Sure to invoke your emotions: My review of A Sound Among the Trees by Susan Meissner

Publisher: Waterbrook Press (October 4, 2011)

After years of looking for the perfect match, an online dating service links Marielle to widowed Carson Bishop and they are soon wed. When she moves across the country to live with Carson, his two children, and Adelaide, the grandmother to his former wife, she agrees to reside with them in the family's historical mansion in Virginia known as "Holly Oak". There she is greeted by Adelaide's fears that the house itself is seeking atonement for the tragic past it's been subjected to, while others share rumors that the ghost of Susannah Page, Adelaide's great-grandmother who was believed by some to be a Civil War spy, are wandering it's halls. Marielle refuses to ignore these strange ideas as Carson encourages her to do, and sets to discover the truth of what exactly happened within the halls of Holly Oak, to forge out a new future for her family.

Meissner writes with beautiful prose, vivid descriptions, words that invoke your emotions. A Sound Among the Trees is a unique story, a blend of contemporary and historical with a hint of the supernatural that makes up an engaging read. The characters are well fleshed out, from Marielle and Carson, to Adelaide and her daughter Caroline, to the young Susannah who lived during the Civil War. I enjoyed the spiritual aspects of the novel, the question of whether ghosts are real, whether they haunt the house or not, or whether they are the product of one's fears.

The book does a tremendous job of illustrating Jesus' words that "the truth will set you free" (John 8:32). How often do we become trapped in our own understanding of a situation, are held captive by our fears of what we hold to be true? I loved the fact that it was Caroline, the formally estranged mentally ill daughter, who swept into the house and illuminated the truth, a truth that helped set the family free and led to a truly satisfying conclusion.

I give this book a solid recommendation of 4.5 out of 5 stars, and believe that readers who have enjoyed Meissner's previous novels will find their time well spent in reading this one.