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The Paradise Trees by Linda Huber
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The Paradise Trees

by Linda Huber

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"I'm two minds about this book. It was a good thriller. But despite this there were such flaws I cannot ignore them"
read more: http://likeiamfeasting.blogspot.gr/2013/11/paradise-trees-linda-huber.html ( )
  mongoosenamedt | Nov 26, 2013 |
Read on September 19, 2013

While on her way home for a six weeks stay, after not seeing her father since her sixteenth birthday, Alicia is tormented by a little girl's voice in her head, warning her that she is in a dangerous place. Alicia cannot rid herself of the bitter feelings towards her dad, now an elderly, disabled man suffering from a serious stroke and dementia. She has to take care of his body, since his mind has left him as well.

Home was not how she described the place she grew up in, where she was constantly and brutally punished - mentally, physically and emotionally so. Even her beautiful long hair was hacked off her head by a ruthless fundamentalist father who rejected everything interfering with his interpretation of religion and God.

Accompanying her is her eight year old daughter who will meet her grandfather for the first time. Alicia plans to make her little daughter's experience the total opposite of what she had endured.

The nagging young girl in Alicia's head becomes more agitated when she finally arrives at her old address in Lower Banford. The feeling will just not go away that she is in danger. She is also still terribly afraid of her father.

In a fast moving, gripping plot, a tale is born which introduces danger via the voice in Alicia's head. However, a much more real danger (the stranger) is present right from the very beginning of the story, and although Alicia is aware of a menace she cannot pinpoint, but knows is there,she would try to find it in the wrong place and people.

There is an interesting sub-theme in the book. The dominant characters, whom she reaches out to in coping with events, are all men. They represent true cruelty, -kindness, -strength, -weakness, -friendship and -fear. There is no strong women role models in her life. Alicia is confronted with a smorgasbord of emotions ranging from intense hatred to unconditional love. Some of them are unlocked by nightmarish flashbacks and others by new experiences in Lower Banford. It was men who destroyed, stole her childhood, and it will be men who will lead her to healing. They are there to support her when she finally, and almost too late, have to confront the Paradise Trees in the woods.

Another sub theme is the full circle her little daughter will complete for her. Eight-year-old Jenny will be the happy little girl, playing with the dog named Conker, the cats, and her toys in the woods, making friends, that Alicia was denied by both her parents. Jenny will experience the intense joy and happiness her mother was never allowed. She will also become instrumental in her mom's confrontation of the real danger, almost at a very high price for both of them...

This is a mystery thriller that you will not be able to put down once you have read the first sentence. The issues are real, like the characters. The book is a light read - it won't leave the reader emotionally plundered. It is gripping, interesting, and a very well-planned debut novel for Linda Hubert - a well-deserved three stars read. ( )
  Margitte123 | Sep 30, 2013 |
Simply written story keeps the reader turning pages through to the very end. Interesting plot that moves along at a steady pace. A lack of descriptives left the characters and parts of the novel feeling a bit flat or grey. This also made it difficult to connect to the characters as they don't feel real. I noticed a few minor things but nothing terribly distracting. Overall it's a fairly good book with a well done change of POV lending to the suspense until the end. A bit of polishing would make this a four star book. ( )
  Jenn.S | Sep 25, 2013 |
I wanted to view this book favourably for several reasons, author a fellow Glaswegian, fellow teacher, first novel etc but unfortunately it was clunky, artificial and very slow and painstaking in pace. I'm about half way through and determined to read it through, to give it a second chance. But I can't see me changing my mind. I am reading the kindle version and there are multiple formatting issues with the text which do not help. ( )
  dlga | Jul 24, 2013 |
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When Alicia Bryson returns to her estranged father's home in a tiny Yorkshire village, she feels burdened by his illness. Her hometown brings back memories of a miserable and violent childhood, and Alicia worries that her young daughter Jenny's summer will be filled with a similar sense of unhappiness. The town is exactly as she remembered it, the people, the buildings, even the woods. But Alicia's arrival has not gone unnoticed. There is someone watching her every move. Someone who has a plan of his own. Someone who will not stop until the people he loves most can rest together, in paradise.… (more)

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