Tuesday, June 5, 2012

A Sound Among the Trees by Susan Meissner

First let me admit, I adore historical fiction and if you have ever tuned in to my past reviews you know that the 19th century is my age of addiction - I cannot learn enough about it!


A house shrouded in time.

A line of women with a heritage of loss.As a young bride, Susannah Page was rumored to be a Civil War spy for the North, a traitor to her Virginian roots. Her great-granddaughter Adelaide, the current matriarch of Holly Oak, doesn’t believe that Susannah’s ghost haunts the antebellum mansion looking for a pardon, but rather the house itself bears a grudge toward its tragic past.When Marielle Bishop marries into the family and is transplanted from the arid west to her husband’s home, it isn’t long before she is led to believe that the house she just settled into brings misfortune to the women who live there.With Adelaide’s richly peppered superstitions and deep family roots at stake, Marielle must sort out the truth about Susannah Page and Holly Oak— and make peace with the sacrifices she has made for love.

My Thoughts:

This book more than met my expectations regarding history of the time period.  In fact, there is no book I have read recently that told a better story about the Civil War than this one.  I appreciated the fact that it was told through the perspectives of a number of women in the family who lived at Holly Oak.  It made the book more interesting to follow as it jumped back and forth between the women.

I loved how it went to the letter format towards the end, I thought this part of the book was the best.  I wanted to keep reading to see what else Susannah was going to have to endure.

I felt like the side plot regarding Marielle and Carson and their family was a little forced, I didn't find them near as interesting as the central characters - Adelaide and Susannah.  I also had a hard time with the ending, not sure why as I expected it to come to a conclusion just as it did but I couldn't wrap my mind around the summary that the author presented regarding the house.

I am not someone who really enjoys "ghost" stories but this one captured my imagination and it is pretty neat to see how Adelaide convinced herself over the years that it was the house's fault for her problems...and it was refreshing to see her character come full circle.  The house itself really became the central character in this mystery and it was very neat to read about a house with so much history.  Being from Virginia, I have seen and been in many a house just like Holly Oak - they have a rich and interesting history.

The character I just couldn't jive with was Caroline - a drug addict, abandoned her child, ran away and caused her family much pain but them comes back "clean" to fix everyone's problems.  She seemed to just have it all together a little too well if you ask me and I find it hard to believe she would have had any credibility at all in actual life had she played that role.

The author sure know the time period, and she clearly has researched the Battle of Fredericksburg - her descriptions of it via Susannah's letters was far-reaching.  I love studying the Civil War and this novel is a testament to just how much you can learn from historical fiction.

Overall Rating: 4/5


  1. I adore Susan Meissner! So happy to see she has another one out. I'll have to stop over at Amazon now.

  2. If you think it is the best book about the Civil War, then it must be the real deal. You've given motivation to finish it!