By the critically acclaimed author of Shallow Graves comes a darkly magical novel about a mysterious family legacy, the bonds of sisterhood, and the strange and powerful ways we are shaped by the places we call home.
Sorrow Lovegood’s life has been shaped by the stories of the women who came before her: brave, resilient ancestors who settled long ago on an unusual apple orchard in Vermont. The land has been passed down through generations, and Sorrow and her family take pride in its strange history. Their offbeat habits may be ridiculed by other townspeople—especially their neighbors, the Abrams family—but for the first eight years of her life, the orchard is Sorrow’s whole world.
Then one winter night everything changes. Sorrow’s sister, Patience, is tragically killed. Their mother suffers a breakdown. Sorrow is sent to live with her father in Miami, away from the only home she’s ever known.
Now sixteen, Sorrow’s memories of her life in Vermont are maddeningly hazy; even the details of her sister’s death are unclear. She returns to the orchard for the summer, determined to answer the questions that have haunted her: Why has her mother kept her distance over the last eight years? What actually happened the night Patience died? What other long-buried secrets has the orchard been waiting for her to uncover?
Bank Street College of Education Best Children's Books of 2017
"There is a lot to unpack here, from the tenderness and toxicity that can simultaneously exist in families, to the rippling effect of mental illness, to history’s ability to bring guilt to a faultless generation, and to the search for a solid identity among all those jagged pieces. The orchard’s role in uncovering the truth behind her sister’s death adds a hint of magical realism and mystique, as do the interspersed chapters narrated by Sorrow’s ancestors that allude to but never confirm the orchard’s magical properties."
"Sorrow’s quietly fierce determination to break through the family’s silent secrets exposes the grievances that tie the families together as much as they hold them apart. The novel is Sorrow’s story of loss, the story of a family feud, and occasionally an exposé on how small-town traditions perhaps unwittingly encourage a bubbling animosity to continue for generations. An absorbing, lyrically drawn mystery, examination of grief, and cautionary tale."
Shannon M. Parker, author of The Rattled Bones
"A gorgeously crafted, sumptuously layered novel that masterfully peels back the layers of love, loss and endurance harnessed by twelve generations of brave, magical Lovegood women. The Memory Trees is a stunning powerhouse of a book. It is timeless. It is beautiful. It is a gift."
Adriana Mather, New York Times bestselling author of How to Hang a Witch
"No one writes creepy, beautiful stories like Wallace does—she expertly weaves love, loss, compassion, and murder in a way that will both move you to tears and have you sleeping with the lights on. The Memory Trees will keep you guessing until the very end."