The Children’s Book Review | November 5, 2013
Paperback: 90 pages
Age Range: 17 and up
Publisher: CreateSpace (October 15, 2013)
What to expect: Divorce, Sexuality, Witchcraft, Ghosts, Mystery
Michael Phillip Cash’s latest book is a fast paced novella with a tricky plot of lovers, witchcraft, ghosts, and parallel lives.
What seems to be multiple stories of old times and present time, is one well thought through tale of purposefully intertwined events that collide for a grand finale. While 5 spirits connected by death to a tree propel the novella, 17-year-old Arielle and her relationship with 18-year-old boyfriend Chad are the focus. In an evening of rebellion Arielle finds herself alone with Chad at The Hanging Tree, which is steeped in legends of hauntings. The question of whether Arielle will consent to have sexual intercourse with Chad is set from the very beginning and Cash has readers concerned for her safety and wondering whether Chad will respect her ultimate decision. Cash has developed the character of Arielle well, unveiling her emotional baggage in tidbits and forcing readers to question Arielle’s ability to make an appropriate judgment call on her impeding efforts to maintain her innocence. As the spirits of the tree look on, Cash prudently stitches in the intertwined side stories of hangings, homosexuality and witchcraft-midwifery. The scenes are painted quickly and easily with Cash’s high moments of prose:
“[N]o matter how much she greased her hands with the sweet honey she had found on a shelf over the fireplace, or how many sharp knives she placed under the sheets to cut the pain, nothing helped Mary, and, as dawn melted darkness, she quit this world for paradise, leaving the farmer alone with a toddler and no help meet.”
I suspect that readers looking for a quick and engaging read will devour this story and savor the complex reactions that it is sure to induce.
Add this book to your collection: The Hanging Tree: A Novella
For more information, visit: michaelphillipcash.com
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