What You Said to Me by Olivia Newport is a continuation of the Tree of Life series which began with The Inn at Hidden Run. Genealogist, Jillian and family lawyer, Nolan are the narrators and the delightful father-daughter duo, once again, lead us through the story.
As in the first three books, the split-narrative highlights the effect context can have on who we become and what we believe about ourselves and our family. The historical story is set in 1893 as the silver market collapses, as such it is a sad part of the book. The pain shared in these chapters have a purpose in the present day characters’ journey but it’s not for the faint-hearted.
Nolan, through his legal work, encounters a troubled teen, Tisha, who needs a place to work her community service hours. Knowing Jillian is swamped, he volunteers her office as the place for Tish to get this part of her sentencing behind her. Disruptive, rude and disinterested, Tish sets Jillian on edge and the two clash from the outset. The first part of the book, in which Tish is being a painful teenager is well done by the author, you really feel Jillian’s pain!
Working to understand Tisha’s destructive and distrustful behaviour, Jillian and Nolan dig into her history and bring the two stories together. To share more would be to give away the twists in the tale.
Small town life brings a joyful and fun element to the story. Jillian and Nolan are a delight and it was lovely to see other great characters in the novel again. I thoroughly enjoyed it, it’s a four out of five on the en-JOY-ment scale.
From the back cover:
When 15-year-old Tisha Crowder gets caught shoplifting, attorney Nolan Duffy tries to protect her from consequences that could rattle her already troubled life. His daughter, Jillian, feels like she’s the one being punished instead—by having Tisha assigned to work with her on a backlog of genealogy files. Tisha doesn’t seem interested in taking the job seriously, and Jillian’s patience wears thin. Besides, everyone in Canyon Mines knows the Crowder family has experienced generations of brokenness. Then a sliver of hope turns up in long-ago words in plain sight, challenging shrouded assumptions about Tisha’s family. Now Jillian is the one who can walk with Tisha back to 1893 and uncover where everything went wrong in the first place—and save her from the past.
What You Said to Me is the fourth book in the Tree of Life series by Olivia Newport. You’ll want to return to the lovely Colorado mountain town of Canyon Mines again and again to explore and celebrate unforgettable family stories that will inspire you to connect with your own family histories and unique faith journeys.
I received a complimentary copy of the book from Barbour Publishing through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.