Pages: 368 pgs
Genre: Romance, Mystery, Fantasy
Challenges-Read’n’Review Challenge, 100+ Reading Challenge
Summary (from Publisher):Echo O'Connell knows that the summer holds its secrets. They are whispered in the rustling trees, in the lush scent of the lilacs, in the flurry of the mayflies batting against the screen door, and in the restless spirits that seem to clamor in the scant breezes on hot evenings. It is in summer that she returns home to Canandaigua, to confront these spirits, both living and not, and to share a secret with her first love, Grant Shongo—a secret that will forever change the lives of many people in the town and put to rest the mysterious disappearance of a little boy more than a decade earlier.
Grant, a descendant of the Seneca Indians who call this place "The Chosen Spot," has also come back to face his past. After a broken marriage, he has moved into his childhood home, a lake house that has withstood happiness and tragedy. He knows the spirits of the past must be dealt with—that of the little boy who disappeared all those years ago; the boy's sister, who never overcame the loss; and the love Grant still has for Echo. But before the healing must come the forgiveness. . . .
My Review:I would have had this review up late last night but I was catching up on sleep missed after a long day in a (not very) comfortable hospital waiting room. The one good thing that came out of my day in the waiting room was the fact that I got to read The Language of Trees without distraction and in the quiet. The Language of Trees owned me from the start in a way that most books don’t. I forgot where I was when I was reading (maybe an act of mental self-preservation on my brain’s part).
The character where a huge of why I loved this book so much. Echo and Grant were such fully realized characters even though neither dominates on the point of view front. I sympathized with the both of them. They were both clinging onto the past and their past relationship and it was preventing them from moving forward. I think most of us can identify with that. This was perhaps the best example of how well multiple point of views can be done. Every major player in the novel had a voice but no voice was dominant and every voice was well-defined and easily identifiable.
I am a huge fan of books that can be as complex as they are entertaining. The Language of Trees was definitely complex and entertaining. The combination of romance, mystery and fantasy worked well. I have to admit when I read that there would be an element of magical realism, I was brought back to English 12 and the torturous reading of Like Water For Chocolate which is on the short list for Books To Poke Out Eye To list. But I found, that I really loved how it worked in this book. Ilie Ruby is the real star of this book. With a lesser writer, The Language of Trees would have been a big jumble of good ideas gone really bad but with Ruby’s detail and description everything just becomes that much more amazing.
Of all of the books I have read this summer, I think this one is in my top three. It’s one of those books you pick up again just to enjoy the writing and the language without having to worry about the story. That’s a very rare type of book. I am not used to raving about two books in two weeks so I am a bit shocked with myself but both The Language of Trees and The Book of Unholy Mischief deserved it.