Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Review: Katherine Allred's "The sweet Gumtree."

Review: Katherine Allred's "The sweet Gumtree."

Amazon UK:


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.

Review: Surj Harvey

"The Sweet Gum Tree" is one of those books that had been sat (unread) on my kindle for forever and I can only apologise profusely for that because this turned out to be one of the most beautiful, heart rendering, touching stories I have ever read. In fact I would go as far as to say it is up there amongst my all time favourites. I was consumed by this book, so much so that the rest of the world ceased to exist. And when I was forced (yes forced) to put it down, all I could think about was the characters, the story line and even the beautiful, idillic setting that put me right in to middle of all that unravelled. I was there, living and breathing all this book had to offer, feeling every ounce of happiness and sorrow, joy and heart break the characters went through. 

I had found the hidden closet in our lives and dragged the skeletons into the
bright light of day. We could never put them back again. 

This book reminded me of some of my all time favourite movies... there was a bit of "My Girl" in there plus "Steel Magnolia's" and even "The Notebook" and "The Curious case of Benjamin Button." Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying there were parts of those films in this book. What I mean is all those feelings and emotions that I went through when watching those movies I experienced as I read "The Sweet Gum Tree" and I think that was mainly because of the way this story was written. Told retrospectively, it was like Alix was talking to me (friend to friend) telling me about her journey to finding her happily ever after. She was frank, honest and left no stone unturned as she told me of the trials and tribulations she'd faced, the sacrifices that were made in the name of love and all the curve balls that fate threw her way to test her to her very limit. From the curious and very much mischievous 8 year child who made it her mission to save a boy from the wrong side of the tracks, to the teenager who had a perfect future all mapped out, to the woman who lost it all, her story really was unputdownable. 

She was a naive child who thought love could solve everything, who believed in happily
ever after endings, and that justice and honour would always win out. She believed in
the integrity of others and never questioned their motives. She didn't stand a chance. 

Each and every character I was introduced to played a pivotal role in the journey Alix would take. Some I absolutely adored including the Judge who I will always hold a soft spot for and of course Nick who just stole my heart. As a child and teenager, I desperately wanted to protect Nick from the ugliness of the world but fast forward a good few years and all grown up, Nick really was something else. He was the perfect man who would stop at nothing to right the wrongs of his past. Honestly, I quite happily handed my heart to him on a platter and his character is one that will remain with me for a long time. 

"No one should go through life with only half a heart," he whispered. 

If "The Sweet Gum Tree" is sat on your kindle, I cannot beg you enough to read it. This was everything I expect from a book yet so much more. From the story line to the characters, to the setting to the writing... everything about "The Sweet Gum Tree" was captivating, addictive, overwhelming, moving and simply perfect. Go and experience this book for yourself. It will be worth every single second you spend reading it, I promise. 

I rated it ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

He always was someone. Because the core of the sweet gum tree never changes. 
Like Nick, the deep red wood stays true to its nature. Strong, and steady and pure.

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