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A darkly magical novel about a mysterious family legacy, the bonds of sisterhood, and the strange and powerful ways we are shaped by the places we call home, from the critically acclaimed author of Shallow Graves.
For the first eight years of her life, an unusual apple orchard in Vermont is Sorrow Lovegood's whole world. The land has been passed down through generations of brave, resilient women, and while their offbeat habits may be ridiculed by other townspeople—especially their neighbors, the Abrams family—Sorrow and her family take pride in its odd history.
Then one winter night, an unthinkable tragedy changes everything. In the aftermath, Sorrow is sent to Miami to live with her father, away from the only home she’s ever known.
Now sixteen, Sorrow's memories of her life in Vermont are maddeningly hazy. She returns to the orchard for the summer, determined to learn more about her troubled childhood and the family she left eight years ago. But it soon becomes clear that some of her questions have difficult—even dangerous—answers. And there may be a price to pay for asking.
|Product dimensions:||5.80(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.60(d)|
|Age Range:||14 - 17 Years|
About the Author
Kali Wallace is the author of two novels for teens and many short stories. She studied geology for years but now devotes her time to writing. She lives in Southern California. You can find her at www.kaliwallace.com.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
THE MEMORY TREES follows Sorrow Lovegood as she spends a summer back home in Vermont, unraveling the secrets surrounding her sister’s death eight years before. Every line of this beautiful book deserves to be savored. I was sad to be done because I wanted to spend more time with Sorrow and her fascinating family. There are books where you just know and feel as the reader how capable and confident the author is with every word. This is that kind of book. Each layer of this story is peeled back at just the right moment, creating a richly drawn tapestry of this matriarchy. Its beauty and perfection will inspire you. Highly recommend.
A gorgeous tale of two clannish families in the hills of rural Vermont (wait, is there an urban VT?). Sorrow Lovegood's family has owned the same orchard for generations, passed down the matrilineal line. Eight years ago, her older sister, Patience died tragically in a fire and Sorrow hasn't set foot on the orchard since. Strangely, her memories of the time leading up to and just after her sister's death have are inaccessible. Could a trip to VT be exactly what she needs to get to the bottom of this? In beautiful prose steeped in the rural setting, Wallace crafts a tale of sisters, warring families, family secrets, and more. Moody, magical, marvelous.
I truly was enchanted by this book and I struggled to put it down when everyday life got in the way of reading. I was in love with the character of Sarrow and I empathized with her struggle to try to connect with a mother who seems almost emotionless when it comes to the "taboo" subject of her daughter's tragic death, and with a father that was no more than a stranger to her in her first eight years of life who suddenly becomes interested in not only creating a bond with her, but protecting her from the trauma of memories that may be better left to rest. The stories of the Lovegood's women are incredibly emotional and captivating and the best part is that readers not only get to read about Sarrow, her sister Patience, her mother, and her grandmother, but also all the women that preceded them all the way back to the seventeen hundreds. Whose struggles were even more endearing and hard to believe. Specifically, the story of a mother who went to horrific lengths to end her children's sufferings. This is a great read for not only teenagers, but for middle-aged women such as myself as I believe anyone can relate to at least one women from the Lovegood lineage.
Because I had loved the author's Shallow Graves which debuted last year, I was pretty optimistic about this one. The Memory Trees is written like a mystery with a few supernatural elements. Basically, the story is about two very old families that were present at the first white settlements in the town, and their complicated history throughout that has manifested in a tragedy with Sorrow's generation. The build-up in the book is very slow, and it took me days to just get into it - most of it was about day to day in the town when Sorrow comes back, and her fragile relationship with her maternal family which she is working to restore while trying to remember the events of the night of her sister's death. There are also some flashbacks with some other ancestors to emphasize the life of this family in their town, especially because they are matrilineal and have been since their first ancestor, Rejoice came to live in it. The problem with The Memory Trees is that it gets too lost in the atmosphere and only occasionally returns to the plot to progress it. It is not even about character development - it just feels like it is trying to establish the setting of the book. And for a person like me, who prefers the setting work towards the plot instead of the reverse, I was, in a word, bored. The actual exciting elements did not arrive until, like, the last third of the book, so until then you are just hanging around wondering what happened that night. The story is pretty good, and I loved the details that went into constructing the characters of each era, but it is mostly drifting in the book. Each of the women in the flashbacks faced challenges, primarily because they were women and tied to their family. That is their shared legacy - that they would always be considered witches by the townspeople, and they would always feel a part of their lands. The supernatural element is very subtle and I think it hardly matters to the plot. Eventually, superfluous writing kept me from fully enjoying the story. Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review from Katherine Tegen Books, via Edelweiss.
Going into The Memory Trees, I had high expectations. The majority of the reviews I had seen had been incredibly positive, and the summary made it sound like the sort of book I normally love. I mean, "century-old feud" AND "a mysterious family" legacy?! How can you not be sold by that? The Result? Beautifully written as well as spellbinding, Kali Wallace's The Memory Trees had me captivated from the first word until the very last. One of my favorite aspects of The Memory Tree was the writing. Kali Wallace has such a talent when it comes to words, and boy did it make reading this an utter and complete joy. Not only did she make the Vermont setting come alive but she also fully fleshed out the history of the Lovegoods. Her descriptions of the Lovegood's farm as well as the small-town it was in made me want to pack my bags and head to Vermont. Seriously. Additionally, I enjoyed how Kali split the story between Sorrow's POV (past and present) as well as the variety of other Lovegood women who have called the Lovegood farm home. It truly managed to get across how important this farm was to this family while also bringing to the light the many positives and negatives that have come from it over the years. If there's one family with horrible luck, it's the Lovegoods. My heart ACHED for them all the whole time I read this. Talking about Sorrow, I liked her from the start. When we're first introduced to her she's feeling lost. She wants to be able to move on from her sister's untimely passing, but she also can't do that until she remembers what exactly happened that day as well as the days leading up to it. I thought Kali did a great job of capturing Sorrow's voice. Her coming-of-age felt incredibly real given the circumstances. Additionally, with it came such a wide range questions to make the reader thing, such as what does family mean and how far would you go to "keep" the land that made your family who they are today. As mentioned above, the Lovegoods have had quite the history, and Sorrow isn't always quite sure how she fits in, especially given the fact that she was gone for so long...It was interesting to see what came from those feelings of uncertainty. The plot of The Memory Trees described in one word? Magical. It's hard to really describe the plot without giving too much away; however, I will say that if you love a good feud and a rich family history, you're going to eat this one right up! Trust me when I say it's GOOD. In all, The Memory Trees is a beautifully told story. Kali's writing and story building is like eating a box of chocolate - rich, smooth, and fully satisfying. However, the true advantage here is there's no calories to be found. ;) Grade: A
This book is exquisite—and often times painfully so. Wallace is a masterful storyteller who reveals the secrets of Sorrow’s past with mesmerizing acuity. In truth this is a really difficult review to write because I don’t feel like The Memory Trees was a book at all. Rather, it was an experience—one I lived and breathed—and it shook me so viscerally that it’s hard to step away to reflect on it here. But I want EVERYONE to read it so I’ll say a few things that rocked my world: There are women in this book. Lots of beautiful, enduring women who carve their own fate. There are women who love women and women who love men. Women who love daughters and daughters who try to protect that love at any cost. And these women live and love upon a fertile patch of Vermont land where the very past vibrates in the soil as the orchard moans, mourns and loves. Sorrow Lovegood’s quest to find the truth of her own story—and marry it to the stories of generations of Lovegood women who came before—is beautiful. It is heartbreaking and powerful. Wallace deftly explores really heavy themes in this book: divorce, mental health, death and loss, dysfunctional families, complicated familial relationships, and finding one’s voice. But Wallace also manages to weave such magnificent hope within the story and Sorrow’s quest. Because the orchard is a thrilling, vibrant heartbeat of love and life and loss; the trees pay attention to the rhythms of love in all the ways that humans should pay attention to this magnificent force. Wallace’s sophomore novel is brilliant. Wallace is capable and confident in her rich prose and her resilient, brilliant female characters reminded me of the richly drawn women brought to us by authors such as Alice Walker, Margaret Atwood, Isabel Allende. This book has my whole heart. I recommend this book for teens, but also for adults. It is a stunning powerhouse of a book. It is timeless. It is beautiful. It is a gift.