My Rating: 3.75 out of 5 stars
Publisher: Disney Book Group
Publish Date: June 13, 2017
Received: Netgalley provided an e-arc in exchange for an honest review
Pre-Order: Book Depository
“It’s dark magic brings him back.”
Tori Burns and her family left D.C. for claustrophobic Chaptico, Maryland, after suddenly inheriting a house under mysterious circumstances. That inheritance puts her at odds with the entire town, especially Jesse Slaughter and his family-it’s their generations-old land the Burns have “stolen.” But none of that seems to matter after Tori witnesses a young man claw his way out of a grave under the gnarled oak in her new backyard.
Nathaniel Bishop may not understand what brought him back, but it’s clear to Tori that he hates the Slaughters for what they did to him centuries ago. Wary yet drawn to him by a shared sense of loss, she gives him shelter. But in the wake of his arrival comes a string of troubling events-including the disappearance of Jesse Slaughter’s cousin-that seem to point back to Nathaniel.
As Tori digs for the truth-and slowly begins to fall for Nathaniel-she uncovers something much darker in the tangled branches of the Slaughter family tree. In order to break the curse that binds Nathaniel there and discover the true nature of her inheritance, Tori must unravel the Slaughter family’s oldest and most guarded secrets. But the Slaughters want to keep them buried at any cost.
*TRIGGER WARNING* Graphic description of Self-Harm
Ohh My Gosh This Book is Fantastic!! Diversity alert!!! LGBT representation as well as the heartbreaking representation of self-harm. I love reading a diverse book without knowing it at first, it’s such a pleasant surprise.
The writing was my favorite part of the whole story and that’s not something I get to say very often. The way Elle describes even the most mundane of things is absolute magic!
I will give a little taste:
Her mother’s wedding band was too loose around her finger since her father’s funeral. She fiddled with it absently, scrutinizing Tori. Her ratty smock hung slack around her too. It was splattered and smeared from work, a brightly colored palette that didn’t entirely manage to hide the hopelessness underneath.
Something about these lines make me want to read them over and over again and I do! I eat it all up and it is glorious.
On a darker note, this book deals with a very difficult subject that I didn’t realize was going to be a part of the book before I started reading it, cutting and self-harm. Early on in the book when the first instance of cutting occurs I was shocked and surprised, it was grotesquely described and was hard for me to read but I couldn’t look away from the page once the scene began.
Cutting is a theme that is deeply woven into this text and for so many people that sort of thing is very triggering and although it does not detract from the novel in any way it is well worth noting here.
Back to the brighter side, I completely and utterly enjoyed every second I lived inside these pages. All the characters were all so real to me, both those in the past and those in present day.
I loved the twists of this novel, both the expected and the unexpected. There were so many moments to love and I am so happy that a lot of them were living in the past. Nathaniel’s past is so painful and raw, but what I loved most was that he never let those moments change the man he is and it made him become such a likeable character for me. Nathaniel is so loveable and protective and in a way that makes me want to protect him and save him from all that happens to him.
Tori constantly breaks my heart in this novel. The way she is hurting and the way she deals with it shows a very broken soul, and there is something in me that makes me want to hold my hand out to her and just be there in hopes to ease some of the pain. All I really want for her is to smile and swim and have fun in life, the things that come her way are insane and I commend her for being able to deal with those things and to deal with them so well.
I also loved the impact her Father had on this story while being dead. Tori’s father was woven so carefully into the pages of this novel and his love felt so strong to me despite his physical absence. Every place in this novel that meantioned Tori’s father either made me want to cry or made me smile or both.
The magic that drove so much of the plot of this novel was also so intriguing to me, and I’m so sad that I feel like I can’t talk much about it here in fear of ruining the experience of it for yourself and so I will leave it alone by saying it was truly mystifying.
This book will engage, haunt, and mystify readers with its very soul. This novel can’t help but prick you at your very core. Imagery, sadness, and the chains of slavery mix to create a dark swirl of a novel that tears at your heart, right to the very end.
Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed this review. Let me know what you think of The Suffering Tree. This novel is one that you must experience for yourself. Let me know your thoughts in the comments.
-Till next time!