Monday, August 20, 2012

"This is an engaging read that brings to mind what aging, and family, REALLY are, and what they really are NOT," says Jackie

An extraordinary new voice in contemporary woman’s fiction, Courtney Miller Santo makes her magnificent debut with a novel that will delight fans of Sarah Blake’s The Postmistress, The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd, and the works of Kristin Hannah. Set in a house on an olive grove in northern California, The Roots of the Olive Tree is a beautiful, touching story that brings to life five generations of women—including an unforgettable 112 year-old matriarch determined to break all Guinness longevity records—the secrets and lies that divide them and the love that ultimately ties them together.

Meet the Keller family, five generations of firstborn women—an unbroken line of daughters—living together in the same house on a secluded olive grove in the Sacramento Valley of Northern California. Anna, the family matriarch, is 112 and determined to become the oldest person in the world. An indomitable force, strong in mind and firm in body, she rules Hill House, the family home she shares with her daughter Bets, granddaughter Callie, great-granddaughter Deb, and great-great-granddaughter Erin. Though they lead ordinary lives, there is an element of the extraordinary to these women: the eldest two are defying longevity norms. Their unusual lifespans have caught the attention of a geneticist who believes they hold the key to breakthroughs that will revolutionize the aging process for everyone.

But Anna is not interested in unlocking secrets the Keller blood holds. She believes there are some truths that must stay hidden, including certain knowledge about her origins that she has carried for more than a century. Like Anna, each of the Keller women conceals her true self from the others. While they are bound by blood and the house they share, living together has not always been easy. And it is about to become more complicated now that Erin, the youngest, is back, alone and pregnant, after two years abroad with an opera company. Her return and the arrival of the geneticist who has come to study the Keller family ignites explosive emotions that these women have kept buried and uncovers revelations that will shake them all to their roots.

Told from varying viewpoints, Courtney Miller Santo's compelling and evocative debut novel captures the joys and sorrows of family—the love, secrets, disappointments, jealousies, and forgiveness that tie generations to one another.

Take a look inside the book HERE.

Jackie says:
"This is a thought invoking tale of a family of long-lived women—6 generations in fact. The matriarch, Anna, 112 at the start of the book, still walks out in the predawn to green olives off of the family trees. Then there's her daughter, Elizabeth, who is 90, and HER daughter Callie in her mid 60s, HER daughter Deb in her 50s, and HER daughter Erin, who is pregnant when we first meet her. These are all extraordinary women who hold even more extraordinary secrets, from each other and sometimes from themselves. The family catches the attention of a scientific researcher who is trying to find the "aging gene", and by looking into their blood, he stumbles on many of those secrets.

This is an engaging read that brings to mind what aging, and family, REALLY are, and what they really are NOT. Buy this book (and buy one for a friend--you'll want to talk about this book as soon as possible), stop at your closest olive bar and stock up, and allow yourself into the world of The Roots of the Olive Tree."

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