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The Wishing Trees

3.66  ·  Rating Details ·  830 Ratings  ·  193 Reviews
Almost a year after the death of his wife, former high-tech executive Ian finds a letter that will change his life. It contains Kate's final wish-a plea for him to take their ten-year-old daughter, Mattie, on a trip across Asia, through the countries they had always planned to visit. Eager to honor the woman they loved, Ian and Mattie embark on an epic journey, leaving not
Paperback, 368 pages
Published September 7th 2010 by Berkley (first published July 29th 2010)
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Community Reviews

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May 25, 2010 John rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
I'm the author, but I do believe that this novel merits five stars. Here's what Wally Lamb, NY Times bestselling author of She's Come Undone, said about it:

"John Shors' The Wishing Trees is an affecting and sensitively rendered study of grief and loss, the healing power of artistic expression, and the life-altering rewards of travel to distant lands. I was deeply moved by this poignant and life-affirming novel."

Here's the back-cover copy for the book:

Almost a year after the death of his wife, K
Oct 11, 2010 Grady rated it it was amazing
'She couldn't soar if she didn't have faith.'

John Shors is a Romanticist - and thank goodness there are still writers like John who are able to continually spin tales that revive the simplicity and beauty of that aspect of living that matters most: Love. Some authors can write romance novels that hold the concentration for the duration of the book. John Shors writes novels of romance that become embedded in the psyche and find a home there where they grow and influence the lives of those fortun
Oct 21, 2011 Cori rated it liked it
Shelves: book-club, fiction
For me the best part of this book was just the idea of the wishing trees, which was something I hadn't heard of before. The detail and imagery of many different parts of Asia were also well done - it was obvious that the author had visited personally or done his homework thoroughly. It almost bothered me, actually, as if the author had this knowledge of different parts of Asia and needed a reason to write a travelogue about it. I could have forgiven that if I enjoyed the characters more. I just ...more
Nov 20, 2010 Darlene rated it it was amazing
I've been a fan of John Shors for a while now. He has such a beautiful way with words that never fails to capture my attention from the beginning of one of his novels to the end. The Wishing Trees, his latest, is no different. It is a heart felt story of a father and daughter's journey through Asia that heals both their spirits and their hearts.

Ian and his ten year old daughter Mattie are struggling to go on after the death of Kate. She was the glue that held the family together while Ian worked
Feb 02, 2014 Diane rated it liked it
Shelves: foreign-lands, asian
This is a story about a man and his daughter trying to come to terms with the death of a wife and mother. She's asked them to take a trip together through Asia, to all the spots she and her husband saw when they were falling in love. They're to open 6 letters she has written to them each as the travel to each country.

Sound like a tear jerker? That's how it's designed.

I liked the book mostly for its description of some unusual places I know little about.

The father-daughter story is sweet--a li
Aug 19, 2010 MaryAnn rated it it was amazing
Things I liked about this book: Shows the beauty of Asian countries and the people. Author is donating some of profit from book to Arbor Day Foundation which is cool. Has a reader's guide with a conversation with the author as well as questions for discussion. The story drew me in and I looked forward to each country being visited

Things I didn't like so much: The main character, Ian, was a fun character, but I didn't feel that he was very realistic. Not many people go from being a teacher of Eng
Mar 06, 2016 Carey rated it did not like it
I have an unfortunate affliction whereby once a book is started I really can't just up and quit it, no matter how much I want to. AND I WANTED TO SO MUCH. Not sure how this made it onto my kindle. Probably one of those "20 titles to read before you get too old to see" lists or something. Clearly I did not curate effectively.
The characters were uninteresting and one-dimensional. Such a shame for the poor father who was apparently only able to speak in Australian colloquialisms. WE GET IT. HE'S AU
Oct 27, 2011 Amy rated it liked it
Shelves: book-club
My favorite part of this book is the landscapes and imagery. That part of the book was masterfully written and allowed me to feel as though I have been places that in life I most likely will not get to go.
The story is about a father and daughter that are struggling with grief after losing a wife/mother. I struggled with the on going grief in the book. I think it lasted too long. Also the age of the child and how she was portrayed did not match in my opinion. In the book as in life it was through
Apr 21, 2011 Linda rated it it was ok
This book was my least favorite of the books I've read by John Shors. It was just too much grief. I know I've never lost my own spouse, but over and over to read how his gut was torn up was a little too much. The parts about their travels were interesting. It was a little cheesy and trite when they were helping people. I wish it really were that easy. Or maybe it is if you have a never ending supply of money. Oh, well, can't win them all John, better luck next time.
Deanna Drai Turner
Mar 12, 2013 Deanna Drai Turner rated it really liked it
This is a nice book. Heavy subject woven into a delightful journey. Bang, right off, chapter one, our hearts crack. We meet a 10 year old girl whose mother has died from cancer and left her and her father alone to grieve, heal and try to rebuild a life together. The mother left behind a note, for her husband to open on his birthday, about 10 months after her death. In it, she begged him to take their daughter on the trip around the world that they had planned to take for their 15th anniversary. ...more
Nov 18, 2010 Carrie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2010
Almost a year after Ian’s wife Kate dies, he opens a letter from her that makes a request of him. Kate wants Ian to take Mattie, their ten-year-old daughter, on a trip through Asia – a trip that they had planned to all take together, before Kate’s cancer derailed their plans and their lives. Mattie and Ian are treading water, barely keeping their heads afloat in a sea of grief. Ian is learning how to be a father; Mattie is trying to find her place in a world that no longer holds the person she w ...more
I would love to have given this book more stars but I was held off by it's sadness. This novel is beautifully written and brought many tears to my eyes but it was also very hard to read at some points.

This story is about a father and his young daughter, Mattie going to many different parts of the world as a request from their recently deceased Wife/Mother. She sands them to these places where, Ian, the dad, and her has been before their child Mattie was born. She wants them to connect and grow t
Apr 16, 2010 Sydney rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-club
Yet another great read from John Shors! The Wishing Trees is the story of Ian and Maddie... father and daughter picking up the pieces after beloved wife and mother Kate passes away.

Kate sends her family on an amazing journey after her death. She wants Ian to take their daughter to Asia, where Ian and Kate first met and fell in love. Ian struggles with this request, unsure if he should expose Maddie to the poverty of India and Nepal at the same time he is showing her the beauty of Thailand and Ja
Sep 14, 2010 Michele rated it it was amazing
The Wishing Trees is an endearing story about a father and daughter relationship.
Ian's wife Kate passed away about a year ago. Prior to her death, Kate writes a letter to Ian. After reading this letter, Ian and his daughter Mattie go on a journey. They travel away from America and visit several countries. These various places all played and important part in Kate and Ian's life together.
At first, I thought this story was going to be all about traveling. It ended up being so much more!
It is a tou
Katy Budget Books
Nov 16, 2010 Katy Budget Books rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 03, 2011 Lorraine rated it really liked it
I enjoyed reading this book. The premise was sad - Ian & Mattie are traveling throughout Aisa as dying request of their wife/mother. But along the way, we see how they begin to heal and get over the sadness that has engulfed their lives since her death. I loved reading about all the different countries that Ian & Mattie traveled too. I liked that in addition to big tourist attractions, like the Taj Mahal, they also went to lesser known destinations within each country. You really got a f ...more
Sep 22, 2010 Psychmamma rated it it was amazing
As the mother of a little girl, I found this story profoundly moving. I started it yesterday, didn't want to put it down, and couldn't wait for naptime today to finish it! I loved the relationship of Ian & Mattie (father & daughter), their raw honesty as they travel through grief and search for joy, the rich and detailed story of their journeys to other countries, and the wonderful wisdom & goodness that they find in others in their travels.

I highly recommend the book & suggest h
Christa Borne
Nov 29, 2010 Christa Borne rated it it was amazing
This is my favorite read of 2010. It started out sad, but ended up being a story about love and hope.
Jan 05, 2015 Twooks_Sanni rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Volle Punktzahl für Ian und Matti. ♡
Jan 11, 2011 Louise rated it it was amazing
Ian, a former executive and his 10-year-old daughter, Mattie, are grieving for the wife/mother they lost through death ten months ago. The pain of their grief is real and so intense that it is affecting them emotionally, physically and spiritually. Kate was the nail that held this family together and without her that nail is coming lose and the bond between Ian and Mattie isn’t what it used to be. Each of them misses Kate so much that the grief is overwhelming.

Kate had left a birthday package b
May 26, 2010 Marie rated it liked it

I'm a huge John Shors fan, having now read four out of the five novels he's published. I feel an affinity for Shors, since he got engaged to his wife while they were teaching in Japan (similar to my situation with Mike). I especially loved Beneath a Marble Sky and Beside a Burning Sea, and I've recommended those books to (and purchased them for) many friends.

When I began this book, I felt emotionally affected and a bit drained by it. Ian is an Australian b
Unless one has experienced the loss of a loved one, novels about such topics are difficult to critique. Being too harsh makes a reviewer appear insensitive and somewhat cruel, but to falsely praise a story about loss and grief when it does not deserve it does a disservice to potential readers everywhere. Such is the conundrum with John Shors’ The Wishing Trees.

The Wishing Trees’ main premise, a journey between father and daughter, brought about by the dying wishes of the wife/mother, is poignant
Jul 16, 2010 Diane rated it really liked it
The Wishing Trees tells a story of love, loss, grieving and moving on. Ian and his young, ten year-old daughter Mattie, are mourning the loss of Kate, Ian's wife and Mattie's mother. In the months preceding her death, Kate wrote letters which she hoped would bring comfort to Ian and Mattie after she had passed. As Ian's birthday approaches, he discovers a box of film canisters letters, and letters. In the letter that she has instructed him to open first, Kate sends her love to Ian, she tells him ...more
Nov 20, 2010 Tami rated it it was amazing
Endings usually make or break a novel for me. So, it says a LOT about the remarkable storytelling ability of John Shors that I hated the ending of The Wishing Trees yet still give it 5 stars.

This novel about widower Ian and his young daughter Mattie's world journey in the wake of wife and mother Kate's death is absolutely, heart-wrenchingly poignant. I wept at several points in the novel.

Kate's presence lingers on in the novel in just the right way - through letters written before her death -
May 31, 2010 Irene rated it liked it
Shelves: have-a-copy

The redeeming aspects of this book are John Shors exquisite writing, his obviously personal and extensive knowledge of the locales that Ian and Mattie travel to: Japan, Nepal, Thailand, India, Hong Kong, Vietnam, and Egypt, as well as the gentle evocative manner in which he infused the rite of passage within these vastly diverse milieus.

Although Kate, Mattie, and Ian are the main proponents in this narrative, I felt the most memorable characters were those encountered on a life-affirming journey
Mar 19, 2012 Emma rated it it was amazing
Death is painful, especially for ten year old Maddie and her father Ian when their beloved mother and wife passes away. After struggling and coping with his wife's death for a year, old wounds are reopened when he finds his wife's final plea. During their marriage, Ian and his wife Kate had traveled around the world experiencing the joy of new places. Kate asks for Ian and Maddie to travel to the places they had planned to go on their fifteenth anniversary. Unsuspecting of the strange journey a ...more
Nov 02, 2010 Janel rated it liked it
The story of the young daughter and her father appealed to me. Also the mother "guiding" them even after her death was a nice twist to the plot. Each time Ian and Mattie read one of the messages their reaction was different - excitement, trepidation, frustration. I felt like I was grieving for Kate with them. Also I love to explore new countries and the travel part of the plot was fascinating to me as well.

This book has a good message at the end, but most of the time I was reading it I felt sad
Mar 04, 2012 Maddy rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Wishing Trees by John Shors. This book made me smile, laugh, and cry because of it's strong realisitic characters. On a scale of 1 to 10, I would give this book a 9 because of all the great details, sentence and plot fluidity, character description, and overall theme. However, I thought it ended too quickly! I was and still am dying to know what happens to the main characters next. Throughout the book, I could place myself in the scene with the characters, and I ...more
Tracy Phillips
Dec 01, 2010 Tracy Phillips rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a delightful read :o) The book is so thoughtfully written and the author so spot on in regard to his understanding of emotions related to loss. He very succinctly conveys these emotions in both Ian and Mattie, so it is very easy to get attached as you read along.

The plot of the book is also very enduring. The basic plot being that Ian's wife Kate who has passed away requests that he take is daughter on a "worldwide" traveling adventure mostly to places they had been to together as a couple
Oct 04, 2010 Sarah rated it liked it
Ian and his daughter Mattie, are mourning over the loss of Kate, Ian's wife / Mattie's mother. At times, life seems so difficult for Ian, but he has to go on for the sake of Mattie.

After Kate's death, Ian receives a package from Kate. Inside, contains a letter from Kate, where she asks him to take a year-long trip with Mattie to Asia, following their footsteps (Kate and Ian had previously travelled around Asia). There are also 12 canisters inside, 6 for Ian, and 6 for Mattie. They're only suppos
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Madison Mega-Mara...: The Wishing Trees 1 2 Feb 13, 2012 06:04PM  
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Hi, everyone. I hope this message finds people well.

I'm the bestselling author of Beneath a Marble Sky, Temple of a Thousand Faces, Cross Currents, Beside a Burning Sea, Dragon House, and The Wishing Trees. My novels have won multiple awards and have been translated into twenty six languages. I have also spoken (via speakerphone) with more than 3,000 book clubs around the world.

For more informatio
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