Review: Family Tree by Susan Wiggs

Posted on September 10, 2016 by Nadene @ Totally Addicted to Reading in Reviews / 0 Comments

Review: Family Tree by Susan WiggsTitle: Family Tree
Author(s): Susan Wiggs
Published by William Morrow Paperbacks on July 28, 2016
Genre(s): Women's Fiction
Source: Edelweiss
Format: ARC, eBook
Purchase: Amazon|Audible
Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author comes a powerful, emotionally complex story of love, loss, the pain of the past—and the promise of the future.
Sometimes the greatest dream starts with the smallest element. A single cell, joining with another. And then dividing. And just like that, the world changes. Annie Harlow knows how lucky she is. The producer of a popular television cooking show, she loves her handsome husband and the beautiful Los Angeles home they share. And now, she’s pregnant with their first child. But in an instant, her life is shattered. And when Annie awakes from a yearlong coma, she discovers that time isn’t the only thing she’s lost.
Grieving and wounded, Annie retreats to her old family home in Switchback, Vermont, a maple farm generations old. There, surrounded by her free-spirited brother, their divorced mother, and four young nieces and nephews, Annie slowly emerges into a world she left behind years ago: the town where she grew up, the people she knew before, the high-school boyfriend turned judge. And with the discovery of a cookbook her grandmother wrote in the distant past, Annie unearths an age-old mystery that might prove the salvation of the family farm.
Family Tree is the story of one woman’s triumph over betrayal, and how she eventually comes to terms with her past. It is the story of joys unrealized and opportunities regained. Complex, clear-eyed and big-hearted, funny, sad, and wise, it is a novel to cherish and to remember. 

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From the moment we are born, we are faced with risks and opportunities. As we mature, we have dreams about the life we would want to live and so we begin to make plans. However, as time progresses we come to realise that at times things don’t generally go the way we planned. Nevertheless, no matter the outcome, there is a lesson to be learnt. “Life is a Circle’ We always end up where we started.

We may find ourselves being diverted from our goals by what we consider to be roadblocks. These generally come in the form of distractions, loss, and mistakes. However, as we try to push past these blocks we will come to realise that they had a purpose in our journey through life. These blocks were placed to teach us a valuable lesson. What we choose to do with this knowledge will determine the type of person we become in the end. I believe that it is on this premise that Family Tree by Susan Wiggs is based on.

Family Tree tells the story of Annie Rush a big-time producer of the cooking show “The Key Ingredient”. Her husband, Martin Harlow was the celebrity chef on the show. Annie appeared to be happy and this happiness would increase exponentially when she found that one her biggest wish had been granted. She rushed to tell her husband the good news but little did she know that her life was about to change in a way she never for a moment could imagine. Fast forward one year later, Annie is awaking from a coma. At this point, she has come to realise that everything she has worked for was gone in the twinkling of an eye.

The story moved slowly, but in a good way. It’s a story of rebirth, healing, family and love. I found the characters relatable. The story had a realistic feel and for a time I forgot I was reading fiction. It moved seamlessly between the past and the present. This allowed me to have an understanding of how Annie’s life unfolded between her teen and adult years. I learnt that she was bold, warmhearted, determined, goal-oriented, hard-working, strong and feisty. When she loves, she does so fiercely. I saw how much she loved her family. I loved how she was determined to follow her dream, but what I didn’t love was the fact that she was willing to sacrifice love to achieve this. By the time she realised how wrong, she was, it was too late. However, fate would step in and offer her a second chance. Will she seize this newfound opportunity?

I found this to be a compelling and inspirational read. It is a stark reminder that life can be uncertain and it doesn’t often go has planned. Nevertheless, there is always hope, and when we choose to rise above the obstacles we open the door to something brighter and better.

This is my first Susan Wiggs book and I will be looking to read more of her work.

About Susan Wiggs

Susan Wiggs’s life is all about family, friends…and fiction. She lives at the water’s edge on an island in Puget Sound, and she commutes to her writers’ group in a 17-foot motorboat. She serves as author liaison for Field’s End, a literary community on Bainbridge Island, Washington, bringing inspiration and instruction from the world’s top authors to her seaside community. (See She’s been featured in the national media, including NPR’s “Talk of the Nation,” and is a popular speaker locally and nationally.

According to Publishers Weekly, Wiggs writes with “refreshingly honest emotion,” and the Salem Statesman Journal adds that she is “one of our best observers of stories of the heart [who] knows how to capture emotion on virtually every page of every book.” Booklist characterizes her books as “real and true and unforgettable.” She is the recipient of three RITA (sm) awards and four starred reviews from Publishers Weekly for her books. The Winter Lodge and Passing Through Paradise have appeared on PW’s annual “Best Of” lists. Several of her books have been listed as top Booksense picks and optioned as feature films. Her novels have been translated into more than two dozen languages and have made national bestseller lists, including the USA Today, Washington Post and New York Times lists.

The author is a former teacher, a Harvard graduate, an avid hiker, an amateur photographer, a good skier and terrible golfer, yet her favorite form of exercise is curling up with a good book.

Nadene @ Totally Addicted to Reading
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