I was beyond excited to get my hands on A Sound Among the Trees. See, I happen to love Susan Meissner. Her previous books, A Seahorse in the Thames, The Shape of Mercy, Lady in Waiting, and Blue Heart Blessed all sit on my bookshelf, kept forever in my collection as stories worth reading again and again. Meissner’s writing is beautiful, she paints detailed pictures of her settings, and in the past I’ve found her characters as deep as breathing people.
With that said I have to admit that if I didn’t have to read this book because I promised to review it I would have never finished it, goodness, I wouldn’t have gotten past chapter three. I’m usually one of those people who can fly through three hundred pages in 2-3 days, this book began a month long battle of making myself pick it up and finish it.
I believe the main issue falls on the characters. I found myself not liking them, not empathizing with them, and frankly not caring what happened to them.
The story is slow moving and the entire plot ends up being one big red herring.
When I read I want to escape and leave a book feeling uplifted, or in the least, entertained. A Sound Among the Trees is just plain melancholy the whole way through.
Now, about two hundred pages in a packet of letters is found and the story dips into Civil War times. What would have been an amazing book would have been Susannah’s story alone. She’s the only character I felt a bond to and any desire to champion. I loved the hundred or so pages devoted to her story, but remember if I hadn’t had to read the book I would have never even gotten to Susannah’s portion.
I’m pretty bummed, I think this is the first bad review I’ve ever given but I can’t honestly say I’d tell any of my friends to read this book. I have forty more I’d recommend before this one. Please, look up Meissner’s other books and read them, because she’s excellent, just something went amiss with this one.
I received this book free from Waterbrook/Multnomah as a member of Blogging for Books in exchange for this review.