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A Sound Among the Trees: A Novel Paperback – October 4, 2011

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 327 pages
  • Publisher: WaterBrook Press; First Edition edition (October 4, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307458857
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307458858
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (230 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #651,680 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Praise for A Sound Among the Trees

"Meissner delivers a delightful page-turner that will surely enthrall readers from beginning to end. The antebellum details, lively characters, and overlapping dramas particularly will excite history buffs and romance fans." - Publishers Weekly, starred review

“In A Sound Among the Trees, author Meissner transports readers to another time and place to weave her lyrical tale of love, loss, forgiveness, and letting go. Her beautifully drawn characters are flawed yet likable, their courage and resilience echoing in the halls of Holly Oak for generations. A surprising conclusion and startling redemption make this book a page-turner, but the setting—the beautiful old Holly Oak and all of its ghosts—is what will seep into the reader’s bones, making A Sound Among the Trees a book you don’t want to put down.’
—Karen White, New York Times best-selling author of The Beach Trees

“My eyes welled up more than once! And I thought it especially fitting that, having already shown us the shape of mercy in a previous novel, Susan Meissner is now showing us the many shapes of love. A Sound Among the Trees is a hauntingly lyrical book that will make you believe a house can indeed have a memory…and maybe a heart. A beautiful story of love, loss, and sacrifice, and of the bonds that connect us through time.”
—Susanna Kearsley, New York Times best-selling author of The Winter Sea

“I have a dozen things to do (like sleep!), but here I huddle through the night, turning pages, mesmerized by yet another Susan Meissner novel. How does Susan create characters that stay with me long after I close the book? How does she transport a reader so easily to a mansion in the South, in this century, bringing one family’s challenge of the Civil War to speak to contemporary times? How does she address the emotions and memories that hold us hostage with such grace? How do her turns of phrase bring tears unbidden to my eyes? I keep reading, knowing I’ll discover a fascinating story and hoping I’ll infuse some of the skill and craft that Susan weaves to make it. A Sound Among the Trees is one more exceptional novel from a world-class storyteller. Jodi Picoult, make room at the top.”
—Jane Kirkpatrick, award-winning author of The Daughter’s Walk

A Sound Among the Trees is another Meissner masterpiece filled with well-shaped characters, a compelling plot, and haunting questions: are our memories reliable enough to grow us, or do we cling to them as an excuse not to live? Meissner stunned me as she skillfully grappled with those mysteries. I left the book resolved to live joyfully in the sacredness of today.”
—Mary DeMuth, author of The Muir House

About the Author

Award-winning writer Susan Meissner is a multi-published author, speaker and workshop leader with a background in community journalism. Her novels include The Shape of Mercy, named by Publishers Weekly as one of the Best Books of 2008. She is a pastor’s wife and a mother of four. When she's not writing, Susan directs the Small Groups and Connection Ministries program at her San Diego church.

More About the Author

I cannot remember a time when I wasn't driven to write. I attribute this passion to a creative God and to parents who love books and more particularly to a dad who majored in English and passed on a passion for writing.

I was born in 1961 in San Diego, California, and am the second of three daughters. I spent my very average childhood in just two houses. I attended Point Loma College in San Diego, majoring in education, but I would have been smarter to major in English with a concentration in writing. The advice I give now to anyone wondering what to major in is follow your heart and choose a career you are passionate about.

I didn't do a lot of writing in the years my husband was on active duty in the Air Force, when we were living overseas, or when we were having children. When my little heirs were finally all in school, though, I became aware of a deep, gnawing desire to write a novel; a desire I managed to ignore for several years.

Finally when I could disregard it no longer, I resigned in 2002 as editor of a small town newspaper, and set out to write my first book, "Why the Sky is Blue." It took four months to write and ten months to be accepted by a publisher. But I was absolutely thrilled to sign with Harvest House Publishers in 2003. I am now working on my sixth novel for Harvest House and it's been a wonderful, thrilling ride.

Customer Reviews

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Koschnitzgirl on November 18, 2011
Format: Paperback
I was beyond excited to get my hands on A Sound Among the Trees. See, I happen to love Susan Meissner. Her previous books, A Seahorse in the Thames, The Shape of Mercy, Lady in Waiting, and Blue Heart Blessed all sit on my bookshelf, kept forever in my collection as stories worth reading again and again. Meissner's writing is beautiful, she paints detailed pictures of her settings, and in the past I've found her characters as deep as breathing people.

With that said I have to admit that if I didn't have to read this book because I promised to review it I would have never finished it, goodness, I wouldn't have gotten past chapter three. I'm usually one of those people who can fly through three hundred pages in 2-3 days, this book began a month long battle of making myself pick it up and finish it.

I believe the main issue falls on the characters. I found myself not liking them, not empathizing with them, and frankly not caring what happened to them.

The story is slow moving and the entire plot ends up being one big red herring.

When I read I want to escape and leave a book feeling uplifted, or in the least, entertained. A Sound Among the Trees is just plain melancholy the whole way through.

Now, about two hundred pages in a packet of letters is found and the story dips into Civil War times. What would have been an amazing book would have been Susannah's story alone. She's the only character I felt a bond to and any desire to champion. I loved the hundred or so pages devoted to her story, but remember if I hadn't had to read the book I would have never even gotten to Susannah's portion.

I'm pretty bummed, I think this is the first bad review I've ever given but I can't honestly say I'd tell any of my friends to read this book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Beth(bookaholicmom) VINE VOICE on September 29, 2011
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This was a different book than I was expecting. For some reason I was thinking it was going to be about a home that was haunted by a past relative. It is more a story of a home and family that is haunted by the past.

The book starts out with Marielle Bishop moving into the home of her new husband's deceased wife, Sara's family, where Adelaide, the matriarch of the family still resides. Sara was raised by Adelaide, who is her grandmother. Now doesn't that grab your attention? Right away, I thought Marielle was a special woman. I can't think of many women who would move in with the family of the former spouse's family.

Holly Oak, the antebellum house they live in is grand and has housed many generations. Some believe the home to be haunted by the ghost of Susannah Page who is thought by many to have been a Civil War traitor or spy. All is not what it seems.

This book is not a true ghost story but more the story of a family stuck in the past. There seems to be troubles with each generation of women who have resided in the home. All these women are very strong but yet vulnerable. Their stories are pretty involved but it all comes together in the end.

I love when a book includes letters written by the characters. One of my favorite parts of this book is Part 4 where we get to read letters written by Susannah Page. It gives a pretty important glimpse into the Civil War period and how many people did whatever they had to do to survive the war.

This is not a fast paced book. The story evolves slowly but I think that is because it is a very detailed story. The characters are well-developed and have complex issues which add to the story as a whole. It takes awhile to get all their facts out in the open.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Courtney on November 2, 2011
Format: Paperback
A Sound Among the Trees by Susan Meissner is a very unique twist to any book I've read about the Civil War. The story is based off of Holly Oak, the Virginian mansion that survived the destruction of Fredericksburg during the Civil War. Many believe the house is haunted by its previous owner Susannah, who they thought was a traitor to the South because she helped the Union Army. Others believe the mansion is cursed and demands a blood toll from all the women that live there.

Adelaide has always lived in Holly Oak, she has lost most all important to her, including her grand-daughter that she raised, Sarah. Sarah's husband Carson still lives in Holly Oak with his 2 kids and finally after 4 years has decided to remarry. That is when Marielle comes in to the story. She marries Carson and decides to stay with him in Holly Oak despite the rumors the house is haunted.

The best part of this story was that I read it a few days before Halloween so I was really in the mood for a good old haunted house story. However, I'm not sure that I would have enjoyed this book as much if I read it any other time of the year. The mystery sure was unique yet the suspense was just not there. Things didn't move fast enough for me and I wasn't convinced anything spooky was really going on.

My favorite things about this story were the characters. It was easy to fall in love with Marielle and Carson and even the grouchy grandma Adelaide. I can't imagine the confusion Marielle felt living in the house that used to belong to her husband's first wife. Wow!! Marielle was strong and brave and absolutely the most tender-hearted character I've read about in a while! Even though I liked the characters, I lacked connecting to them.
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