Thursday, August 30, 2012

Book Reivew: The Roots of the Olive Tree by Courtney Miller Santo

All it really takes to get me interested in a book is "family secrets".  Publishers, take note.  Seriously, put that in your description and see how fast I gobble your book up.  I love crazy family stuff.  This story revolves around five generations of women who seem to have some kind of genetic predisposition to longevity.  If you read a lot of "family secret" books, you know that they come in all shapes and forms.  This one is fairly light.  Nothing dark or gothic, but more believable, if that makes sense.  This isn't an abnormal family.  Their "secrets" aren't much different than what many families deal with.  And in this case it really worked well for me. 

Nothing to complain about here!  As a debut novel, I think the author did a great job.  Pacing is good, characters are good, grammar is great, plot moves along well with no major holes.  Nicely done.

Entertainment Value
Loved it!  I will admit that I went into this feeling a bit skeptical based on another review I read, but I was actually wonderfully surprised with how quickly I was into the story.  I cared about the characters, even the ones who were less likable.  Honestly, that makes a book better for me - I can believe the characters if they have flaws.  I feel like I can identify more with a character's flaws many times than I can with their successes. 

I loved the California setting, which was also a success on the part of the author.  Is it weird that there are parts of the country I'm less interested in reading about?  Because I just tend to really not have a huge interest in books set on the West Coast.  I'm sure it's a lovely place, but I don't like them as much.  Maybe I haven't ever been there and I can't really see it in my mind?  Anyway, the author did an excellent job of overcoming my bias against West Coast fiction - I really fell in love with the family's home as much as the family.

I recommend it to fans of women's literature.  If you like books that deal with family dynamics, this is one you'll enjoy. 

Thank you to TLC for an opportunity to review this one.  You can see the full schedule of reviews by clicking here.


  1. Sounds like exactly the kind of book I enjoy, so I'm glad you can recommend it so highly!

    Thanks for being on the tour.

  2. I don't know if a recommendation can come higher than this! You read a review that made your expectations low, and you really liked it; you don't like California settings and you loved the setting; a debut author is always iffy, and you liked all aspects of the writing. That is pretty freaking awesome!

  3. I'm really impressed - I'll be following the author to see what she writes next!