The Memory Trees by Kali Wallace

The Memory Trees

The Memory Trees is a dark magical realism novel about a mysterious family legacy, a centuries-old feud, and a tragic loss that resurfaces when sixteen-year-old Sorrow returns to her mother’s family orchard for the summer.Sorrow Lovegood’s life has been shaped by the stories of the women who came before her: brave, resilient women who settled long ago on a mercurial apple...

Title:The Memory Trees
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Edition Language:English

The Memory Trees Reviews

  • Margot Harrison

    Reading this book was like stepping into another world, and I loved every second there. It takes place on a piece of rural family property that goes back generations and is imbued with history, joy, sorrow, struggle, and BLOOD (literally).

    Wallace's immersive descriptions transported me to the Lovegood orchard, where things don't work quite like they do everywhere else. Weather turns cold to mourn a family loss, and lost objects abruptly reappear. This isn't a full-on paranormal novel like Wallac

    Reading this book was like stepping into another world, and I loved every second there. It takes place on a piece of rural family property that goes back generations and is imbued with history, joy, sorrow, struggle, and BLOOD (literally).

    Wallace's immersive descriptions transported me to the Lovegood orchard, where things don't work quite like they do everywhere else. Weather turns cold to mourn a family loss, and lost objects abruptly reappear. This isn't a full-on paranormal novel like Wallace's debut,

    ; it's primarily a moving study of depression, family dynamics, and coming of age. The fantastical element is beautifully handled, though, always supporting the story of Sorrow Lovegood and her troubled return home to face the consequences of a family tragedy she barely remembers.

    I also loved the thread of family history that runs through the book, with intermittent chapters devoted to past Lovegood women. I don't think I've seen a family quite like this in a book before. They're matriarchal and strong and all about women power (even in the 1700s and 1800s, when that was truly radical), but they're also real, vulnerable people who make a lot of sacrifices to hold on to their land and their way of life. They practice conflict avoidance. They get depressed. In short, unique as they are, they're highly relatable, and I found myself worrying about Sorrow and her mom, Verity.

    I think teens who like family sagas—with a tinge of the creepy—are going to love

    as much as I did.

    I received an advance review copy of this book.

  • S.M. Parker

    This book is exquisite—and often times painfully so. Wallace is a masterful storyteller who reveals the secrets of Sorrow’s past with mesmerizing acuity. In truth this is a really difficult review to write because I don’t feel like The Memory Trees was a book at all. Rather, it was an experience—one I lived and breathed—and it shook me so viscerally that it’s hard to step away to reflect on it here. But I want EVERYONE to read it so I’ll say a few things that rocked my world:

    There are women in

    This book is exquisite—and often times painfully so. Wallace is a masterful storyteller who reveals the secrets of Sorrow’s past with mesmerizing acuity. In truth this is a really difficult review to write because I don’t feel like The Memory Trees was a book at all. Rather, it was an experience—one I lived and breathed—and it shook me so viscerally that it’s hard to step away to reflect on it here. But I want EVERYONE to read it so I’ll say a few things that rocked my world:

    There are women in this book.

    Lots of beautiful, enduring women who carve their own fate.

    There are women who love women and women who love men.

    Women who love daughters and daughters who try to protect that love at any cost.

    And these women live and love upon a fertile patch of Vermont land where the very past vibrates in the soil as the orchard moans, mourns and loves.

    Sorrow Lovegood’s quest to find the truth of her own story—and marry it to the stories of generations of Lovegood women who came before—is beautiful. It is heartbreaking and powerful. Wallace deftly explores really heavy themes in this book: divorce, mental health, death and loss, dysfunctional families, complicated familial relationships, and finding one’s voice. But Wallace also manages to weave such magnificent hope within the story and Sorrow’s quest. Because the orchard is a thrilling, vibrant heartbeat of love and life and loss; the trees pay attention to the rhythms of love in all the ways that humans should pay attention to this magnificent force.

    Wallace’s sophomore novel is brilliant. Wallace is capable and confident in her rich prose and her resilient, brilliant female characters reminded me of the richly drawn women brought to us by authors such as Alice Walker, Margaret Atwood, Isabel Allende. This book has my whole heart. I recommend this book for teens, but also for adults. It is a stunning powerhouse of a book. It is timeless. It is beautiful. It is a gift.

  • Jenn Bishop

    A gorgeous tale of two clannish families in the hills of rural Vermont (wait, is there an urban VT?). Sorrow Lovegood's family has owned the same orchard for generations, passed down the matrilineal line. Eight years ago, her older sister, Patience died tragically in a fire and Sorrow hasn't set foot on the orchard since. Strangely, her memories of the time leading up to and just after her sister's death have are inaccessible. Could a trip to VT be exactly what she needs to get to the bottom of

    A gorgeous tale of two clannish families in the hills of rural Vermont (wait, is there an urban VT?). Sorrow Lovegood's family has owned the same orchard for generations, passed down the matrilineal line. Eight years ago, her older sister, Patience died tragically in a fire and Sorrow hasn't set foot on the orchard since. Strangely, her memories of the time leading up to and just after her sister's death have are inaccessible. Could a trip to VT be exactly what she needs to get to the bottom of this? In beautiful prose steeped in the rural setting, Wallace crafts a tale of sisters, warring families, family secrets, and more. Moody, magical, marvelous.

  • Jenny Moyer

    Beautiful, haunting, and mysterious. I was fortunate enough to read an advance copy of this novel. The writing is so rich and evocative--I found myself re-reading paragraphs just so I could take it in again. This story is richly layered with meaning, the characters deeply drawn. THE MEMORY TREES is utterly immersive, the kind of story that resonates long after the last page is read.

  • Farren

    I was sent an ARC of The Memory Trees by Harper Collins (thank you so much!) but wasn't able to finish it before the book released (sawwy 😞).

    Magical Realism is not a genre I ever pick up despite the fact that I keep collecting magical realism books. Which means I have no idea how to rate this one. So here's this: I really enjoyed the story and I think Kali's prose are lovely. As for the cons, I think it was a tad too long for how uneventful it was, there really wasn't any magic, and it

    I was sent an ARC of The Memory Trees by Harper Collins (thank you so much!) but wasn't able to finish it before the book released (sawwy 😞).

    Magical Realism is not a genre I ever pick up despite the fact that I keep collecting magical realism books. Which means I have no idea how to rate this one. So here's this: I really enjoyed the story and I think Kali's prose are lovely. As for the cons, I think it was a tad too long for how uneventful it was, there really wasn't any magic, and it just didn't have any type of

    factor for me personally. I actually thought the mystery aspect was much stronger than anything else.

    I think there are a lot of women who will really like this book, especially those who are interested in family legacy stories, because it focuses on a line of very strong, interesting women. It follows the present timeline when Sorrow returns to Vermont with flashbacks to eight years earlier when Patience died, as well as a chapter on each Lovegood woman during the most significant time of her life. It flows well and is not at all confusing. The novel isn't just about grief; it also explores depression, guilt, secret relationships (both platonic and romantic), and the pressure of family expectations. It is basically the beautifully written love child of Practical Magic and Hatfields and McCoys.

    I listened to the second half on audio and I think Kim Mai Guest has the perfect whispery, sweet voice for the atmosphere of the story. I personally don't like slow narration so I sped it up to 1.25x, but I think the format would be enjoyable on either setting, and I felt more engrossed when I listened to it than when I read it. I will probably revisit this story next year, because I was letting my reading challenges get the best of me and ended up taking a whole month to finish this book.

  • Adriana Mather

    Enchanting graveyard where bodies are marked with twisty old trees, a long history of magical women with more secrets than you can shake a stick at, and a good old creepy mystery. I LOVE THIS BOOK SO MUCH THAT I WANT TO MARRY IT.

    I was lucky enough to read an early draft of this beauty and will be buying it the day it comes out. The writing is gorgeous, the tale is gripping, and the haunted forest atmosphere is nightlight worthy. I can't wait!!!

  • Sarah

    (I received an advance copy of this book for free. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.)

    This was a contemporary story, about a girl who couldn’t remember the details of her sister’s death 8 years previously.

    Sorrow was an interesting character, and I did feel sorry for her when she couldn’t remember the details of her own sister’s death, or even the funeral. Moving to Flo

    (I received an advance copy of this book for free. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.)

    This was a contemporary story, about a girl who couldn’t remember the details of her sister’s death 8 years previously.

    Sorrow was an interesting character, and I did feel sorry for her when she couldn’t remember the details of her own sister’s death, or even the funeral. Moving to Florida because her mother had had a breakdown couldn’t have been easy either, especially considering that she barely knew her father back then.

    The storyline in this was about Sorrow going back to the orchard where she had spent the first 8 years of her life, and trying to work out what had happened to her sister – Patience, and why there was such a feud between her family and the Abrams family. There was a little bit of magical realism around some objects that Sorrow had found in the orchard when she was younger, but there wasn’t as much magical realism as I expected.

    At the end of the story we did find out what had happened to Patience, but things were still left a little open as we didn’t find out whether Sorrow would stay with her mother at the orchard, or return to Florida with her father.

    6.5 out of 10

  • Paula

    Riveting, masterful. Hard to put down. Glorious setting (creepy apple orchard in Vermont), secrets, a multi-generational family feud, an intriguing mystery. And the gorgeous prose! Wallace is SO good. I loved this book from the first page to the last.

  • Alexandra

    I liked the book very much. There is an atmosphere of haunting magic and trees. Sorrow is a really well fleshed out character. Despite the slow pace of the book, I enjoyed the adventure and the mystery the book had. The storytelling is masterful and tragically so too!

    This was an enchanting read with an amazing diverse cast, realistic characters, and mystery! Tota

    I liked the book very much. There is an atmosphere of haunting magic and trees. Sorrow is a really well fleshed out character. Despite the slow pace of the book, I enjoyed the adventure and the mystery the book had. The storytelling is masterful and tragically so too!

    This was an enchanting read with an amazing diverse cast, realistic characters, and mystery! Totally recommended!

  • Korrina  (OwlCrate)

    This book had some of the best writing I've ever come across, which is why I'm giving it 4 stars, despite it feeling quite slow at times. It was a great story but I feel like it could've been 50 pages shorter. I'm so glad I read it though and I look forward to reading more from this author.

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