Thursday, June 21, 2012

Review: Sweet Gum Tree

Sweet Gum Tree
by Katherine Allred
Published November 1st 2005 by Ellora's Cave   

   Sweet tea, corn bread, and soup beans-everyday fare for eight-year-old Alix French, the precocious darling of a respected southern family. But nothing was ordinary about the day she met ten-year-old Nick Anderson, a boy from the wrong side of town. Armed with only a tin of bee balm and steely determination, Alix treats the raw evidence of a recent beating that mars his back, an act that changes both of their lives forever. Through childhood disasters and teenage woes they cling together as friendship turns to love. The future looks rosy until the fateful night when Frank Anderson, Nick's abusive father, is shot to death in his filthy trailer. Suddenly, Nick is gone-leaving Alix alone, confused and pregnant. For the next fifteen years she wrestles with the pain of Nick's abandonment, a bad marriage, her family and friends. But finally, she's starting to get her life back together. Her divorce is almost final, her business is booming, and she's content if not happy -- until the day she looks up and sees Nick standing across the counter. He's back...and he's not alone. Once again Alix is plunged into turmoil and pain as Nick tries to win her love, something she resists with all her strength. Only one thing might break the protective wall she's built around her emotions-the truth about Frank Anderson's death. But when that truth comes out and those walls crumble, neither Alix nor Nick is prepared for the emotional explosion that could destroy as well as heal.

Rating: 5++++++ stars

You know that quote that went something along the lines of "If there's a book you really want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it"??

W-ell. I might as well scrap any attempt I have made to write that book because Katherine Allred already did it!!! Sweet Gum Tree has just about everything I've ever wanted in a novel! There's emotion, a gripping and captivating storyline, fabulous characters, a fantastic voice, and one heck of a romance! I used to think that I there wasn't any particular romance archetype that appealed to me, but turns out I was wrong! Apparently, the whole childhood-friends-turned-something-more romance angel REALLY appeals to me. 
And Allred portrays one of the best, most heartbreaking, bittersweet, and beautiful romances I've ever read!!! It's like she could see into my head and put onto paper exactly the kind of romance that I would LOVE.

This story takes place over 15-ish years, and I must say, the pacing of the story was impeccable. Normally, when a story takes place over so long in only a couple hundred of pages, it's really hard to get the pacing just right--to know when to include detailed events, and when to give a generalization of the passage of time. Let me tell you: Katherine Allred knew exactly what she was doing when she wrote this book. 

The writing flowed beautifully and effortlessly. I also really liked how the tone of the narration reflected Alix's changing ages--by no means does this mean that the language goes from "baby talk" to inserting big words in every other sentence. The transition is actually super smooth and I didn't even realize it until I thought about it in the end!

The characters were the absolutely spectacular. They were all so realistic and wonderfully flawed and   pretty relatable. Alix's family was hilarious and wondefully written. Aunt Darla and the Judge were two of my favorite characters! 
This should go without saying, but I adored Alix--her perspective, her personality, everything! It was great to see her journey from the 8-year old little girl who set out to save Nick to the woman at the end of the book who had experienced so much and matured as a result. 

And Nick! He was perfect. I mean, he had his fair share of flaws, but that's what made him rather perfect--especially for Alix. He was selfless and protective (but not in a bad way) and utterly swoon-worthy. Really swoon-worthy. Trust me, there were some moments in the book that had me fanning myself!

His and Alix's romance pretty much grabbed my heart and took it on one doozy of an up-and-down roller coaster. And I loved every minute of it! I was laughing and crying and intermittently yelling and rooting for the characters. And swooning! There was a lot of that going on....

As for the huge plot twist in the story--I kind of figured out what the big secret was fairly early on--I didn't think it was a huge mystery or anything, but it definitely wasn't blatantly obvious. Nevertheless, the story was so SO captivating. I. Could. Not. Put. This. Down. 

There's really not enough good things I could say about this book--and it's only with the utmost self-restraint that this review is not pure fangirl babble! I highly highly HIGHLY recommend this book to.... well, everyone

(As an added bonus, this is only a couple of bucks on an ereader!)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks so much for commenting! I read every single one and they always make my day! <3

*Sorry, this is now an awards-free blog as I've already been nominated for them. Thanks for your consideration!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...