Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Book Shelf: The Suffering Tree by Elle Cosimano

“It’s dark magic brings him back.”

Tori Burns and her family left D.C. for claustrophobic Chaptico, Maryland, after suddenly inheriting a house under mysterious circumstances. That inheritance puts her at odds with the entire town, especially Jesse Slaughter and his family—it’s their generations-old land the Burns have “stolen.” But none of that seems to matter after Tori witnesses a young man claw his way out of a grave under the gnarled oak in her new backyard.

Nathaniel Bishop may not understand what brought him back, but it’s clear to Tori that he hates the Slaughters for what they did to him centuries ago. Wary yet drawn to him by a shared sense of loss, she gives him shelter. But in the wake of his arrival comes a string of troubling events—including the disappearance of Jesse Slaughter’s cousin—that seem to point back to Nathaniel.

As Tori digs for the truth—and slowly begins to fall for Nathaniel—she uncovers something much darker in the tangled branches of the Slaughter family tree. In order to break the centuries-old curse that binds Nathaniel there and discover the true nature of her inheritance, Tori must unravel the Slaughter family’s oldest and most guarded secrets. But the Slaughters want to keep them buried… at any cost.

From award-winning author Elle Cosimano comes a haunting, atmospheric thriller perfect to hand to readers of the Mara Dyer trilogy and Bone Gap.

More info on Goodreads.....


The Suffering Tree by Elle Cosimano is a highly engaging and deeply entertaining novel that wonderfully mingles haunting supernatural elements with important themes, historical mystery and budding romance. 

Victoria “Tori” Burns has just moved with her family to the small town of Chaptico, Maryland after surprisingly inheriting a house from a complete stranger under mysterious circumstances. Though the Burns are hoping for a fresh start after a hard year, Chaptico is a close knit town and the Burns find themselves outsiders, especially with the Slaughter family adamant that the Burns have no right to the land and home they occupy. Brimming with influence in Chaptico, they’re adamant that the land rightfully belongs to the Slaughter’s. Depressed and alone, everything begins to change when Tori witnesses a young man literally claw his way out of the ground from under a tree in the graveyard in her new backyard. Nathaniel Bishop doesn’t know what brought him back to the land of the living centuries after his harrowing life came to a brutal end, but when it becomes clear that Nathaniel’s past is connected to Tori’s present, only by discovering what connects Tori to the Slaughters will Tori and Nathaniel be able to stop the curse that is overshadowing the Slaughter people and save innocent lives from being lost. 

Having recently finished The Suffering Tree, I’m surprised to see all the negative responses to the novel, as I personally found myself enjoying it from the moment I began reading. As far as I’m concerned, Elle Cosimano has detailed a wonderfully woven story that mixes history with entertainment and hints of the supernatural, as well as strong themes including self-harm and the abuse and treatment of slaves and servants during the Plantation era. As far as I’m concerned, it was a good blend and was well executed. 

Supernatural to a part, The Suffering Tree features a very beautiful atmospheric and haunting feel reminiscent of ghostly tales as it bridges the gap between past and present. Unfolding through Tori’s eyes and Nathanial’s memories of his time as an indentured servant, The Suffering Tree is true to its name as we witness the horror of both Tori’s and Nathanial’s life. Tori’s experiences with self-harm is a large part of the story and will make you feel for her; this girl that feels like she doesn’t belong. 

There a small hint of romance within The Suffering Tree, but don’t expect it to be such a large feature as Tori and Nathanial’s relationship if often only a backdrop to the supernatural and human dangers within Tori’s life. That being said, I thought they were sweet and I really enjoyed how Nathanial’s past with Emmeline was interwoven with who Tori was.  

If I’m being picky, I only had two issues with this novel, one being that I felt Tori was a bit too quick to accept Nathanial. I mean the guy clawed his way out of the ground and next thing you know she’s hiding him in her barn, and the second thing was that I don’t think Tori’s issues with self-harm were correctly addressed. Yes, Cosimano gives us closure with this issue at the end of the story as we learn Tori has plans to begin to heal, but seeing how large an issue it is, I feel like Cosimano should maybe have expanded on this resolution a little bit more. But that’s just me, I guess. 

Haunting, but really entertaining, The Suffering Tree encompassed it all for and had all the fixtures I look for in a unique supernatural YA that dares to offer us something different. I’ll definitely read more by Elle Cosimano in the future and look forward to seeing what she releases next. 

Sent for review by publisher via Netgalley (Thank you guys!)
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion      
Format: Kindle ebook via Netgalley

Release Date: June 13th 2017
Bookworld | Booktopia | The Book Depository | Amazon
Final Thoughts:
A mysterious, supernatural tale, definitely worth a read.

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