Over twenty people came out to my reading at Chapters in St. Albert last night. I hadn't seen some in decades, although there were others I recognized immediately. Cindy & Theresa, thanks for making the long drive from Edson. And Betty, it was good to see you and your hubby. Not to mention Donna, Krista, Erin, Rae, Marge, Tawni, and everyone else I'm forgetting to list...
The crowd was lucky cuz they met my youngest brother -- the one who 'relocates' all of my books onto the Hot Fiction table in every book store he visits! By the way, next time, I promise we'll set up further away from the clerk at Starbucks who seemed to gleefully grind those beans every time I decided to open my mouth, okay?
I spent the night at my brother's and left early this morning to make the 4 hour drive home. And when I finally got here, I found this review of The Penny Tree waiting for me on email. Consider yourself cyber-hugged, Ms. Terri Schlichenmeyer.
Albany Democrat Herald Book Review
‘Penny Tree’ makes cents by Terri Schlichenmeyer
You know how it is. The alarm doesn’t go off, which makes you late. You missed your ride, got a run in your pantyhose, spilled coffee down your front, the boss is peeved and you’re having one of Those Days. Did you ever have a whole lifetime of Those Days? For Annie Hillman, it seems that most of her life has been one big thing-that’s gone wrong. But in the novel “The Penny Tree” by Holly Kennedy, Annie is about to have something go very right.
When she was 12 years old and her sister did some snooping, Annie learned that she and Marina were adopted. While that bothered her, Annie realized that her parents deeply loved her because of a precious gift her father gave her: Her own Penny Tree.As he nailed a one-cent coin to the Douglas fir, Annie’s dad told her that the tree would be hers forever. Whenever she needed comfort, wanted some place to think, craved alone-time, she could come to the tree.The old tree served her well. When Annie’s father died, she sat beneath it and grieved. As her marriage fell apart, she cried below its needles.Now, Annie is back in her hometown, depressed, her life in a shambles, dealing with toppling finances, her younger son’s shaky health and her older son’s adolescence. She spends time beneath her Penny Tree, wondering what went so terribly wrong.
And then the ad appears in the newspaper, right on the front page.“Do You Recognize This Woman?” it said. “She was the first woman I ever loved and I can’t forget her.”As the nation is caught up wondering who the mystery man is, Annie tries to remember the men she loved. Her mind wanders from her childhood friend to an old boyfriend to her almost-ex-husband, Jack, from whom Annie drifted away.The mystery man is surely someone from her past. Could he also be someone for her future?
I usually read four or five books a week; some are okay, some are not-okay, but the ones I’m most delighted with are the ones I look forward to getting back to when I put them down.“The Penny Tree” fits nicely in that last category.
I loved all of the people in this book and I enjoyed the peccadilloes author Holly Kennedy gave them, particularly the quirk that Annie’s mother, Erna, has. And no, I’m not going to tell you what it is. Read the book.Another thing to notice is that Kennedy has a knack for mentioning tiny details and making those little items important later on in the story. I liked that, being surprised over and over. If you want a good novel to tuck in your purse or suitcase this spring, grab this one. Reading “The Penny Tree” just makes cents.