St. Martin’s Press|September 4, 2012|Hardcover|ISBN: 978-1-250-00104-7
From the New York Times bestselling author of ‘The Lotus Eaters’, a novel of a California ranching family, its complicated matriarch and an enigmatic caretaker who may destroy them.
When Claire Nagy marries Forster Baumsarg, the only son of prominent California citrus ranchers, she knows she’s consenting to a life of hard work, long days, and worry-fraught nights. But her love for Forster is so strong, she turns away from her literary education and embraces the life of the ranch, succumbing to its intoxicating rhythms and bounty until her love of the land becomes a part of her. Not even the tragic, senseless death of her son, Joshua at kidnapper’s hands, her alienation from her two young daughters, or the dissolution of her once-devoted marriage can pull her from the ranch she’s devoted her life to preserving.
But despite having survived the most terrible of tragedies, Claire is about to face her greatest struggle: An illness that threatens not only to rip her from her land but take her very life. And she’s chosen a caregiver, the enigmatic Caribbean-born Minna, who may just be the darkest force of all.
Haunting, tough, triumphant, and profound, The Forgetting Tree explores the intimate ties we have to one another, the deepest fears we keep to ourselves, and the calling of the land that ties every one of us together.
The Forgetting Tree was majestic, monumental, and magical!! An incredibly complex story with well-developed characters, the story basically focuses on two women: Claire, a white-woman dealing with cancer, and Minna, a black-woman who is Claire’s caretaker.
Claire met and fell in love with Forster Baumsarg who owned a large citrus farm in California. Claire gave up her literary studies to marry him she was so enamoured. Early on in the story, Claire must deal with every mother’s nightmare – coping with the death of a child. Her young son, Joshua, is found dead near a lemon tree. Claire, already struggling with her loss ends up having to fight breast cancer and keep her family’s citrus farm together regardless of the financial or emotional toll.
Minna, makes for an interesting character. Originally from the Caribbean and having suffered through a rather rough life, she ends up in California. She meets one of Claire’s daughters in Starbucks one day and is hired as her caretaker while fighting breast cancer.
Minna tells Claire that she is the great-granddaughter of author, Jean Rhys, who wrote ‘Wide Sargasso Sea’, a prequel to Charlotte Bronte’s famous Jane Eyre, focusing on the “crazy woman in the attic.” Minna herself reminds you of that “crazy woman in the attic.” Minna quickly gains Claire’s trust and is soon mixing up elixirs and other concoctions and potions for her to drink as part of her cancer cure. The two women are both damaged but Claire continues to allow Minna to call all the shots.
I can’t get into too much more about this story without creating serious spoilers but this is simply a book you MUST read.
The Forgetting Tree was masterfully and skillfully written and kept me turning pages late into the night. I haven’t read Soli’s first novel ‘The Lotus Eaters’ but will be doing so now.