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The Ghost Tree

by Barbara Erskine

Modern and Contemporary Fiction Relationship Stories Historical fiction Books with reviews by our Reader Review Panel Family Drama Sagas Books of the Month eBooks of the Month Literary Fiction

LoveReading Expert Review of The Ghost Tree

A beautifully written, chilling and riveting story where two stories crash violently together causing a disturbance in time.

A feverishly seductive story, it whispers, cajoles, beckons from history until the past forcefully assaults the present. When Ruth’s estranged father dies she returns to Edinburgh and discovers the hidden diary of her ancestor Thomas Erskine. Fascinated by his story Ruth finds herself in extraordinary danger when she starts to delve into the past. The prologue offers a warning, while the first chapter thoroughly sets the scene in 1760 as 10 year old Thomas witnesses a murder and sees the shadow of the dead man as it leaves the body. Barbara Erskine has based the story on her own family history, she paints a picture with a beautiful delicate balance and inner strength as the drama starts to unfold. Ruth’s story stands resolute in this time, and with a delicious shiver of fear I let the story take me where it willed. I always knew where I was, even as the past pushed ever closer. Spellbinding and gorgeously readable, as all becomes clear The Ghost Tree really is the most perfect title - highly recommended.

Take a look at our Ambassador Book Buzz for The Ghost Tree.

Liz Robinson

The Ghost Tree Synopsis

Before you follow the path into your family's history, beware of the secrets you may find... The new novel from the Sunday Times bestselling author. The past is about to become the present... Ruth has returned to Edinburgh after many years of exile. Left rootless by the death of her estranged father, she is faced with the daunting task of sorting through his possessions. Amidst the dust of her old life, Ruth discovers a hidden diary from the eighteenth century, written by her ancestor, Thomas Erskine. As she sifts through the ancient pages of the past, Ruth is pulled into a story that she can't escape. As the youngest son of a noble family Thomas' life started in genteel poverty, but his extraordinary experiences propel him from the high seas to Lord Chancellor. Yet, on his journey through life, he makes a powerful enemy who hounds him to the death - and beyond. Ruth has opened a door to the past that she can't close, and meets a ghost in her family tree who wasn't invited. She will have to draw upon new friends and old in what will become a battle for her very survival... The inspiration for The Ghost Tree lies in Barbara Erskine's own personal history - branching back to the days of Thomas Erskine, her great grandfather, five times removed. Once again, the Sunday Times bestselling author brings the past to life in vivid, spellbinding colour.

About This Edition

ISBN: 9780008195847
Publication date: 7th March 2019
Author: Barbara Erskine
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Ltd an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 592 pages
Primary Genre Modern and Contemporary Fiction
Other Genres:
Recommendations:

What To Read After The Ghost Tree

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The Ghost Tree Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title.

Another superb book from Barbara Erskine guaranteeing a superb read.

Having read most of Barbara Erskine's books, I must say I find The Ghost Tree to be her best to date. This is one book you won't want to put down once you start reading as it will keep you turning each page from beginning to end.

Barbara writes in her usual own unique style which is free-flowing and totally descriptive in that you are totally engaged with the storyline and feel as if you are also a character in the book itself as Barbara has this gift of drawing the reader into her books.

The story is an excellent read from the beginning to the end and tells of Ruth having found a diary that perhaps with hindsight should have been left where she found it, but unknown to her this find would change her life forever, and not for the best either. She has to deal with some very dark matters and some not very friendly people too and will she find a solution to all the problems thrown at her, the answer to that question is to read this most enjoyable book.

Another successful book by Barbara Erskine

Catherine Bryce

Ghosts, pirates, criminals and voodoo ... All are waiting between the pages of this amazing book. Hold on tight as Erskine takes us on an amazing journey between 18th century England/Scotland and the present day. An absolute must for loyal readers, and if you are new to Barbara Erskine's books this is a great one to start with! Unputdownable.

Another brilliant time slip novel from Barbara Erskine, but this time based on her own family history! Thomas Erskine comes to life brilliantly, first as a small boy, then as a grown man and father, in eighteenth century England and Scotland. We are pulled effortlessly into the atmosphere and customs of the time, as the action switches between there and the present day. Ghosts, pirates, criminals, voodoo ... this exciting and enthralling story has it all. Highly recommended for both loyal and new readers. I couldn't put it down!

Lizzy Dingemans

Another excellent book from the number one time-slip novel author. The present day and the 18th century running side by side in an extremely interesting approach to sharing ancient family history with the populace!

I love Barbara Erskine's books. Her writing is so effortless to read and keeps you turning the pages, long after you should really have been going to sleep.

Her latest novel is written this time with a different slant and based on a past revered ancestor (her 5 x great grandfather Thomas Erskine) which was very interesting and she has done so much research to put the flesh on the bones of the stories which were passed down through her family about him.

I did find this novel a bit harder to get into initially but after a few chapters it started to sort itself out and I was off. She slips easily from the past to the present and back again, often from one section to another within the same chapter so I did sometimes find myself having to re-read a few lines again because I'd been 'caught out'! I really got engrossed in Thomas's story and probably found it more interesting than the present day story running alongside unfortunately.

My only 'regret', for want of a better description, is that whilst Andrew Farquhar is a nasty piece of work, both alive and dead, this book didn't 'scare' me or send shivers down my spine in the way some of her previous novels have, such as Midnight Is A Lonely Place or House Of Echoes which I loved. But I would still recommend The Ghost Tree and I'll be waiting impatiently for Barbara's next book to be released which can never be soon enough for me.

JUDITH WARING

Once again Barbara Erskine has written a novel that will keep the reader enthralled and reading into the early hours. This time, her inspiration has come from her own family history. A perfect book for the long Winter nights.

Present day Edinburgh, and Ruth has returned back to her roots, following the death of her father. While she is looking through all the boxes he has left behind she finds an old diary from the 18th century, belonging to Thomas Erskine, as she reads, Ruth becomes consumed with wanting to find out more about him.

Thomas came from a rather noble family. As he was the youngest son, his life is anything but extrodinary. As Ruth reads the diary, she starts to feel she is not alone, and the dreams are not helping. Is Thomas sending her messages in her dreams? Who is the vile prescence she feels around her. Is it strong enough to attack? Looking for answers she enlists the help of her friends Harriet and Fin, a celebrated Chef, add to the mixture Timothy, the starnge man, who cared for her father, and claims to be her half brother, is he who he claims to be?

The Ghost Tree has everything you could wish for: ghosts, seances, handsome heros and strong women. Once again Barbara, has written a fantastic thrilling book, one that is based loosley on her own ancestors. A book for the long Autumn / Winter evenings.

Angie Rhodes

Ghosts, pirates, criminals and voodoo ... All are waiting between the pages of this amazing book. Hold on tight as Erskine takes us on an amazing journey between 18th century England/Scotland and the present day. An absolute must for loyal readers, and if you are new to Barbara Erskine's books this is a great one to start with! Unputdownable.

Another brilliant time slip novel from Barbara Erskine, but this time based on her own family history! Thomas Erskine comes to life brilliantly, first as a small boy, then as a grown man and father, in eighteenth-century England and Scotland. We are pulled effortlessly into the atmosphere and customs of the time, as the action switches between there and the present day. Ghosts, pirates, criminals, voodoo ... this exciting and enthralling story has it all. Highly recommended for both loyal and new readers. I couldn't put it down!

Lizzy Dingemans

The past is already written. Is it safe to read or will you find more than you bargained for?

Everyone who is in to time slip will be waiting impatiently for this novel to hit the shelves. Using details from her own Scottish family members, Barbara Erskine takes the reader on a fictional journey of suspense and intrigue, with a mix of the supernatural. Present day character Ruth discovers a diary written by her eighteenth-century ancestor, Thomas Erskine and, as she immerses herself into the tale, she discovers the past is never very far away. This story about a reader of a story will have you hooked and, at the same time, looking over your shoulder - just in case. Although it is not one of her really scary books, it will draw you in and you will be glad of the book’s length as you won’t want it to end. If like me, you are a lover of Erskine books, you won’t need an excuse to buy this book. If you are yet to be initiated, you have a treat in store.

Lynn Johnson

Another excellent book from the number one time-slip novel author. The present day and the 18th-century running side by side in an extremely interesting approach to sharing ancient family history with the populace!

I love Barbara Erskine's books. Her writing is so effortless to read and keeps you turning the pages, long after you should really have been going to sleep.

Her latest novel is written this time with a different slant and based on a past revered ancestor (her 5 x great grandfather Thomas Erskine) which was very interesting and she has done so much research to put the flesh on the bones of the stories which were passed down through her family about him.

I did find this novel a bit harder to get into initially but after a few chapters it started to sort itself out and I was off. She slips easily from the past to the present and back again, often from one section to another within the same chapter so I did sometimes find myself having to re-read a few lines again because I'd been 'caught out'! I really got engrossed in Thomas's story and probably found it more interesting than the present day story running alongside, unfortunately.

My only 'regret', for want of a better description, is that whilst Andrew Farquhar is a nasty piece of work, both alive and dead, this book didn't 'scare' me or send shivers down my spine in the way some of her previous novels have, such as Midnight Is A Lonely Place or House Of Echoes which I loved. But I would still recommend The Ghost Tree and I'll be waiting impatiently for Barbara's next book to be released which can never be soon enough for me.

Judith Waring

Once again Barbara Erskine has written a novel that will keep the reader enthralled and reading into the early hours. This time, her inspiration has come from her own family history. A perfect book for the long Winter nights.

Present day Edinburgh, and Ruth has returned back to her roots, following the death of her father. While she is looking through all the boxes he has left behind she finds an old diary from the 18th century, belonging to Thomas Erskine, as she reads, Ruth becomes consumed with wanting to find out more about him.

Thomas came from a rather noble family. As he was the youngest son, his life is anything but extraordinary. As Ruth reads the diary, she starts to feel she is not alone, and the dreams are not helping. Is Thomas sending her messages in her dreams? Who is the vile presence she feels around her? Is it strong enough to attack? Looking for answers she enlists the help of her friends Harriet and Fin, a celebrated Chef, add to the mixture Timothy, the strange man, who cared for her father, and claims to be her half brother, is he who he claims to be?

The Ghost Tree has everything you could wish for: ghosts, seances, handsome heroes and strong women. Once again Barbara has written a fantastic thrilling book, one that is based loosely on her own ancestors. A book for the long Autumn / Winter evenings.

Angie Rhodes

Another superb book from Barbara Erskine guaranteeing a superb read

Having read most of Barbara Erskine's books, I must say I find The Ghost Tree to be her best to date. This is one book you won't want to put down once you start reading as it will keep you turning each page from beginning to end.

Barbara writes in her usual own unique style which is free-flowing and totally descriptive in that you are totally engaged with the storyline and feel as if you are also a character in the book itself as Barbara has this gift of drawing the reader into her books.

The story is an excellent read from the beginning to the end and tells of Ruth having found a diary that perhaps with hindsight should have been left where she found it, but unknown to her this find would change her life forever, and not for the best either. She has to deal with some very dark matters and some not very friendly people too and will she find a solution to all the problems thrown at her, the answer to that question is to read this most enjoyable book.

Another successful book by Barbara Erskine

Catherine Bryce

Devastating family secrets forms the basis for this interesting and complex family drama.

After her father’s death Ruth returns to the family home in Edinburgh only to find that there is someone there who wishes to infiltrate every aspect of Ruth’s life and even though her relationship with her family has been difficult, and more especially with her father, Ruth is really unhappy to learn that there are details about her family of which she knew absolutely nothing. Further exploration into her family’s dark past reiterates just how many secrets have been hidden.

As with all of this author’s previous work there is a definite shifting of time and very cleverly the story moves between the present and the eighteenth century, and as it does so a dark and ghostly atmosphere starts to pervade. The author writes with authority because in creating The Ghost Tree she has dipped into her own rather complicated family history and, in doing so, has written an emotionally charged story which is based on factual historical evidence.

To be honest I found the historical aspects of the story rather stronger that the present day story but taken as a whole I thought that the content of the book had a real authenticity to it and all credit to the author for using her own family history in order to create such a fascinating dual time narrative.

Josie Barton

Barbara Erskine Press Reviews

Praise for Sleeper's Castle -

`Sleeper's Castle is a haunting tale, confirming that Barbara Erskine remains the mistress of the time-slip novel' Acclaimed historian and novelist, Alison Weir

`Captivating . . . Beguiling ghosts that whisper to us from the past and seek to stamp their will upon the present' Richard and Judy bestseller, Rachel Hore

`Evocative and haunting, [I was] every bit as captivated as I was when I was swept away by Lady of Hay' Sunday Times bestselling author, Elizabeth Chadwick

More praise for Barbara Erskine -

`Her forte is mood, atmosphere and the toe-curling frisson' Elizabeth Buchan, Sunday Times

`Barbara Erskine's storytelling talent is undeniable' The Times

`Marvellous escapist stuff' Woman and Home

Other editions of this book

ISBN: 9780008195847
Publication date: 07/03/2019
Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9780008195816
Publication date: 23/08/2018
Format: Hardback

ISBN: 9780008195830
Publication date: 23/08/2018
Format: Ebook

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About Barbara Erskine

Barbara Erskine was our Guest Editor in July 2012 - click here - to see the books that inspired her writing. An historian by training, Barbara Erskine is the author of thirteen novels, at once demonstrating her interest in history and the supernatural, plus four collections of short stories. Her books have appeared in at least twenty-six languages. Barbara’s first novel, Lady of Hay, has sold over three million copies worldwide to date. She lives in Hay-on-Wye.   Author photo © Karolina Webb

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