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|Naseem Rakha is an award-winning broadcast journalist whose stories have been heard on NPR. She lives in Oregon's Willamette Valley.|
On picking this up you might feel it a little bleak for a holiday but it is a powerful and deeply moving tale which I highly recommend. It is a compelling drama about silence, lies and prejudice concerning a murder in the 80s, with the accused now facing execution in 2004. The victim’s mother, strangely obsessed with the murderer, uncovers some ugly truths. Set in Illinois, it jumps around in time but this adds to the suspense as grief, hate and anger rise. Beautifully written.
Irene Stanley thought her world had come to an end when her 15-year-old son, Shep, was murdered in a robbery at their Oregon home. Daniel Robbin, who had spent his teenage years in and out of trouble, gave himself up to the police and was imprisoned in the State Penitentiary. Now, eighteen years later, Robbin is placed on Death Row awaiting a date for his execution. Irene's husband, Nate, has demons from the past of his own which he needs to face, and Shep's sister, Bliss, quickly learns that she too has a part to play in the healing of her family shattered by the tragedy. Irene, having reached the brink of suicide, comes to the realization that to survive she needs to overcome her grief and her hate for Robbin, and that she must face the secrets that she suspects surround Shep's murder. She turns full circle, defying both her family and the church, and finds that she is not only capable of forgiveness for the man who murdered her son, but also she comes to terms with understanding much more about events that happened that fateful afternoon back in Carlton. And perhaps the most painful realization of all, how little they as a family understood Shep. 'For anyone who has ever wondered how forgiveness is possible, even when the pain is overwhelming, wonder no more. Resting Place takes you on a journey you won't soon forget' Sister Helen Prejean author of Dead Man Walking 'If The Crying Tree doesn't make you cry, you have better control over your blubbing than I do. This is an astonishing debut novel.' Richard Madeley, Woman's Own 'If you enjoy reading Jodi Picoult, you'll love Naseem Rakha. These are big themes for a new writer but Rakha knows what she's doing . . . The Crying Tree is, quite simply, a terrific story.' Judy Finnigan, Woman's Own