Friday, June 26, 2015

REVIEW - THE SWEET GUM TREE by Katherine Allred:

TITLE: The Sweet Gum Tree
AUTHOR: Katherine Allred
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
RELEASE DATE: November 1, 2005
PUBLISHER:  Ellora's Cave Publishing
FORMAT: eBook and Paperback
PAGES: Approx. 304

RATING: 5 Stars
HEA: Yes

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.

5 Exquisite Stars!
Un.Put.Down.Able! Breathtakingly Beautiful, Exceptionally Written and Utterly Amazing! Definitely A Must Read! 

The Review: 
There are some books that you know will stay with you for a long time to come. Ones that are so well written and so beautifully told that you can’t let the story or the characters go. This is one of those books. Everything about it, from the moment you open the first page, to the very last word on the last page, you are bewitched, completely consumed with the lives of these characters and their heartbreaking, bittersweet, romantic and uplifting story.

This book follows the life of the town princess, Alix French, starting from the young age of eight when she stumbles into the path of ten year old Nick Anderson, the “town trash”. From the moment they meet, their lives are irrevocably changed, in both remarkable and destructible ways. Told entirely in Alix’s POV, this is their journey.

Growing up in the south, steeped in southern traditions, Alix is surrounded by a loving, close knit family with incomparable morals. She’s learned from birth to treat others as she would want to be treated, so it’s no wonder she takes on the challenge of saving the hauntingly beautiful boy who lives in a salvage yard with a monstrous father.

At the young age of ten, Nick knows he’ll never amount to much and that the people of their small town look at him like they do his drunken, shameful father... he’s the dirty boy who lives in a salvage yard that will one day grow up to follow in his father's dishonorable footsteps. He believes he’s doomed by their prophecy... until she comes into his life.

Throughout this book, Alix grows from a cheerful eight year old to an exceptional teenager and then on to a tragic adult, letting you have pivotal, beautifully written moments of her life and the one boy who grows into the one and only man she’s ever truly loved. Nick and Alix have a complicated relationship. He never felt he was good enough for her and Alix never cared about his standing in the community. It was simple to her. She loved him and he loved her. But when you're young and you have a wall of pride and a community making you feel as though you’ll never be the prince charming to the town princess, and a father who speaks with his fists, somewhere along the way, Nick started to believe them.

I loved everything about these characters. All their good and all their bad brought them to life and the mistakes they made, the happy memories they created only added depth and reality to their story.

This story encompasses everything a romance should. Sweet tender moments drenched expertly with gripping, angsty, emotionally, heartbreaking scenes and a story so profound, you’ll not be able to put it down til the very end... and even then you’ll be heartbroken to say goodbye to the exceptional dialogue, the outstanding characters and the amazing journey within the pages.

The Wrap Up: 
This book sat for a long time on my ereader. I bought it at the suggestion of a friend and just never got to it. What a mistake. I wish I had opened it a long time ago so I could have read and reread it many times, as I know I now will. Simply put, it was a phenomenal read!

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