Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
War Trees: A Novel is a contemporary fiction novel written by Louise Draper Colln. Mason’s death was just too much for McKinsey to accept. Their marriage had been so good for her. The two of them coauthored mystery novels under the name, McKinsey Mason, and he had been her rock after a troubled childhood. McKinsey’s mother had always seemed to be dominated by the curse she believed her father had cast upon her. She never told McKinsey much about her childhood, and she told her nothing at all about McKinsey’s own father, whom she had never met, making her wonder if she was illegitimate. Her mom had ended up in a halfway house when McKinsey was still a child, and she had been raised by Miss Spencer, who had been her state-appointed guardian. Spencer had actually left her an insurance policy which had put her through college. Life with Mason was a change from that youthful uncertainty, but the circumstances surrounding his death stripped her even of that reality. Now, two years later, her decision to leave their house and packing her belongings left her wondering about her mother’s past once again. Her mother had told her that she remembered a farm with sharp hills surrounding it and mist-covered trees, and the death certificate stated that she was born in Black Vine, Tennessee. Holly, her friend and literary agent, was helping her pack her belongings and decide what would stay with the house. She also made a suggestion that resonated with McKinsey. The two of them would take a road trip to Black Vine and discover the truth about her mother’s life there. It would be an adventure.
Louise Draper Colln’s contemporary novel of suspense, War Trees: A Novel, takes the reader deep into the hill country of Tennessee as the two young women try to solve the mysteries of the past. I loved the historical touches the author gives this compelling mystery/thriller and happily settled in as Holly and McKinsey start their search at the County Court. Colln’s story delves into the darkness of a dysfunctional family, and the atmosphere of the family home and the War Trees that loom in the distance lend the perfect somber setting for the tale. Following McKinsey as she discovers her family and learns the truth about her parentage is a fascinating look at genealogy, and her efforts to learn to trust once again make this story also work quite well as a romance. Colln’s characters are well-defined and authentic, and her story is superbly plotted. War Trees: A Novel is highly recommended.