The Roots of the Olive Tree by Courtney Miller Santo
Genre: Women's Fiction
Pages: 306 (paperback)
Source: TLC Book Tours
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Meet the Keller family, five generations of firstborn women living together in the same house on a secluded olive grove int he Sacramento Valley of Northern California. Anna, the family matriarch, is 112 and determined to become the oldest person in the world. Strong in mind and firm in body, she rules Hill House, the family home she shares with her daughter Bets, granddaughter Callie, great-granddaughter Deb, and great-great-granddaughter Erin.
While the Keller women are bound by blood, living together has not always been asy. And it is about to become more complicated now that Erin, the youngest, is back, alone and pregnant, after two years abroad with an opera company. Her return and the arrival of a geneticist who has come to study the family's unusual longevity ignites explosive emotions that these women have kept buried and uncovers revelations that will shake them all to their roots.
It's very difficult to describe and review a book such as this, but I enjoyed every turn of the page. I didn't love all of the women but I loved the premise. I loved that Anna was 112 years old and that her perspective and history contrasted with Erin's 22 year old life and decisions. Every time I opened the book, I never really know what would happen next. Everything happened in a quite way. Even major events seemed written to be understated and simple. Sometimes I had to reread a paragraph to ensure I really did read it right. Every few chapters or so we'd see the next part of the story told from a different point of view until we had traveled the story through the lens of all the women. I liked this method but not all of the characters were created equal so I enjoyed some perspectives more than others. Additionally, each switch in perspective also corresponded in a jump in time. This felt unnecessary and I started to feel like I was just being moved along. Each character usually ended on some dramatic note, yet the reader didn't get to pick up where the character left off. It left me feeling unsatisfied. The historical aspect and flashbacks were one of my favorite parts of this read.
Overall, I enjoyed the premise and felt like this read stands out leading to an enjoyable reads. It certainly could have been more fleshed out but I'd still recommend it.