Title: The Sweet Gum Tree
Author: Katherine Allred
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Rating: 5 Notes, 3 Flames
Glimpse My Thoughts: Look out Kristen Ashley, Katherine Allred just knocked you from my top spot in Contemporary Romance to #2. The Sweet Gum Tree was full of tender sweet moments and gut wrenching misunderstandings but worth every minute. For fans of Kristen Ashley's style of writing, Katherine Allred will be a breath of fresh air!
Sweet tea, corn bread, and soup beans—everyday fare for eight-year-old Alix French, the precocious darling of a respected southern family. But nothing was ordinary about the day she met ten-year-old Nick Anderson, a boy from the wrong side of town. Armed with only a tin of bee balm and steely determination, Alix treats the raw evidence of a recent beating that mars his back, an act that changes both of their lives forever.
Through childhood disasters and teenage woes they cling together as friendship turns to love. The future looks rosy until the fateful night when Frank Anderson, Nick's abusive father, is shot to death in his filthy trailer.
Suddenly, Nick is gone—leaving Alix alone, confused and pregnant. For the next fifteen years she wrestles with the pain of Nick's abandonment, a bad marriage, her family and friends. But finally, she's starting to get her life back together. Her divorce is almost final, her business is booming, and she's content if not happy—until the day she looks up and sees Nick standing across the counter. He's back…and he's not alone.
Once again Alix is plunged into turmoil and pain as Nick tries to win her love, something she resists with all her strength. Only one thing might break the protective wall she's built around her emotions—the truth about Frank Anderson's death. But when that truth comes out and those walls crumble, neither Alix nor Nick is prepared for the emotional explosion that could destroy as well as heal.
The Sweet Gum Tree has been on my "to read" list for about a year now. Everytime I would think about reading it, I would look at the cover and say......nah! Well I have missed out for an entire year because when I finally forced myself to actually click on this book, I couldn't stop reading. Allred draws in her readers from the very first page with the adorably cute 8 year old version of Alix and the tortured but loyal Nick.
I won't put much detail into this review because I don't wish to ruin the book for anyone that reads it. The Sweet Gum Tree takes you through Nick and Alix's relationship from the very beginning and then brings it full circle. It was the most emotional exhausting book I have read this year, but it was worth every embarrassing LOL moment, all the tears I shed, and all the feelings of injustice I felt throughout the book. It is a great rendition of how someone from the wrong side of the tracks can be impacted by the kindness of one person, and have that impact expand their entire lifetime.
If you are a fan of contemporary romance and enjoy the writings of Kristen Ashley, then Katherine Allred is the author for you. The Sweet Gum Tree is a timeless book that can span generations and still make you remember all the thoughts, feelings, sounds, and smells associated with your first true love experience. It fun-loving, heartbreaking, and downright hope inspiring. I'm giving this one 5 notes and 3 flames!