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The Crying Treeby Naseem Rakha
Synopses & Reviews
Irene and Nate Stanley are living a quiet and contented life with their two children, Bliss and Shep, on their family farm in southern Illinois when Nate suddenly announces he's been offered a job as a deputy sheriff in Oregon. Irene fights her husband. She does not want to uproot her family and has deep misgivings about the move. Nevertheless, the family leaves, and they are just settling into their life in Oregon's high desert when the unthinkable happens. Fifteen-year-old Shep is shot and killed during an apparent robbery in their home. The murderer, a young mechanic with a history of assault, robbery, and drug-related offenses, is caught and sentenced to death.
S hep's murder sends the Stanley family into a tailspin, with each member attempting to cope with the tragedy in his or her own way. Irene's approach is to live, week after week, waiting for Daniel Robbin's execution and the justice she feels she and her family deserve. Those weeks turn into months and then years. Ultimately, faced with a growing sense that Robbin's death will not stop her pain, Irene takes the extraordinary and clandestine step of reaching out to her son's killer. The two forge an unlikely connection that remains a secret from her family and friends.
Years later, Irene receives the notice that she had craved for so long — Daniel Robbin has stopped his appeals and will be executed within a month. This announcement shakes the very core of the Stanley family. Irene, it turns out, isn't the only one with a shocking secret to hide. As the execution date nears, the Stanleys must face difficult truths and find a way to come to terms with the past.
Dramatic, wrenching, and ultimately uplifting, The Crying Tree is an unforgettable story of love and redemption, the unbreakable bonds of family, and the transformative power of forgiveness.
"[A] beautiful and passionate novel... Highly recommended." Library Journal Reviews
"The Crying Tree is a powerful novel full of moral questions as well as surprises. Like real life, there are no easy roads for these characters, but they make their way, one step at a time." Las Vegas Review-Journal
"Rakha writes of one of her central subjects, 'and it wasn't anything she knew how to handle.' Not so for the author, who has crafted not only a compelling read, but one whose message lingers: At what point does that to which we cling for our survival become the very thing that robs us of our life?" The Oregonian
A mother's extraordinary act of forgiveness nearly tears her family apart in a powerful debut novel that's perfect for reading groups that have adopted Jodi Picoult and Elizabeth Berg.
Nate Stanley thinks the move to Oregon will be great for his family, especially his fifteen-year-old son, Shep. His wife, Irene, has doubts, and her reservations prove eerily prescient when tragedy strikes and Shep is killed a little more than a year after they settle into their new home.
Irene battles with her grief and desire for vengeance until it nearly kills her, and then she decides she must forgive her son's killer if she is to have any life at all. She begins a secret correspondence with Daniel, the young man who awaits execution on death row for the murder of Shep. When Nate discovers the friendship that has developed over the years between Irene and Daniel, he is devastated and in an explosive confrontation with his wife, a shocking truth about the circumstances surrounding that fateful day is revealed. Stunned but still determined to find peace, Irene embarks on a soul-searching journey that takes her to places in her heart she never knew existed.
Naseem Rakha writes about ordinary people facing extraordinary odds with a grace and emotional depth that is sure to establish her as a new favorite of readers who love to immerse themselves in complex family relationships and identify with characters who are all too human.
About the Author
Naseem Rakh is an award-winning broadcast journalist whose stories have been heard on NPR. She lives in Oregon's Willamette Valley.
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