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

4 out of 5 stars 254 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

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.

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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: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (254 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #99,136 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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 vocation you are already in love with.

I'm happy and humbled to say that I've had 17 books published in the last dozen years, including The Shape of Mercy, which was named one of the 100 Best Books in 2008 by Publishers Weekly, and the ECPA's Fiction Book of the Year, a Carol Award winner, and a RITA finalist. I teach at writers' conferences from time to time and I've a background in community journalism.

I'm also a pastor's wife and a mother of four young adults. When I'm not at work on a new novel, I write small group curriculum for my San Diego church. Visit me at my website: http//:susanmeissner.com on Twitter at @SusanMeissner or at www.facebook.com/susan.meissner

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
There are as many reasons for selecting a book as there are readers. I had two reasons for selecting "A Sound Among the Trees": 1. I am very interested in the American Civil War, and, 2. slightly over a decade ago, I lived for 18 months in Fredericksburg, Virginia, the setting of this novel. Perhaps that is why I was more disappointed than thrilled with the over-all quality of the book, which gave short shrift to the war, and Fredericksburg, until the last 100 or so pages of the book. The majority of the book was concerned with contemporary characters, who for the most part I found flat and boring. The central "mysteries" of the novel (was the house of Holly Oaks haunted and had Susannah Page been a Union spy) were easily "solved" by this reader long before the book ended.

One of the dangers of setting a book in an actual town, or city, is the possibility of disappointing the readers who are familiar with that locale. Except for the 100 pages of the book actually set during the battles of Fredericksburg, Susan Meissner could have set the book in any southern town, there was so little to evoke the charm and atmosphere of the real Fredericksburg. Just mentioning the name of a popular place to get wonderful ice cream was not enough to convince me that Ms Meissner spent much time in the locale that she selected for her book. The book did not really come alive for me until the "letters" of Susannah Page recreated the city under attack by Union forces -- having lived near houses that survived the shelling and attending a church with bullet holes in the walls, I have researched the accounts and the author did an excellent job of conveying the horror and misery of the civilian population at the time.
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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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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Although Susan Meissner's "A Sound Among the Wind" is billed as a ghost story and touted by supernatural romance novelist Susanna Kearsley as a book where her "eyes welled up more than once," this reviewer doubts that the premise, character development and overall resolution will be satisfying enough to provide enthusiastically-received entertainment that forces the heart to pound or extracts any visceral emotion.

For the most part, "A Sound Among the Wind" doesn't try hard enough to connect the interrelationships between its people into a puzzle worth solving. Adelaide, the aging matriarch of Holly Oaks, a Fredericksburg estate that survived the ravaging of Union troops during the Civil War, inhabits the book's center stage. Still grieving for her granddaughter, she must make room in her heart and her home for the new wife of her grandson-in-law. Despite her best intentions, she feels piqued by this onslaught of new life usurping her granddaughter's place within the rather insular confines of her family mansion. Meissner attempts to underline Adelaide's pain and provides the proper mixture of grand dame, Junior Leaguer and conformist determined to keep all things Holly Oaks traditionally perfect and private with an almost sanctimonious aversion to discussion or revelation. However, in order to understand Adelaide, rejoice in her eventual epiphany, and feel that the resolution satisfies and puts all ghosts to rest, Meissner needs to abandon the very attribute that her character Adelaide personifies so well--that of over-protecting her turf with that repressed silence. Meissner expects her readers to embrace the story's solution with the enthusiasm of an enlightenment that never is achieved.
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