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The Sweet Gum Tree

4.35 of 5 stars 4.35  ·  rating details  ·  15,435 ratings  ·  2,106 reviews
Sweet tea, corn bread, and soup beans—everyday fare for eight-year-old Alix French, the precocious darling of a respected southern family. But nothing was ordinary about the day she met ten-year-old Nick Anderson, a boy from the wrong side of town. Armed with only a tin of bee balm and steely determination, Alix treats the raw evidence of a recent beating that mars his bac...more
Paperback, 314 pages
Published November 1st 2005 by Cerridwen Press (first published May 12th 2005)
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Fifty Shades Freed by E.L. JamesNever Too Far by Abbi GlinesKiss an Angel by Susan Elizabeth PhillipsPerfection by R.L. MathewsonThe Sweet Gum Tree by Katherine Allred
Best Accidentally Pregnant in Romance Novels
5th out of 452 books — 1,325 voters
Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuireFifty Shades of Grey by E.L. JamesThoughtless by S.C. StephensBared to You by Sylvia DayFifty Shades Darker by E.L. James
Intense And "Angsty" Romance
60th out of 1,530 books — 5,094 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Aestas Book Blog
5.5 stars

"You're the only one I've ever wanted, Alix, the only one I'll ever want. That's a promise."

Oh WOW !!! What a BEAUTIFUL, AMAZING book!! Love! love! love!!

I'm a mess - it was an intense, utterly riveting book that I literally could not put down, that kept my heart racing, kept me near tears for a good chunk of it, that had me hanging off of every word that I read, and the story just ripped my heart out but yet still had a very sweet ending.

The writing was beautiful and flowed effor...more
Kristin (KC)

Books like The Sweet Gum Tree are why I love to read. Filled with beauty, symbolism, heartache, forgiveness, redemption, and an undying love all around—this ultimate love story turned out to be one of the greatest books I've ever read!

Since the synopsis for this book is generous and intriguing enough, I don't feel a summation of the story here is necessary. But I will say that each and and every one of these characters had been broken and slowly redeemed and held a special place in...more
Blacky *Romance Addict*

He brushed my hair back. “You’re the only one I’ve ever wanted, Alix, the only one I’ll ever want. That’s a promise.”

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“God, I can’t lose you again.” His whisper was harsh, filled with pain. “Not now, when I’ve waited so long to hold you. I think it would kill me. But I’m so damn scared you’ll hate me when you find out the truth.”

This was both heartbreaking and sweet <3
Amazing romance that spans decades, from childhood sweethearts to adult intense love.

The story

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“I didn’t want to stop. It s
5 Beautiful Stars!

If you are like me, and have just had this book sitting on your e-reader for months and haven’t gotten around to it, do yourself a favor and bump it to the top of your TBR list! Such an amazing, beautiful, sweet, and at times- heartbreaking story.

Alix and Nick (as adults)

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Alix French and Nick Anderson both grew up in the same small town. They meet when Alix is 8 and Nick is 10. Alix comes from a good family. She lives with her grandfather ‘Judge’, her mama and her two aunts....more
Natalie ♥for the love of TBH♥
★★★★★ ! The Sweet Gum Tree (stand alone) by Kathrine Allred gets 5++ STUNNING and GLORIOuS STARS!

You have to read this UTTERLY MAGNINIFICENT book!! Nick and Alix's love story will compell you like no other. This is the book I have wanted to read since I can't even remenber. What I loved most about it was all the emotions it induced in me...but most of all, I could not get enough of Nick, Alix and their love...

This is one of the, hands down, most beautiful books I have ever read. It is actually o...more
Smitten's Book Blog

Dumbfounded. Gobsmacked. Speechless. Blown away. Overwhelmed... <<< That was me after finishing The Sweet Gum Tree at 3am this morning.

What an absolutely stunning book! I picked it up yesterday afternoon and didn't put it down until the very last page. Absolutely amazing. There aren't enough adjectives for me to express how much I loved this book.

I cried. Quite a lot. You know when you're reading a book and you know you're going to get your heart broken, but you just can't help turn th...more
Annie Brewer
OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG *deep breaths*
Holy shit....that was THE BEST EFFING BOOK I've EVER read....hands down!!!! TWENTY stars. Omg I have a headache and my eyes are sore from the fifty million full on sobs I did.

I shall have a full review soon....


If I could give this book EVERY star in the world, I certianly would. My emotions are still raw after finishing thi...more
Sharon ✽ is an emotional book junkie ✽
I. Could. Not. Put. This. Book. Down!!!

If you're in the mood for a gripping, emotional roller coaster love story, then this is the book for you. But I'm exhausted!! Not just from staying up late because I couldn't put the book down but also from the emotional drain this book puts you through! But it's so worth it!

The story is about the growing friendship of Alix and Nick. They first meet when Alix is eight years old and Nick is ten. Alix is from a decently wealthy, high moral family and Nick is...more
When I started the Sweet Gum Tree I knew from the moment I read the first paragraph that I was in for an exceptional book, and I was right. The 1st person narrative of "Alix French," the heroine, was soothing with her descriptive, velvet tone of life in a small Arkansas town. Her story begins when she is 8 years old and meets the 10 year old hero, "Nick Anderson." Nick is from the wrong side of the tracks, with a disasterous family life of only a father, who is the "town drunk," and who arbitrar...more

The Sweet Gum Tree is an emotional, gripping tale of a love so raw and bittersweet that will leave you breathless. This will grab your heart and take it on one fantastic ride.


This is beautifully written, with characters that are realistic and wonderfully flawed. For all you romance fans, you can't go wrong with this. I highly recommend it!
Elizabeth (Liz)
Okay then. Do NOT try reading this story without at least two boxes of Kleenex by your side. And, prepare for emotional exhaustion when you're finished (though, in the very best way). It's sweet, funny, endearing, heartbreaking, and ultimately full of love. It's truly an emotion-driven masterpiece, in my humble opinion. This story draws you in so deeply that it's a shock to the system when you emerge back into real life. As a story, it attracts and satisfies because we are all emotional creature...more
Rosalinda *KRASNORADA*

I just want to cry until I fall asleep!

What a beautiful journey, I don't know how to review this book.

Nick, you'll ALWAYS have a place in my heart (yeah, you'll have to share it with more guys but I promise you'll have a special place).

Alix, I am kinda mad at you now but I love you anyway.

Jenna, I want to read your story with (view spoiler)


REVIEW TO COME if I can stop crying...
*Buddy read with Rachel. You can read her review here.*

"No one should have to go through life with only half a heart."

I usually judge my novels on the basis of: 1) how well I liked the characters, 2) how much I enjoyed reading about them, and 3) how emotional I felt on their behalf, or CEE (Characters, Enjoyment, and Emotions) for short.

Characters - 3.5 stars:

The characters are well-rounded and real, but the only problem is that I didn't like any of them.

I didn't like Alix because I couldn't i...more
Alexis *RealityBites! Let's Get Lost!*
Spoiler Free Review
Genre: Adult Romance

-->Read This Book!!! It's A MUST READ!!

THIS IS ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS I HAVE EVER READ!!!! I wept like a baby when i finished this book. I consider this a must read, it kind of reminds me of Beautiful Disaster b/cause the book summary barely scratches the surface of what this book is about. The author manages to take you on this journey that will completely suck you in. I fell in love with all the characters both main and secondary and i needed to...more
The Sweet Gum Tree started out brilliantly. Expertly setting the scene of smalltown livin in the deep south, I was hooked. Even more so when little Alix French befriends a boy from the wrong side of the tracks by introducing him to her favorite books. They become a fierce unit and it’s easy to see they are destined soul mates. I loved Nick and Alix. Together. Apart? Not so much, because they were stupid. Period. When things begin to happen to keep them apart, the book fell apart for me too.


This review was posted at My Secret Romance

To sum it up: Eight-year-old Alix French, is the precocious darling of a respected southern family. But nothing was ordinary about the day she met ten-year-old Nick Anderson, a boy from the wrong side of town. Armed with only a tin of bee balm and steely determination, Alix treats the raw evidence of a recent beating that mars his back, an act that changes both of their lives forever. Through childhood disasters and teenage woes, they cling together as...more
Natasha is a Book Junkie
Hands down, the most ENJOYABLE book I have read this year. I know that I say that a lot and I do read a lot of incredible books but I guess the reason why I am making such a statement about this particular book is because it had me from the first page. I was smiling from the moment I started reading it because I immediately had a gut feeling that I was going to love it. It was just my kind of book from the get-go.

The more I kept reading, the more I was certain that it was going to be a heart-wre...more
Lisa Jayne
This story was beautiful, a true honest to the heart love story. The author could not have allowed the reader to feel, hurt or love more than if it was actually happening to yourself.

The character development was so thorough and captivating. The story had a depth and flow. It broke my heart and then picked it right up again.

This is a story that has sat collecting dust on my TBR shelf since joining Good reads. On My usual quest to find a 5 star book, my friend Anna recommended that I read this w...more
♡Karlyn P♡
I think they call this kind of a book a 'sleeper', where it slowly creeps into popularity one review at a time until it becomes a bona fide and popular hit. Written in 2002, published in 2005, and it just now seems to be finding its reading public. In the last year this book was recommended repeatedly both here and at Amazon, and I am so glad to have read it. Simply wonderful, and what a surprising and strong epilogue! Sniff, sniff...

I thought it lived up to the hype. If you like historicals wit...more
Jul 20, 2012 valee rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: EVERYBODY
Recommended to valee by: Tom
Eight-year-old Alix French knew since the first time she set eyes on Nick Anderson that he would be EVERYTHING she would ever really need in her life. With a recognized and respected Judge as her grandfather (and father figure) her morale was more than outstanding, so how not to make her life-plan to save little Nick Anderson from every injustice life put on his path?
Son of the well-known town drunk, Nick knew and was very sure that life would never be meaningful for him,would ne...more
*~*~*~*4.5 Sweet Gummy Stars!*~*~*~*
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“You can’t turn love on and off like a light switch, no matter how hard you try. All you can do is wall it off, one brick at a time, until you’ve created an impenetrable fortress around your emotions. And once that fortress is built, you camouflage it so well that even you can’t see it anymore.”

I procrastinated for months not reading this wonderful gem of a book due to the cover. Honestly, I was expecting some...more
I am totally and utterly exhausted this book is one HELL of an emotional roller coaster!! Review to come when I've had some sleep and I've finished bawling my eyes out! I'm a complete and utter mess and need to be alone for a while but damn this book is freaking AMAZING!


Okay I had some sleep and in all seriously I really don't know where to begin with this review. I don't think I need to summarise the book, it is too deep and complicated and I would not be able to st...more
This is the story of Alix French, a vivacious, outgoing girl who, at 8 years old, befriends a quiet 10-yr-old boy from the wrong side of town.

This is the story of Nick Anderson, the abused son of an alcoholic who allows a cute little girl in pigtails to tend to the welts on his back..happy to have his first real friend.

This is a story of betrayal & redemption...of the joys life brings and the sadness death leaves in its wake. It is a story of shattered dreams and finding strength to rebuil...more
This is going to be a difficult one for me to write, because I was absolutely floored by this book and I know I will not be able to do it justice. I had put this book off because it was just flying under the radar for me, not one I was dying to get to but I knew I wanted to read it soon. I am so, so glad that I decided to read it this weekend, and I'm kicking myself for waiting so long and not getting to experience this amazing story sooner!!

I must give Katherine Allred her due credit, because s...more
For making me cry last night ill give this one 10++++ stars!!!

“You can’t turn love on and off like a light switch, no matter how hard you try. All you can do is wall it off, one brick at a time, until you’ve created an impenetrable fortress around your emotions. And once that fortress is built, you camouflage it so well that even you can’t see it anymore.”

I LOVE LOVE it so much! Alix saved Nick from his abusive father by giving him home and curing his wounds. They develop this closeness that tur
Sophie ♥

Two young hearts broken, a passionate earth-shattering reunion and an ending as satisfying as world peace...

This book was the definition of perfect.
It was absolutely flawless - from the writing to the plotline and the characters. Until a few days ago I hadn't even heard of Katherine Allred but by some stroke of luck I followed a link to this book and boy am I glad I did! I was completely blown away by it. I think now it might just be my second all time favourite book. I already can't wait to re...more
LOVED IT!! I can see why it was a favorite for so many people. I read it in one sitting, staying up until the wee hours of the morning. Even when I was done, I kept thinking about the book and all the wonderful characters, especially Nick and Alix. The story just grabs you from the first page and doesn't let go of you until the end, and even then I wished there was more. It was roller coaster ride of joy and heartache. This is one book that you can read over and over.
Aug 13, 2012 ♥Rachel♥ rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to ♥Rachel♥ by: Read-along with Dija

This story spanned twenty-five years, from a sweet childhood friendship and romance, to an all-consuming love story.

This story begins when eight-year old Alix first meets ten-year old Nick. From then on, their lives are irrevocably connected when Alix decides to save Nick from his abusive and neglected existence by molding him into her world and family.

”In hindsight, I suspect that was the day my crush on Nick started. I was only eight and I didn’t understand love and desire, would have thoug...more
This book was very frustrating. It read almost like fiction it was so emotionally wrenching, but it also had one of the stupidest Big Misunderstanding plots I’ve ever read, and a really weak characterization particularly on the hero’s part. Maybe it was because the book was written in first person, but while the heroine was really well drawn, the hero acted like a dim-wit and not at all like the man he was supposed to be.

The hero is described as smart, admirable and crazy in love with the heroin...more
 Lady Jayne *~*The Beach Bandida*~*
4 - 4.5 Stars

Also reviewed at: Lady Jayne's Reading Den

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“Growing up in the Crowley Ridge area of Arkansas, I paid little attention to the sweet gum trees except to admire their brilliant colors during the fall. And maybe to laugh when the Judge cursed each time he ran the lawn mower over the hard burs they produce, the tiny missiles banging against the house or car with a loud thunk and denting the lawn mower blades he kept so carefully honed
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Katherine Allred was born in Arkansas and spent her formative years there learning to love books at her grandfather's knee. When she was five, her mother remarried and moved them to Michigan, where they stayed for the next ten years. At age fifteen, the entire family moved back home to Arkansas, and she's been there ever since, except for brief stints in other countries and states while her hubby...more
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“You can’t turn love on and off like a light switch, no matter how hard you try. All you can do is wall it off, one brick at a time, until you’ve created an impenetrable fortress around your emotions. And once that fortress is built, you camouflage it so well that even you can’t see it anymore.” 526 likes
“To my surprise, Nick reached under his shirt and pulled out the half-heart pendant. With his gaze fixed on mine, he slid the chain over my head. “No one should have to go through life with only half a heart,” he whispered.” 129 likes
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