Book Reviews · Recommendations

Family Tree (Switchback, Vermont 1) by Susan Wiggs

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Family Tree
(Switchback, Vermont 1)
By: Susan Wiggs

Published: July 2016
Published by: William Morrow
Format Read: Paperback
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Romance

Rating: 3/5


From the #1 New York Times bestselling author comes a powerful, emotionally complex story of love, loss, the pain of the past—and the promise of the future.

Sometimes the greatest dream starts with the smallest element. A single cell, joining with another. And then dividing. And just like that, the world changes. Annie Harlow knows how lucky she is. The producer of a popular television cooking show, she loves her handsome husband and the beautiful Los Angeles home they share. And now, she’s pregnant with their first child. But in an instant, her life is shattered. And when Annie awakes from a yearlong coma, she discovers that time isn’t the only thing she’s lost.

Grieving and wounded, Annie retreats to her old family home in Switchback, Vermont, a maple farm generations old. There, surrounded by her free-spirited brother, their divorced mother, and four young nieces and nephews, Annie slowly emerges into a world she left behind years ago: the town where she grew up, the people she knew before, the high-school boyfriend turned judge. And with the discovery of a cookbook her grandmother wrote in the distant past, Annie unearths an age-old mystery that might prove the salvation of the family farm.

Family Tree is the story of one woman’s triumph over betrayal, and how she eventually comes to terms with her past. It is the story of joys unrealized and opportunities regained. Complex, clear-eyed and big-hearted, funny, sad, and wise, it is a novel to cherish and to remember. 

Source: Goodreads

My Thoughts

Family Tree is a dual time period contemporary romance which is set in Vermont, New York and Los Angeles. The setting goes back an forth between the beginning of Annie and Fletcher’s romance in high school, to the present day as adults leading separate lives.

I had a love/hate connection with these characters. I had trouble warming up to Annie and felt that Fletcher deserved better. However, her career as a producer of a cooking show and her baking abilities were fascinating. The connection she had with her grandmother was a wonderful addition to the story. On the other hand, I loved Fletcher’s character and admired him for his devotion to his father in the face of tragedy.

The setting was by far my favourite aspect of Family Tree and more specifically the parts that took place in the early years of Annie and Fletcher’s relationship. The family sugar bush operation in Vermont, was a character itself. I loved learning of their daily tasks during the sap season. The steps Annie took to develop what would become her television show, during university was quite interesting as well.

The aftermath of Annie’s unfortunate accident was done well in the beginning. It even sparked memories of my own medical traumas. However I found that her recovery was brushed over in favor of her future. In fact it felt as if it was rushed to the point of it being unbelievable and affected my overall rating.

Although I had some issues with the way the story played out Family Tree was a contemporary romance that I would recommend to fans of the genre. Readers who enjoy books with culinary aspects may also enjoy this novel.

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