Author: Naseem Rakha
Pages: 353 pages
Publisher: Broadway; First Edition edition (July 7, 2009)
Book Description from Book: 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.
Shep’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.
My Review: I was initially intrigued when receiving this book for review by the cover. I am always drawn to interesting cover art. After reading the back cover I didn’t see how the boy playing the trumpet and the title The Crying Tree came together, but very appropriate after reading the book.
I read this book on my vacation and I must say it was a great read! The themes of the story for me were loss, grief and forgiveness. One of the most powerful lines in the books is about pain and grace. How do you have pain and grace at the same time? I guess through forgiveness comes grace. There is so much pain in this story, the pain of a mother, a father, sister and lover. There is a powerful statement made about pain and hatred eating you alive and now you get around that hatred and forgive. I am not sure I could have forgiven as Irene Stanley had, but she was a remarkably strong character. I appreciated her strength and journey.
The Crying Tree by Naseem Rakha is a remarkable and heart wrenching story that will stay with me for a while. The characters are very well developed and you have a good feel for their feelings and values. The characters are very human and have made mistakes. I highly recommend this book. It will draw you in within the first few pages and like me, you will be staying up a bit too late wanting the story to continue!
My Rating: 5 – Highly Recommended