The Wishing Trees

The Wishing Trees

4.6 22
by John Shors
     
 

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Almost a year after the death of his wife, former high-tech executive Ian finds a letter that will change his life. It contains Kate's final wish-a plea for him to take their ten-year-old daughter, Mattie, on a trip across Asia, through the countries they had always planned to visit. Eager to honor the woman they loved, Ian and Mattie embark on an epic journey,

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Overview

Almost a year after the death of his wife, former high-tech executive Ian finds a letter that will change his life. It contains Kate's final wish-a plea for him to take their ten-year-old daughter, Mattie, on a trip across Asia, through the countries they had always planned to visit. Eager to honor the woman they loved, Ian and Mattie embark on an epic journey, leaving notes to Kate in "wishing trees" along the way, and encountering miracles large and small. And as they begin to find their way back to each other, they discover that healing is possible and love endures-lessons that Kate hoped to show them all along...

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Though Shors (Dragon House) has skirted the edge of mawkishness in his earlier books, he crosses the line in this emotionally manipulative story of grief. Ian McCray is still a wreck a year after the death of his wife, Kate, when he finds a letter from her instructing him to take their daughter, Mattie, on the tour of Asia that she and Ian had planned for their 15th anniversary. Kate's helpfully left behind letters stored in film canisters to be opened in each country they visit, beginning with Japan, where Kate and Ian fell in love. During the trip, Ian and Mattie try to forge a closeness like the one enjoyed between mother and daughter, but it's no easy task, and Kate's letters, meanwhile, prove to be an emotional minefield. While the travel narrative is nicely handled, Kate's goodness is so overdone that she might as well have wings and a halo, and the letters she leaves behind are off-puttingly saccharine. Add the drawings Mattie leaves in "wishing trees" throughout Asia for her mother to see from heaven, and the result is like having your tears jerked at knifepoint. (Sept.)
From the Publisher
"John Shors' The Wishing Tree is an affecting and sensitively rendered study of grief and loss, the healing power of artistic expression, and the life- altering rewards of travel to distant lands. I was deeply moved by this poignant and life-affirming novel."
-Wally Lamb, author of She's Come Undone and Wishin' and Hopin'
Library Journal
Shors's fourth novel (after Dragon House) begins with the maudlin plot of a widower fulfilling his wife's last wish. A dying Kate writes her husband, Ian, and daughter, Mattie, and asks them to travel across Asia without her, on the trip she had planned to take. Father and daughter journey across the continent, encountering internal and physical conflicts while remembering Kate and opening little notes she wrote for each destination. They also see wishing trees where people tie desires and prayers on pieces of paper in the hopes they will be answered; Ian and Mattie use them to communicate with Kate. VERDICT This novel might initially appeal to fans of Nicholas Sparks, but it does not live up to Sparks's standard of a good if predictable romance. Treacle, from the sappy plot to the unbelievable dialog.—Shalini Miskelly, Seattle
Kirkus Reviews

From Shors (Beside a Burning Sea, 2008, etc.), a novel almost more heartwarming than a body can stand.

Aussie Ian recently lost his American wife, Kate. Although he and his ten-year-old daughter Mattie grieve intensely, they decide to honor Kate's memory by following through on one of her last requests—that they retrace a journey Ian and Kate had made earlier through Asia. Ian quits his job as a high-paying executive, and the narrative develops a flow based on the rhythm of their journey—from Japan to Nepal to India to Hong Kong to Vietnam and finally to Egypt. Kate has written some posthumous letters and poems that Ian and Mattie open periodically as they reach their various destinations. In this way they get reassurance of Kate's continuing concern, devotion and love from beyond the grave. Mattie is an aspiring artist and leaves sketches and notes for her mother in trees as they move from place to place. One of Kate's requests is that they do good along the way by helping people in need, so they take time to do this, most notably by befriending a poor boy, Rupee, in India, an untouchable who survives by diving for gold teeth in the Ganges. One of Kate's requests involves their getting in touch with Georgia, Kate's former best friend and now a bank executive working in Hong Kong, and her daughter Holly. Georgia, too, has suffered: She had an unfaithful husband and a nasty divorce. Before her death Kate must have had a premonition that a) Ian would be lonely and b) he'd hit it off with Georgia. Ian fights his attraction to Georgia; he feels that any kind of incipient love would show disloyalty to Kate. But attraction is a complicated thing.

A novel that varies in tone from the sentimental to the mushy, unfolding predictably.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780451231130
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
09/07/2010
Pages:
368
Sales rank:
1,241,609
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"John Shors' The Wishing Tree is an affecting and sensitively rendered study of grief and loss, the healing power of artistic expression, and the life- altering rewards of travel to distant lands. I was deeply moved by this poignant and life-affirming novel."
-Wally Lamb, author of She's Come Undone and Wishin' and Hopin'

Meet the Author

John Shors traveled extensively throughout Asia after graduating from Colorado College in 1991, living for several years in Japan, where he taught English, and then trekking across the continent, visiting ten countries and climbing the Himalayas. More recently, Mr. Shors worked as a newspaper reporter in his hometown, Des Moines, Iowa, before entering public relations and moving to Boulder, Colorado. Beneath a Marble Sky is his first novel.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Boulder, Colorado
Date of Birth:
March 4, 1969
Place of Birth:
Des Moines, Iowa
Education:
B.A. in English, Colorado College, 1991
Website:
http://www.beneathamarblesky.com

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The Wishing Trees 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
One year may have passed since his beloved wife Kate died, but former executive Ian McCray has failed to move on with his life even knowing their tweener daughter Mattie needs him. Ian is stunned when he finds a letter written by Katie just before she died directing him to take Mattie on the tour of Asia that they had planned to go on to celebrate their fifteenth wedding anniversary. Katie also informed her surviving spouse that additional letters are inside of film canisters; she implores him to leave them sealed; opening them one at a time as father and daughter reached different countries. Although he wants to open all at once, he honors his beloved Katie by adhering to her instructions. The tour begins in Japan where the journey of Kate and Ian began when they fell in love. On the trek, Ian and Mattie try bonding, but neither can move beyond the glue that held the family together, Kate. The letters provide some solace but also remind father and daughter of how much they lost when his wife and her mother died. This is an interesting look at grief as both Ian and Mattie struggle to connect when each paints their lost loved one as even more nurturing than Mother Theresa; Kate's letters from the grave enhance that sense of an angelic paragon. The letters and Mattie's drawings add to much sweetener to the family drama mix especially the latter. Still fans will appreciate the saga of a father and daughter struggling with the death of the loved one who made them a family. Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wishing Trees is a heartwarming tale that asks the question, how far would you go to fulfill the last wishes of someone you love. This question is forced upon fortyish Ian McCray. He and his wife Kate had once served as traveling missionary slash educators throughout the Far East; from china to japan to india to africa and even egypt. When Kate dies of an undisclosed terminal illness, Ian is left without the love of his life and he must now care for their young daughter Mattie. Kate had always had more of an understanding of Mattie and passsed on the talent for art and seeing beauty in everything. Ian now feels a void between he and his daughter. But when he opens an old letter from Kate containing her last wishes, that he and Mattie take a trip through all the destinations where they helped out in their work together, Ian must find it within himself to revisit the memories of the past that he's fought so hard to drown in clinical denial, rather than face them head on. But Love for Kate spurs him on and in the process he and Mattie just might find that it is okay to move on with life and that with every loss comes a great renewal once you reach the end of the tunnel. This a first class act by a first class Author.
Grady1GH More than 1 year ago
John Shors is a Romanticist - and thank goodness there are still writers like John who are able to continually spin tales that revive the simplicity and beauty of that aspect of living that matters most: Love. Some authors can write romance novels that hold the concentration for the duration of the book. John Shors writes novels of romance that become embedded in the psyche and find a home there where they grow and influence the lives of those fortunate enough to have joined him on his journey. THE WISHING TREES is his fourth novel (Beneath a Marble Sky, Dragon Sky, Beside a Burning Sea) and this time the love story is one of a continued life after death that nourishes those left behind. Ian is an Australian businessman who has lost his wife Kate to an unnamed but cruel disease leaving him alone with his ten year old daughter Mattie. A year after Kate's death he discovers Kate left both Ian and Mattie with a collection of film canisters and a letter pleading with Ian to retrace the walkabout the two of them had shared fifteen years ago - this time taking Mattie along to help her understand the depth of love Ian and Kate had experienced and the joys they discovered. Mattie misses her mother desperately, yearning to forget the end of Kate's life as a series of tubes and paraphernalia of dying. The two decide they will fulfill Kate's plea and set out on a journey to replicate that taken long ago. They travel through Japan, Nepal, Thailand, India, Hong Kong, Vietnam, and Egypt, and obeying Kate's wishes they open a canister as they reach each destination. Inside each canister is a letter and poem that blossoms the beauty of each place. And in each place they tie a message (Mattie's drawings, notes, etc) to a tree - a wishing tree - so that Kate can experience the joys of the journey they have shared as she sees from beyond. That is simply the outline of the story. What lies within this book are the incidents, the joys, the little miracles, the people met, the engendered love that the journey provides, binding them together because of the healing of their loss through the guidance of Kate's spirit. Shors is able to describe in breathlessly beautiful prose the atmospheres and climes of each visited country because he has actually traveled to these places. His history of observations, visually and spiritually, enhance the quality of this story immeasurably. So once again John Shors has created a little miracle. Savour it! Grady Harp
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
John Shors does it yet again. Through his descriptive writing he draws the reader into the story. He does this so well you actually feel like you're there! This is a heartwarming story about love and loss between a widower and his young daughter. A must read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ummm.....
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ok!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
abigailJW More than 1 year ago
I just finished reading The Wishing Trees and I have to say that I fell in love with this book. It really brings you into it and that's what a good book is suposed to do. I am going to read more of John Shors books and I hope that they are as good as this one. It really pulled on my heart strings, I cried, and I got a really warm, good feeling. He also brought out Asia in it's beauty. I recomend this book, you won't regret it!!!! It's very powerfull, emotional.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was browsing through B&N one day and I came across this book. I absolutely loved it! I couldn't put it down and it is definitely a tear jerker, at least for me it was. It is well written and the story line is beautiful. I recommend this to anyone looking for a great book! I will be reading this again and am excited to be adding it to my book collection!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
PttDxn More than 1 year ago
I saw an online review of The Wishing Trees, which prompted me to buy the book. This is a wonderful, memorable story about a father and daughter's emotional and spiritual journey as they backpack around Asia together. This novel not only brought the characters to vivid life, but also places like the Taj Mahal, the Himalayas, the Nile, and so on. I journey with the characters and am grateful that I did.
kansascityjoan More than 1 year ago
I've read all of John Shors' novels (Beneath a Marble Sky, etc.), and am a big fan of his writing. His latest, The Wishing Trees, is lovely. It's the story of a widower and his ten-year-old daughter as they travel the world together. This is perhaps the most touching novel I have ever read. I'm telling everyone about it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Pam_N More than 1 year ago
This is a heartwarming novel of loss and love. It kind of reads like a Nicholas Sparks novel, except that it's set overseas, and the love is between a father and a daughter. The ending is quite moving and powerful.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
We want to join. Please let us in. We will be very hardworking and catch prey for the clan when we are older. Right now we are both 2 moons old. We are twins. Motekit is dark black with firey orange specks and streaks on his pelt. Sparkkit is cloudy white with one tiny immensely bright orange dot on his forehead. We are caring and fun to play with( we play a ton!).