Thursday, May 23, 2013

On Tour: The Roots of the Olive Tree by Courtney Miller Santo

Courtney Miller Santo’s compelling and evocative debut novel captures the joys and sorrows of family— the love, secrets, disappointments, jealousies, and forgiveness that tie generations to one another.

Meet the Keller family, five generations of firstborn women living together in the same house on a secluded olive grove in the Sacramento Valley of Northern California. Anna, the family matriarch, is 112 and determined to become the oldest person in the world. Strong in mind and firm in body, she rules Hill House, the family home she shares with her daughter Bets, granddaughter Callie, great-granddaughter Deb, and great-great-granddaughter Erin.

While the Keller women are bound by blood, living together has not always been easy. And it is about to become more complicated now that Erin, the youngest, is back, alone and pregnant, after two years abroad with an opera company. Her return and the arrival of a geneticist who has come to study the family’s unusual longevity ignites explosive emotions that these women have kept buried and uncovers revelations that will shake them all to their roots.

My thoughts about The Roots of the Olive Tree ~~

I love stories about generations of women. And strong women. And women who lean on and are there for the other women in their lives. The reader gets all this and more in The Roots of the Olive Tree. This is a story about five generations of first born women, with the sixth generation on the way. The matriarch of the family is 112 years old. Amazing, huh?

A geneticist comes to study the women to try to understand while these women live to such an advanced age. What he discovers there is not what he was expecting to find. His being there opened up the past and we learn what this family has gone through to survive as long as they have.

The story is woven through the chapters, focusing on one woman at a time and their story; all of the happiness, sorrows and struggles they had to go through to get where they are today. We learn how much they love each other as well as the frustrations they encountered as they dealt with the other women in the family home.

This is a beautifully written family saga that I absolutely fell in love with. I recommend it to anyone and everyone who asks for a good book to read. This is definitely going on my list to suggest to my book club. It is just an amazing story!

About the author

Courtney Miller Santo grasped the importance of stories from listening to her great-grandmother, who lives in Northern California. She learned to write stories in the journalism program at Washington and Lee University and then discovered the limits of true stories working as a reporter in Virginia. She teaches creative writing at the University of Memphis, where she earned her MFA. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Los Angeles Review, Irreantum, Sunstone, and Segullah. She lives in Tennessee with her husband, two children, and dog. Her most prized possession is a photo of five generations of the women in her own family.

Connect with Courtney

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1 comment:

  1. Sounds like this needs to be at the top of my TBR list!

    Thanks for being a part of the tour. I'm featuring your review on TLC's Facebook page today.


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