Synopses & Reviews
Rebecca Monroe is terrified of turning into her mother.
On the day Lady Diana married Prince Charles, Rebeccas mother locked herself in the bathroom of 24 Beech Drive and never came out. Was it because the holiday dinner didnt turn out just right? Because Rebeccas grandmother married her first cousin? Or was she simply, unalterably unhappy? According to Rebeccas scientist husband, our genes control our fate, but Rebecca isnt so sure. Leaving everything to science allows little room for the events that shape our lives.
Looking for clues in a family history filled with three generations of mistaken marriages, dubiously fathered children, and hand-me-down sayings, Rebecca discovers she is just one piece of a family history that is still unraveling and she wonders if events of the past are destined to repeat themselves in her own childs future.
The intertwining relationships of mothers and daughters, sisters and brothers, and husbands and wives go to the heart of The Family Tree as it transcends the story of one woman and her family to become an indelible and resonant novel in which author Carole Cadwalladr ponders what truly makes us who we are.
"This promising debut effortlessly combines pathos and humor." Library Journal
"This isn't chick lit. It's women's literature ready to take on the men and a wonderful read at that." Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"[A]n ambitious debut by a novelist with a wicked sense of humor." Patricia T. O'Connor, The New York Times Book Review
At once nostalgic and refreshingly original, this is a sophisticated story of one woman and the generations of women who came before her whose legacies shaped her life.
"The very cleverness of its central motif--a dissertation on the expression of genetic traits, mostly through the evidence of prime-time soap opera--makes The Family Tree
a notable debut. Carole Cadwalladr takes the reader deep under the skin of one unhappy, even cursed and yet utterly ordinary family. Through the eyes of a character so honest and doggedly hopeful, we see our own selves." --Jacquelyn Mitchard
This is a jewel of a book. I loved it. Carol Cadwalladr is remarkably talented, and a very funny writer. --Anna Maxted
Weeks after finishing The Family Tree, I catch myself wondering how the Monroe family is getting on. Full of interesting facts, expertly and seamlessly slipped into a compelling narrative, Carole Cadwalladr has written a wonderful novel that is hilarious and tragic at the same time. --Emily Barr
When Rebecca Monroe—married to Alistair, a scientist who doesn’t believe in fate, but rather genetic disposition—discovers that she is pregnant, she begins to question what makes us who we are and whether her own precarious family history will play a role in her future.
For Rebecca, the wry and observant narrator of The Family Tree, simple things said over breakfast take on greater meaning: a home-improvement project foreshadows darker things to come; the color of one’s eyes, the slope of a forehead are all missing pieces to the truth behind the family tree.
At once nostalgic and refreshingly original, The Family Tree is a sophisticated story of one woman and the generations of women who came before her and whose legacy shaped her life and its emotional landscape.
About the Author
Nominated for the Best Specialist Writer/British Press Award, Carole Cadwalladr writes for newspapers including The Daily Telegraph and lives in the UK. The Family Tree is her first novel.