Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Lightning Tree Blog Tour: Book Review

Title: Lightning Tree
Author: Sarah Dunster
Release Date: April 2012
Genre: YA/Historical/LDS
Received from the publisher for review.
After surviving the tragic deaths of her parents, her baby sister, and a harrowing trek across the plains to Utah, it's no surprise that Maggie's nights are plagued by nightmares. But after years of harsh treatment by her foster family and memories that seem to hint at an unthinkable crime, Maggie is forced to strike out on her own to separate the facts from the lies.

This book is unique blend of history, coming-of-age, and mystery all wrapped into one. It is different than any book I have ever read, especially in the LDS genre. However, that is not necessarily a bad thing and was actually a refreshing change.

One of my favorite things about this book was the development of Maggie, the main character. Even though Maggie lived during the 1800s, it was amazing how similar she was to a modern day teenager. She is a stubborn and headstrong 16-year-old (weren't we all?!) who is struggling to figure out who she is. She also questions her self-worth which is a common issue during adolescence. It reminded me that even though we each grow up in different environments, we all still struggle through the same growing pains.

I also loved the romantic development that plays a subtle role in the book. First-time love is so innocent and it catches Maggie completely by surprise. Even though romance is not a priority in a town where daily life is a constant struggle just to survive, Maggie's love interest is very tender with her, showing his affection through sweet gestures and simple expressions.

The other part of the book that I enjoyed the most was the underlying theme of familial love. During my interview with the author, I discovered just how important family is to her (click here to read the full interview) so it didn't surprise me to see that this was the foundation of her book. Not only does Maggie adore her sister and the memory of her parents, but, over the course of the novel, realizes her reluctant affection for her foster family. She also realizes that this love is reciprocated by those she thought viewed her only as a nuisance and an extra mouth to feed.

Lightning Tree is starkly realistic, subtly tender, and tantalizingly mysterious. It will appeal not only to young adults, but to readers of all ages.

About the Author
Sarah Dunster is an award-winning poet and fiction writer. Her poems have been published in Dialogue: a Journal of Mormon Thought, Segullah Magazine, and Victorian Violet Press. Her short fiction piece, Back North, is featured in Segullah's Fall 2011 issue. Her novel Lightning Tree will be released in spring of 2012 by Cedar Fort. Sarah has six children and one on the way and loves writing almost as much as she loves being a mom.

Website | Blog | Lightning Tree Page

                                         Purchase the Book


  1. This is my first time hearing of this book. I like the cover and the synopsis sounds great. After reading your review it sounds like a book I would definitely enjoy.I like books that are set in different time periods and your description of the main character intrigues me. Thanks for sharing!