Book Review: The Sweet Gum Tree by Katherine Allred

The Sweet Gum Tree by Katherine AllredTitle: The Sweet Gum Tree
Author: Katherine Allred
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Sensuality Rating: Sensual or Steamy (I can’t recall)
Source: borrowed via Amazon Lending
Published: May 12, 2005

Sweet tea, corn bread, and soup beans—everyday fare for eight-year-old Alix French, the precocious darling of a respected southern family. But nothing was ordinary about the day she met ten-year-old Nick Anderson, a boy from the wrong side of town. Armed with only a tin of bee balm and steely determination, Alix treats the raw evidence of a recent beating that mars his back, an act that changes both of their lives forever.

Through childhood disasters and teenage woes they cling together as friendship turns to love. The future looks rosy until the fateful night when Frank Anderson, Nick's abusive father, is shot to death in his filthy trailer.

Suddenly, Nick is gone—leaving Alix alone, confused and pregnant. For the next fifteen years she wrestles with the pain of Nick's abandonment, a bad marriage, her family and friends. But finally, she's starting to get her life back together. Her divorce is almost final, her business is booming, and she's content if not happy—until the day she looks up and sees Nick standing across the counter. He's back…and he's not alone.

Once again Alix is plunged into turmoil and pain as Nick tries to win her love, something she resists with all her strength. Only one thing might break the protective wall she's built around her emotions—the truth about Frank Anderson's death. But when that truth comes out and those walls crumble, neither Alix nor Nick is prepared for the emotional explosion that could destroy as well as heal.

amazon | goodreads

Why I Read this Book: The Sweet Gum Tree is one of those books that has somehow stayed under the radar. I had never heard of this book, or its author, until I saw someone mentioning it on Twitter in passing. I was curious, so I check it out on Goodreads and decided to give it a try.

What I Liked: OMG the feels! The anger, the sorrow, the swooning moments. I was so emotionally invested in this story, I was emotionally spent after reading it. There was a lot going on, a lot of drama and crazy stuff, but I think that was part of the allure for me (which is strange since I don’t like reading about family drama). This story was so raw, so real – crazy, but real. I was all but expecting the author to reveal at the end that this was her story, it felt that authentic. The characters were so real. From Alix and Nick, to Jenna, Hugh, the aunts, and Alix's mom and dad. And this book definitely had some twists I wasn’t expecting.

What I Didn’t Like: The cover doesn’t do anything for me. I would have passed over this one based on the cover alone (because I’m a cover-whore). But because of some word-of-mouth in my Twitter feed, I looked past the cover. And I’m so glad I did because this is one of my favorite reads of the year.

Memorable Moment: Unfortunately, because I read through this one pretty quickly, I made no notes and didn’t highlight so I don’t have any quotes to share.

Overall Impression: I gobbled The Sweet Gum Tree up in 24 hours, which for me is quick. I had no idea what I was in for when I started reading this book. This is definitely a book I can see myself re-reading, and I am NOT a re-reader. I was completely invested in these characters’ stories and I didn’t want to let go. *sigh*

Brianna’s Rating:
5 Frogs

About Brianna: Supermom by day, naughty reader by night. Addicted to chocolate, Twitter, her iPad, her Kindle, and 99¢ Kindle deals. You can follow Brianna on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and Instagram.


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