Under the Weeping Willow

Sheltering Trees

Christian - Historical Fiction
327 Pages
Reviewed on 10/08/2021
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Jenny lives in Wisconsin with her husband, Ken, and their pet Yorkie, Ruby. She is also a mom and loves being a grandma. She enjoys many creative pursuits but finds writing the most fulfilling.

Jenny’s favorite place to relax is by the western shore of Lake Superior, where her novel series, By The Light of the Moon, is set. She deems a cup of tea and a good book an essential part of every day. When not writing, Jenny can be found reading, tending to her many houseplants, or piecing quilt blocks at her sewing machine.

Her new historical fiction, four-part series entitled, Sheltering Trees, is set in the area Jenny grew up in, where she currently lives, and places along Minnesota’s Northern Shore, where she loves to visit. She is currently writing a four-part novella series entitled: Botanical Seasons.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Christian Sia for Readers' Favorite

Set in two timelines, in 1918 and 1985, Under the Weeping Willow: Sheltering Trees by Jenny Knipfer is a historical Christian narrative that follows the relationship between two compelling female characters. Robin Holcomb is happily married to Willis, but then Willis leaves her and their unborn child to fight WWI. Robin suffers from post-partum depression after giving birth, barely struggling not to take her own life. In 1985, Enid Fenton uncovers an old diary as she prepares her mother’s family house for sale. Her mother’s diary entries reveal a secret she has never known and one that has been behind the strained relationship with her mother. Can she muster the courage to face her mother and make peace with her before Alzheimer’s sets in?

A gorgeous storyteller, Jenny Knipfer has the gift of blending strong imagery with vivid emotions to capture readers' hearts in this spellbinding story. The setting is well-written, the rural backdrop of Wisconsin in 1918 is beautifully rendered, and the strong hints of WWI and its effects on the characters are skillfully written. In Under the Weeping Willow: Sheltering Trees, the characters come to life, and the author is deft in exploring the emotional and the psychological conflicts, allowing readers a strong feel of the characters' psyches. As the reader follows the characters, they are anxious as they look forward to the moment of peace between daughter and mother. The suspense is intense, the drama persistent, and the conflict moves the story in unexpected directions. It is troubling and endearing at times, but it will keep any fan of Christian fiction and women’s novels reading to the end.

Divine Zape

Under the Weeping Willow: Sheltering Trees by Jenny Knipfer is an intricately plotted and engaging story that follows the relationship between two compelling characters and how tragedy defines the dynamics of that relationship. In 1918, while she is pregnant, Robin Holcomb’s husband leaves her to go to war. Plunged into uncertainty, she suffers from postpartum stress and depression after giving birth and wonders if she will ever see her husband again. In 1985, Enid Fenton sends her mother to a nursing home and prepares their farmhouse for sale. In the process, she stumbles upon her mother’s diary entries, and while reading through, she makes a disturbing discovery. It might just be the reason why her relationship with her mother has always been a difficult one. Can she make peace with her mother and find understanding before Alzheimer’s sets in?

Your heart will race as you read this story. Your emotions will be stirred. You will find it hard to hold back the tears. Under the Weeping Willow: Sheltering Trees is a story written from the heart which will take readers into the souls of two unique women. It is as affecting as any work of dramatic fiction can be. The sophistication in the character development is skillfully handled, and while both Enid and Robin are realistic characters, they are presented with an emotional conflict created by loss and deep human pain. Fans of Christian literature and women's fiction will adore Jenny Knipfer’s work. It is passionate, steadily paced, and filled with intense, emotional moments. The prose is exquisite; the descriptions are terrific; the setting well-written to feel like part of the reader’s world.

Tammy Ruggles

Under the Weeping Willow: Sheltering Trees by Jenny Knipfer is an emotionally deep historical novel about the lives, secrets, and love between a mother and daughter. This compelling family drama starts in 1983 but has origins in 1918 when a couple named Robin and Willis marry. He goes off to war, leaving his wife, who is with child, to do the best she can. When the child is born, postpartum depression sets in and it leads to near suicide. She is broken and tortured, and she realizes that Willis may not survive and make it home to her. Move forward to the mid-80s, when Robin's daughter Enid is taking care of end-time matters concerning her mother's house and belongings. She already feels guilty for placing her mother in a nursing facility, but the discovery of her mother's diary sheds light on a secret that's caused some tension between them over the years. Now that she knows, it may be Enid's last chance to reconnect with her mom as Alzheimer's is closing in on her.

You don't have to be a fan of Christian historical fiction or family dramas to like this novel. Jenny Knipfer has created a story that crosses many genres and will appeal to those who love poignant epics about complex characters, engrossing plots, relatable situations, and a satisfying ending. As you read, you'll find yourself immersed in the highs and lows of these characters' lives. I like that this book is about real-life issues that almost anyone can relate to, but trigger warnings apply to those who may be upset by subjects such as attempted suicide and psychological issues. This author's writing is personal and involving and I enjoy stories that unfold naturally and not so predictably. The style keeps you locked into the pages, hearts, and minds of the characters, leaving you to wonder what you would do and how you would feel in similar circumstances. For an immensely entertaining and thought-provoking historical Christian novel, I highly recommend Under the Weeping Willow: Sheltering Trees by Jenny Knipfer.