author: H.R. Mason
published: 1 October 2022
publisher: Tangled Tree Publishing
genre(s): fantasy, paranormal, suspense
buy/shelve it: Amazon | B&N | BookBub | BookHype | Goodreads
The Remembering Tree Never Forgets.
Still trying to pick up the pieces after the sudden death of her husband, Gemma Clayborn takes her fifteen-year-old daughter, Opal, and heads for Beacon Shores, a tiny coastal town in the state of Washington. Her daughter is angry at the world, and Gemma is simply trying to survive. She plans to restore Moonstone House, the ancestral estate left to her by her grandmother.
When Gemma arrives in Beacon Shores, Moonstone House immediately captures her heart. She remembers spending summers there as a child, back before her mother decided they could never go there again. Eric Johnson, the contractor restoring the home, piques Gemma’s interest as well. She feels a strange connection to him, almost as if they already know one another.
What intrigues Gemma the most, however, is the strange and beautiful redbud tree in the front yard. The tree seems to know things, whispering to her, urging her to uncover the secrets of the past. The discovery of an old journal leads Gemma down the rabbit hole, into the pages of her great-great-grandmother’s life, one that eerily parallels her own. She begins to unravel the story of the women in her family, a history she could have never imagined.
Will Gemma figure out the secrets of Moonstone House before it’s too late? Or are some things better left buried in the pages of the journal?
a few notes
cover notes: eye-catching, beautiful
keywords/phrases: Braucherei, mystery, family
mood reading: in the mood for folk traditional magic, suspense
bonus points: the Braucherei lore, the family history
anti-bonus points: the instalove
The story centers around Gemma and her daughter Opal, who have been left reeling after the death of Gemma’s husband, Opal’s father. Life has been hard for both of them, and finally Gemma decides that they need a fresh start. So they leave Seattle to move to Beacon Shore where Gemma’s grandmother once lived in Moonstone House, the family home that Gemma inherited. It’s a place full of memories for Gemma, who visited in the summers when she was young. But it’s been years since she’s seen it, after her own mother suddenly stopped allowing the visits. Being back has revived more memories, including the redbud tree in the yard. There is something about it that inspires to dive into the history of her family’s past, leading her to discover an old journal. That leads her down a path, unraveling the story of the women in her family, secrets and history she never imagined. She draws Eric, the local contractor who’s helping her restore the House, into the story, his knowledge of the town’s history helping her fill in the blanks. But are the secrets and history better left forgotten? They might be, when an old fued is revived, putting both Gemma and Opal in danger.
I love a generational story, the gothic flavor of secrets and history. The weaving of family history with the present generation is so engrossing, especially with the Braucherei part of the story. The way that history affected both Gemma’s and Opal’s present was often emotional, and it kept me turning the pages. And the story is very emotional sometimes, as they both were struggling to find a new normal, and happiness, after losing someone they both loved. There was a lot of push and pull between them, and within themselves, that felt very real.
I enjoyed the Braucherei folklore, which was something I’d never heard of before. It was well researched and explained without turning it into a lecture. It was fascinating, and it added such a unique layer to the story. I also enjoyed the past and present stories of Gemma and her family. There were a lot of twists and turns there that kept me turning the pages.
This is likely a me thing. I just don’t love instalove. It wasn’t the connection between Gemma and Eric that bothered me. That was organic to the story and the history around it, so it made sense. The love aspect, the finishing each other’s sentence right from the beginning… it was just a lot for me.
Overall, I really did enjoy this book. It’s my first read by this author and I would definitely read more by her. Very well done. I’m so glad she took her time writing this story.
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