Wednesday, August 10, 2016

ARC Review: Family Tree by Susan Wiggs

Pub. Date:Aug. 9, 2016
Publisher:William Morrow Bks
Length:368 pages

Family Tree is the first women's fiction I have read in a very long time, but I have been wanting to try this author so I thought I would step a little out of my normal genre. I am happy that I did because I was pleasantly surprised by this book.

Anastasia "Annie" Rush grew up in small town Vermont amidst sugar maple farms. Despite her parent's divorce, she had a close knit extended family all residing in the ancestral farmhouse on Rush Mountain and working to produce Sugar Rush maple syrup. With a love of photography and videography, and learning to cook at her Gran's side, Annie aspired to host and produce her own cooking show. However, Annie learned the hard way that attaining her dream wasn't all wine and roses. Waking up from a year long coma, she must work to rehabilitate her body and mind, which includes remembering her husband's betrayal and the loss of her unborn child. While it was difficult at times to watch Annie cope with her new reality, it was also heartening to follow her on the journey of personal growth.

Susan Wiggs does a fabulous job with detail. I really appreciated the depth in which she described the maple syrup industry, the production industry, and even the cooking itself. I even picked up some cooking tips - like how to make the perfect scrambled eggs! I also enjoyed all the secondary characters, particularly Gran Rush and the whole Wyndham family. Thi s book really makes small town life sound appealing. I think I would like living in Switchback, Vermont!

So the story was told in both the past and the present. We start out following Annie in the present where she is producing a cooking show, The Key Ingredient, with her husband, Martin. This transitions into Annie in a coma, then her recovery from same. Interspersed into the present story are flashbacks to Annie's teenage and college years - including a few flashes into the life of Fletcher Wyndham, Annie's first love. I really liked all of the present tense storyline, but I did lose interest a few times in the flashbacks. I also felt like the ending was a bit rushed, particularly the part dealing with Annie's ex-husband. I'm an attorney and even I didn't quite understand the settlement that Fletcher worked out. So I wish that would have been expounded upon. 

One thing this book did make me realize... I have gotten old! I used to stay away from women's fiction because the heroines tended to be older than me and I just didn't connect with the characters. So I was having a bit of a pity party today when I realized that this heroine was younger than me. When did I become women's fic instead of chick lit? Gah! (::flails::) It may be time for a mid-life crisis. 

I received an advanced copy of this book from William Morrow via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.