Tree of Lives

Fiction - Cultural
468 Pages
Reviewed on 05/07/2023
Buy on Amazon

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Free Book Program, which is open to all readers and is completely free. The author will provide you with a free copy of their book in exchange for an honest review. You and the author will discuss what sites you will post your review to and what kind of copy of the book you would like to receive (eBook, PDF, Word, paperback, etc.). To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email.

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Review Exchange Program, which is open to all authors and is completely free. Simply put, you agree to provide an honest review an author's book in exchange for the author doing the same for you. What sites your reviews are posted on (B&N, Amazon, etc.) and whether you send digital (eBook, PDF, Word, etc.) or hard copies of your books to each other for review is up to you. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email, and be sure to describe your book or include a link to your Readers' Favorite review page or Amazon page.

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Donation Program, which was created to help nonprofit and charitable organizations (schools, libraries, convalescent homes, soldier donation programs, etc.) by providing them with free books and to help authors garner more exposure for their work. This author is willing to donate free copies of their book in exchange for reviews (if circumstances allow) and the knowledge that their book is being read and enjoyed. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email. Be sure to tell the author who you are, what organization you are with, how many books you need, how they will be used, and the number of reviews, if any, you would be able to provide.

Author Biography

I think many folks, especially artists like me, suffer from the fallout from the undiagnosed mental illness of others. For example, when I found out there was a mass murderer in my family, I wasn't the least bit surprised. Luckily for me, my artwork served as an escape hatch and a pathway to document the rawness of that tightly packed energy which sought release.

I like to play golf. But sometimes my ball goes way off into another fairway and the rest of the journey to the cup is the arduous correction to make it to the place where I once belonged. Ruth's life (and mine) in Tree of Lives takes a very similar tack - the journey to the happy place I had in mind, but in a parallel universe compared to everyone I know.

I am not a writer who likes to do art. Rather, I am an artist who wrote a book. I started out my career as an illustrator but learned layout and art direction in order to get a better salary -- albeit always less of a salary because I was a woman and even more less because I lacked a college degree. With two babies to raise (three, counting perpetually un- or underemployed mates), I took what I could get and tried as hard as I could. As for the rest of my bio, read Tree of Lives. It's all there.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite

Tree of Lives, written by Elizabeth Garden and with artwork by Barbara Brose, is a work of women's fiction in a hybrid historical-contemporary setting that follows the account of one woman's journey to self-empowerment in the face of immense adversity. Through the detailed life of Ruth and with a deeply intimate look at her family, Garden explores the intricacies of familial connections and the profound impact of buried secrets on future generations. The book deftly navigates between the early 1900s tale of Raymond and Ruth's present-day story, weaving together the threads of their emotional narratives with a remarkable and cataclysmic outcome that dredges up a deeply haunting history. Ruth's layers of pain stem from beyond an abusive, unstable upbringing that no person should ever be subjected to, and the outlet she uses to shatter the mold is hers alone.

Tree of Lives by Elizabeth Garden is not an easy read, but it is a very worthy one. For centuries women have been exploited at the hands of abusive men, and Ruth's particularly harrowing experiences are sensitively portrayed in Garden's writing. We are able to witness firsthand as Ruth emerges as the most resilient of female protagonists. She will not be silenced. She will not be robbed of her strength. Through Ruth, Garden offers a poignant reminder of the importance of self-empowerment and the courage needed to break free from the shackles of the past. Within each of us, there is a hidden well from which we can draw our power, whether it is filled with art or any other channel of love. Overall, this is a tale that is often painful but equally inspiring and I have no doubt that readers with an interest in complex soul-searching into family secrets and the dynamics they forge will feel the same way. Very highly recommended.