Published by William Morrow ISBN 9780062425454
Trade paperback, $15.99, 356 pages
Pair a terrific family story with food, and you can bet it's a book I will be reading. Susan Wiggs' Family Tree tells the tale of Annie Rush, who grew up on a family-owned maple farm in Vermont, and dreams of moving away to pursue a life making documentaries about food.
Annie becomes a big success when she makes a documentary about Martin, a handsome man who owns a food truck in New York City. Her documentary becomes a viral sensation, and Annie ends up producing a hugely popular food show with Martin as the star.
They have a busy, happy life in Los Angeles until a tragedy hits, and Annie ends up back in Switchback, Vermont having to start all over again. The story moves back and forth in time, as we see Annie as a teenage girl, working long hours during maple syrup season, cooking with her beloved Gran, and falling in love with a transfer student.
Wiggs writes such intriguing, real characters, I felt like I knew them as friends. Annie's high school love, Fletcher, is such a great guy. He lives with his single dad, and more often than not is the adult in that family, even more so when his dad faces a traumatic event.
We learn so much in this book too. Wiggs shows the reader how a maple farm works, and how whiskey is distilled (through Annie's friend's family business). I found that endlessly fascinating.
The scenes set in the hospital and rehabilitation center were so well done, as we see how the daily challenges of relearning everything we take for granted can be so stressful.
I love descriptions of food, and there are plenty in here to savor. Annie's rustic cheddar, apple and beer soup that she made in a high school competition had me salivating. Gran's Cabot grated cheese sandwich with spring onions, radishes and mayo on thick bread would be perfect with that.
The description of the Thanksgiving feast that Annie brought to Fletcher and his dad had my stomach grumbling- "free range, organic chicken roasted in sage butter, homemade sweet potato hush puppies with sriracha ketchup, dressing with wild mushrooms and walnuts, garlic mashed potatoes and gravy, brandied cranberry compote and pumpkin pie in a maple pecan shell." Oh my goodness.
(There are two recipes from the book on Susan Wiggs website here.)
Annie's story touched my heart. She is an ambitious, determined, smart woman who loves her family, and when she needed them most, they were there for her. I didn't want to put Family Tree down, and I stayed up way too late last night finishing it. I didn't want it to end, and hope that Susan Wiggs brings us more of Annie's story. If you like the television show This Is Us, then put Family Tree on your TBR list.
Thanks to TLC Tours for putting me on Susan Wigg's tour. The rest of her tour stops are here:
Wednesday, January 10th: Tina Says…
Thursday, January 11th: Literary Quicksand
Friday, January 12th: Based on a True Story
Monday, January 15th: The Sketchy Reader
Monday, January 15th: A Chick Who Reads
Thursday, January 18th: Novel Gossip
Tuesday, January 23rd: As I turn the pages
Thursday, January 25th: Time 2 Read
Monday, January 29th: bookchickdi
Tuesday, February 13th: Rockin’ and Reviewing
Monday, February 19th: Run Wright
Tuesday, February 20th: I Wish I Lived in a Library
Monday, February 26th: Diary of a Stay at Home Mom
Thursday, March 8th: Kritters Ramblings