Baker Book House/Revell
“The Trees of Eden by Linda Dorrell brings us an historical tale of the classic conflict between a mother, Huldah and a teenage daughter, Wren. The conflict is heightened by personal tragedies, and the great flu epidemic of 1918. Huldah copes with her tragedies by denial; leaving Wren to care for the household. Wren feels ever more trapped, and the rift between them becomes greater as the story progresses.
“The timeline of the story flowed smoothly. The real weakness of the book was not being drawn into the internal thoughts and feelings of the characters, making them more real to me. I was gripped midway through the book when Wren was raped, but I kept wondering how she coped with it so well. What was she thinking… feeling? I would like to have seen more drama, more emotion from the characters.
“Through so much tragedy, Wren admits that her faith in God is challenged. Her sole reason for living becomes the child that she wants to keep, despite the social mores of the times. Her faith is gently prodded - by the town doctor, her former schoolteacher, and a young friend. On the day she goes into labor she remembers how to pray! (Oh can we mothers relate to that) This renewed faith carries her through as the book draws to it’s end.
“Throughout, Wren’s determination to persevere and be her own woman is obviously strong. It seemed the more insane Huldah’s behavior became, the more resolute Wren’s personality became to survive. I would have liked to have seen more depth into the inner workings of the other characters; more detail of the household and town settings to draw me into the world in 1918.
“As I read The Trees of Eden, I found I couldn’t put it down! This was my first book by Linda Dorrell. It was an uplifting story of faith and perseverance through tragedy. For anyone who loves a little mystery with a happy ending, I recommend it." -- Ann Weatherford, Christian Book Previews.com
Wren Birdsong dreams of her own little Paradise: becoming a learned woman and ushering in the women's right to vote to Bethel Creek, South Carolina, in 1918. She yearns for high adventure, and exotic travel, and wants to bring her backwards town into the twentieth century!
Her mother, however, has other ideas. Huldah believes Wren should follow in her footsteps as a student of the Bible and of herbal remedies. As Huldah obsessively tries to recreate the famed trees of the Garden of Eden, Wren grows ever resentful of the time her mother spends with her plants.
It seems that nothing could reconcile these two women going in very different directions. That is, until violence, the great flu epidemic of 1918, and death rock Wren's soul, change her world, and lead her to the quest all women eventually seek: How do I find my own garden of delight?