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Book Review: Leaves of the Linden Tree

Leaves of the Linden Tree (unpublished review copy). Marydale Stewart, Black Rose Writing, June 21, 2018.

Reviewed by Florence Osmund

Leaves of the Linden Tree takes place in a small Midwestern town, a close-knit community where the pace is slow and everyone knows everyone else’s business. The main character, Corrie, owns the local bookstore. Other characters include fellow local business people, Corrie’s friends and acquaintances, and their relatives. The characters are engaging, believable, and unique.

The book exposes readers to a wide variety of interesting subjects: living in a small town, managing a bookstore, working in a horse stable, caring for horses, surviving a tornado, and trapping feral cats. The most significant issue in the book, racism, is handled in a delicate, constructive manner and embraces acceptance and tolerance of all people.

This book was challenging to review in that it doesn’t follow the traditional structure of a novel with a beginning (introduction and initial conflict), middle (rising action and climax), and end (falling action and resolution). Nor does it include the fundamental element of a novel—a protagonist encountering roadblocks when trying to achieve a goal—making it difficult to determine the plot. Instead, the book consists of many sub-stories told from numerous points of view, many of them compelling enough to be the basis of a novel by itself. One of these sub-stories, Breanna’s story, does follow the traditional structure of a novel and would make for an interesting book.

The first half of the book contains predominately background information and snippets of each character’s life. No significant action takes place until halfway through the book, again not following traditional novel structure. Perhaps a better place to have started this book would have been when this critical action occurs. 

Marydale Stewart has a background in teaching, technical writing, and editing. Leaves of the Linden Tree is her second novel.


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