Book Review & Winner

Thank you again to everyone who entered my giveaway for Naseem Rakha’s book, The Crying Tree. It’s a wonderful story (more on that in a minute) and I just wish I had more books to give away. And, the winner is (thanks to … drumroll please….

Aimee from My Fluttering Heart! Please send me your snail mail Aimee and I’ll get this book out to you.

Now for the review:


On a farm in Southern Illinois, Irene Stanley, her husband and children seem to have an nice, contented life. They are surrounded by family and friends and have a real sense of belonging to their community but one day, Irene’s husband, Nate, announces that there’s a great career opportunity for him in Blaine, Oregon.

Irene and the children don’t want to move but Nate insists that this will be a good chance, especially for Shep, who’s more of a gentle soul, to get out there in nature and start afresh. Reluctantly, Irene and the kids pack up and try to make the best of things in a place that’s not familiar and lacks everything they were used to. Finally, just as everyone is getting settled into a new routine, a tragedy occurs. Fifteen-year-old Shep has been brutally murdered in their own home.

The family is broken apart by the senseless tragedy. Irene burns with hatred for the man, Daniel Robbin, who did this and wants him to pay. Her husband retreats into himself and their daughter feels like she’s lost both of her parents. Over time the family does move back to Illinois and quietly falls apart until one day, Irene decides she’s had enough of hatred and sends a letter to Daniel, who is now sitting on death row.

What happens next is a shocking course of events that will put to test all of the family yet again as Irene’s one letter turns into years of correspondence with Daniel. For the reader this is a story that makes you think about what would you do? You can’t imagine unless you’ve been in a similar situation and so it is fascinating to read about what each character goes through.

Author Rakha’s writing captures the beauty and brutality of the land and of human emotions. Most importantly I think she manages to explore a controversial subject matter and in no way does the book sound preachy but instead comes across as a guide to understanding.

I haven’t even mentioned some of the other major characters in the book but I think you get the picture that this was a wonderful debut novel. And, I think no matter what side you stand on the capital punishment issue this is a book that will help every reader think about how capital punishment doesn’t just affect one person but everyone.

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  11. September 19, 2009