The Qualities of Wood

The Qualities of Wood

by Mary Vensel White

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780007469505
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 01/31/2012
Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 320
File size: 418 KB

About the Author

Mary Vensel White was born in Los Angeles and raised in Lancaster, California. She graduated from the University of Denver and lived for five years in Chicago, where she completed an MA in English at DePaul University. Her short fiction has appeared in The Wisconsin Review and Foothills Literary Journal. The Qualities of Wood is her first novel.

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The Qualities of Wood 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
StaceyDonaldson More than 1 year ago
Vivian Gardiner is a city girl at heart. When Vivian and her husband Nowell headed out to the sticks to clean up his grandparent’s home, she knew the country would take some getting used to. But when a young girl is found dead in the woods (practically in their own backyard), Vivian's instincts immediately perk up and she begins to notice everything and everyone around her. The Qualities of Wood took me completely by surprise. While the cornerstone of the story is the death of a young girl, I felt like the real story was about relationships. It's about what happens when words are left unsaid and secrets remain hidden. Everything in the dark comes to the light, but what if the people who made the cause are not there to make amends? Mary Vensel White's writing is very fluid. She understands that depth of human emotion and the complexities that can only be found when love is present. I really enjoyed this novel and you will too.
TboneJenkins More than 1 year ago
I got this thinking it was a literary novel. It tries to be, but it wants to be more a mystery novel. It doesn’t do so well on that either. The “secrets” that are hinted at don’t amount to much. There were some good secrets that could’ve been worth chasing: why doesn’t the town acknowledge its Indian heritage? What was up with the gun? Why, indeed, was Chanelle’s arms at her sides when she died? There were so many secrets and ‘mysteries’, but the it was as if the author was afraid to poke deeper at the many plot ideas she had, so she threw a whole bunch in together. It made for a book where we look at things from a distance, but not really getting to the meat of things. Minute details bogged the story down to a crawl. The author had to describe every little action that had no bearing on the plot whatsover. I found myself flipping pages more than reading them. The only time the book came alive was during Nowell and Lonnie’s arguments. In fact, probably the most fleshed out character was Lonnie, mainly because he was the main person to actually rile up the characters. Vivian through the plot in a clueless daze, or through dull flashbacks most of the time, and when she did do something proactive, usually when drunk, her actions made little sense. Katherine ‘clackety bracelet’ demeanor irritated me to the point I was skipping most of the scenes she was in. Nowell whined about his book and mainly hid a lot. Mr. Stokes was set up as a ‘mysterious stranger’, but even he felt distanced. Most of what we learn of him is through hearsay. Vivian’s interactions with him felt too timid. I guess I was hoping the book would live up to its title, which I’m still trying to figure out why it’s named “The Qualities of Wood.” I wanted more, which I got through mundane detail, but not enough to satisfy or care about the resolving of secrets.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book read well and I kept plugging along to get to the ending. However, the ending was so disappointing I wish I hadn't read the book. It leads you along to believe one thing, and then when you get there it's a very lame ending.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book wasn't great but it wasn't horrible either. This is the type of book that would be perfect for a book club....you could argue a lot about events in this story...probably because the author doesn't tie up everything. Jms
Chrissy_W More than 1 year ago
Great for book clubs. Did I enjoy this book: Yes, very much. Mary Vensel White is to literature what Norah Jones is to music – subtle, haunting, and engaging. The Qualities of Wood is a murder mystery without car crashes, gunshots, or ballistics experts. It’s more psychological and creepy. About half way through the book, there’s an exchange between our main character, Vivian, and the dead girl’s mother, Kitty. “The thing is, you looked like her, like my Chanelle.” It sent chills down my arms because that was the moment when I realized this mystery just got way more complicated. I won’t say anymore about the ending. I enjoyed it. It’s not a quick, easy read so be aware. You’ll need a quiet place to concentrate if you’re going to really get into this storyline. Would I recommend it:  Absolutely. This would be a good book group novel for sure. As reviewed by Belinda at Every Free Chance Book Reviews. I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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MissBethBC More than 1 year ago
  The Characters were strong in their own right and no one was who they seemed to the main character Vivian.    I felt that she had big city paranoia.   She felt that Abe Stokes flirted with her.   She was annoyed when a road construction worker, looked at her legs and figure.  There was a page or two alluding to an incident with her brother in law, Lonnie.   Although these things were mentioned in the book, they played no part in the story.   The story started out rather slow but after the first hundred pages, the story began to flow faster.   The story was indeed interesting and there was a mystery of sorts, although the death of a neighboring teenager was ruled accidental.    Vensel White kept suspense going as the story came to fruition.  It seemed everyone had a suspicion of something more being behind the girl's death and in the end, I couldn't have accepted a villain if there had really been one.  There really wasn't much that I can say I didn't like;  the way the story was revealed to the reader kept me wondering what the secrets were and how they played a part in the "accidental" death.   I was able to accept the ending revelations with very little problem.