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Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Learn from the past to save your future... THE GHOST TREE by Barbara Erskine

Hi there!
Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.

Today, we're celebrating the latest release from author Barbara Erskine via Harper 360.  It's a work of Historical Fiction that blends a little of the author's actual family tree with a heavy dash of fantastical bits, and a whole lot of ghostly influence.  It's my first time reading this author's work, and while the reviews I read were skewed making it not seem like the ideal choice to get your feet wet with (so to speak), I did find it oddly CURIOUS, fairly HAIR RAISING, and most definitely in possession (purposely chosen words there) of a REMARKABLE ending.  So, if I've peaked your interest, read on, my on!  Today's title in the spotlight and book of choice is...

Barbara Erskine
Harper 360

About the book...
Before you follow the path into your family’s history, beware of the secrets you may find…

The new novel from the Sunday Times bestselling author.

Ruth has returned to Edinburgh after many years of exile, left rootless by the end of her marriage, career and now the death of her father. She is now faced with the daunting task of clearing his house.

Hidden away in a barely used top-floor room, she finds he had secretly kept a cupboard full of her mother’s possessions. Sifting through the ancient papers, Ruth discovers the diary and letters written by her ancestor from the eighteenth century, Thomas Erskine.

As the youngest son of a noble family now living in genteel poverty, Thomas always knew he would have to make his own way in the world. Unable to follow his brothers to university, instead he joins the navy, rising through the ranks, travelling the world. When he is finally able to study law, his extraordinary experiences and abilities propel him to the very top and he becomes Lord Chancellor. Yet he has made a powerful enemy on his voyages, who will hound him and his family to the death.

Ruth becomes ever more aware of Thomas as she is gripped by his story, and slowly senses that not only is his presence with her, but so is his enemy’s. Ruth will have to draw upon new friends and old in what becomes a battle for her very survival – and discover an inner power beyond anything she has imagined.

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Once upon a time, there was a woman who had just lost her last living link to her family history, and while disturbing and heartbreaking to say the least, that was just the beginning of her troubles.  You see there are always those looking for the easy way out in this world, and unfortunately for Ruth, one of those ne'er-do-wells might have attached themselves to her dearly departed father.  Okay, so perhaps "dearly" is a stretch as they hadn't been in touch very recently, but departed is for certain, and the lingering Timothy (her father's last acquaintance?  friend?  something other?) is to say the least...unsettling.  Oh, but that's not the end of the unsettling things I did mention her father was her last LIVING link? 

Quick cast of characters assembled...we have Ruth and her friends...Harriett, Finlay, Malcolm, and an assortment of kind souls...then there's Timothy the rodent/scoundrel/potential brother (*snort*), April the rodent's definite sister, and we must not forget our shades of the past, Thomas Erskine and (just maybe) Andrew Farquhar...the GHOSTS!  The story is written both in past and present times, allowing us to visit between the two simultaneously, and letting Thomas truly have a voice in the here and now.  I found it rather interesting how Ruth and Thomas interacted, and how drawn into the "dialogues" with him she would become.  The world around truly ceased to exist for a spell, and while fascinating, it was also dangerous what with Thomas's past still clinging to him like a fatal disease.  The lengths to which that darkness would go to get the revenge he sought were the creepiest and messed up sense of the word possible.  Can you imagine holding on to some past hurt to the degree that you are continually dragged through time virtually unable (and unwilling) to be sated?  Yeah, it was that bad...and the atrocities committed in the past were just a sampling of what he was able to do with a willing or unprotected soul in the present.  ~shudders~

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In the end, it was definitely a LONG one...though size doesn't truly matter when it comes to a novel -- it's the writing and the story itself that count...but a page-turner nonetheless.  Now, there are a few dry bits, but when put into perspective, they are to build the history; nothing more nothing less.  I mean, one can't truly move forward without knowing where you've been, right?  So yes, I did indeed enjoy most of my time between the pages, straight through to the exhilarating end.  It really reminds us that we in some sense ultimately give people the power they have over us, and that there is real freedom in letting go.  If you like a bit of mystery, a helping of history, and a hearty touch of the paranormal in your reading, this one is most definitely for you!

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About the author...

An historian by training, Barbara Erskine is the author of six bestselling novels that demonstrate her interest in both history and the supernatural, plus two collections of short stories. Her books have appeared in at least twenty different languages. She lives with her family in an ancient manor house near Colchester, and in a cottage near Hay-on-Wye.

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Special thanks to Meredith at Harper 360 for the ARC for review.  (THANKS!)  For more information on this title, the author, or the publisher, feel free to click through the links provided above.  This title celebrated its US Paperback release just yesterday , so be on the lookout for it on a bookstore shelf or virtual retailer of your choosing.

Until next time, remember...if it looks good, READ IT!

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