The Eve Tree: a novel
The Eve Tree: a novel by Rachel Devenish Ford
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


At the current moment the Yosemite fire is only 30% contained. Here in Reno, Washoe Valley, the smoke has been extreme at times. Today the air is a little better than yesterday. AND we have had our own lightening-caused fires.


When my children were little we lived on a little over an acre out in the desert, where fires were a constant threat.


Our pediatrician suggested that as I wean my children, I should start them on goat milk, especially in a family with milk allergies. So we got goats. I cannot say how much I loved my goats. Milking time was meditation time. I didn’t have a herd, just two or three at a time. But that was the most precious time for me. I was glad no one of my four kids wanted to do the milking. In the morning they were still in bed, in the evening they were freshly bathed and getting quiet (at least I hoped so) or watching something with their dad. Peace and quiet and smart furry-friends who willingly let me take their milk. I so miss that!


In fifth grade I was best friends with my neighbor. Every day she let me come up and help her take care of the horse and donkey. She once told me that I owned half the donkey. I was pretty excited until the thought struck me–which half? Anyway, we would often go out riding, yes, me on the donkey. One day we were heading down a hill. My friend clicked at her horse to gallop. Hey, I’m game! I clicked and the donkey started to gallop and then stopped suddenly with her head down. I rolled head first off the donkey and down the hill. I wasn’t hurt, except my pride, but that donkey had a gleam in her eye and she smiled–and I swear–she laughed! So did I. I got up and hugged her neck. I loved that donkey!


What in the world did any of this have to do with The Eve Tree? Association. From the moment I started reading the book I was in love with the story, the characters, and the plot. There was so much I could relate to. Rachel Devenish Ford developed a story that was profound yet simple. Her prose often felt poetic in nature. She certain followed the writers’ commandments: Show don’t tell, and Include all the senses. I was so impressed with her writing! There was a point that the main character, Molly, was so tired and frustrated that she ran away to the forest and rather than having her plop on the ground, Rachel included all the feeling and sensations of that plop. She included the feeling of having her sandal pinch her foot. Suddenly I was aware, that is how it feels if you have on sandals and try to get comfortable.


The story was multi-generational and multi-POV. I like reading stories that put you in everyone’s head. This story made me think of my own family. In the book, you can follow the bi-polar genes that put our MC into her own depressions and manic/OCD behaviors that threatened to break up her marriage and her home. My brother and I can trace similar links up our family tree. So that was another angle that I identified with.


Oh, and Molly is a empty-nester. And I was relating to that. Then her mother comes ‘to help’ and we get to see how it feels to be an 81 year old. Brilliant!


AND besides, goats, donkeys, mental-illness, fires and de-nesting, Ms. Ford dealt with something I consider a sticky wicket, her characters had varying degrees of Christianity. And she did it without it feeling pontificating. It was a part of this family and how they lived. Bravo!!!


I will be reading this again and again because I feel enriched as a person and as a writer by reading this amazing book. I see in the reviews a wide variety of views on this. So if you don’t like it I won’t be offended. Maybe you haven’t enough experiences similar to mine or the characters to relate.


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Here are pictures of animals that make me smile and sometimes laugh.


Páramo woolly baby donkey in Chimborazo, Ecuador

Páramo woolly baby donkey in Chimborazo, Ecuador (Photo credit: Wikipedia)    








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