli writes, and Soli immediately pulled me into The Forgetting Tree. I read it compulsively as if it were a thriller rather than a grief-filled family saga.
Claire is the heart and soul of this novel, and I appreciated each moment I spent with her. I remain fascinated by her priorities, emotions, and experiences. I treasured the time I spent sharing Claire's journey with her. This novel wasn't what I expected, but not knowing what to expect only heightened my enjoyment.
Favorite passage: "Terror was intimate, entwined in the moment, not translatable."
The verdict: Soli's writing shines in The Forgetting Tree, and Claire is a strong, nuanced, memorable woman. This novel, although shadowed by grief, is surprisingly hopeful.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Length: 416 pages
Publication date: September 4, 2012
Source: publisher via TLC Book Tours and NetGalley
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