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The Wishing Trees

3.65  ·  Rating Details  ·  774 Ratings  ·  190 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 ...more
ebook, 384 pages
Published September 1st 2010 by New American Library (first published July 29th 2010)
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May 25, 2010 John rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
'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
Jan 10, 2012 Cori rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 24, 2015 Diane rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 20, 2010 Darlene rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 19, 2010 MaryAnn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 18, 2011 Amy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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.
Mar 26, 2016 Carey rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Deanna Drai Turner
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 27, 2010 Carrie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 10, 2010 Sydney rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Kim Miller
I needed a little SE Asia in my life so decided to try another of John Shors novels. I really loved Dragon House - for all of the obvious reasons as well as the fact that I thought it was beautifully written. The Wishing Trees had many of the same beautiful elements but at times it was too deeply sad for me to be able to engage with it. The nonlinear and cyclic nature of grief is echoed throughout the novel but it wasn't a space I wanted to dwell in. The overstated 'Australian-ness' of the main ...more
Sep 27, 2010 Michele rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: darlene
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 07, 2011 Lorraine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 25, 2011 Psychmamma rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 16, 2015 Ragna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Making me reminisce of many friends I made while traveling to ALL (!) the places Mattie and Ian visited in this book, this was a book of Fernweh for me. (Relinquishing the idea that I was ever off the beaten track)
From his detailed descriptions Shors obviously walked the streets of Hoi An, of Kathmandu, Varanasi and Ko Phi Phi (and all the other places this story travels to) and recognizing these places of my past made this a very pleasurable book for me to read.

A kind book, a book of loss and
Christa Borne
Nov 29, 2010 Christa Borne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is my favorite read of 2010. It started out sad, but ended up being a story about love and hope.
Nov 04, 2014 Tami rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 -
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
Nov 14, 2011 Kristin rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I previously read John Shors's book telling the story of the Taj Mahaj and REALLY liked it, and also read one of his books telling a story about an island in Thailand and then the impact of the tsunami (yes I am lousy with book titles, sorry!). So I was really hoping this was another great book. But to be honest, I just did not really enjoy it very much. The main character is Australian and I have to wonder how much experience John Shors has with Australian people.... because they HATE people wh ...more
Mar 22, 2012 Emma rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 06, 2011 Ann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own-it, 2011
It's a sensitive and intense study of loss and grieve. The idea of a journey to revisit places where you've been happy with a loved one appeals to me. Our modern society lacks adequate rituals to cope with loss, grieving and mourning. Everything has to be hush-hush, death is rather not spoken about, it isn't supposed to be a part of our lives. Visiting countries where death is visible and also visibly taking care of can, I'm sure off help your mourning process. The idea of creating new, happy me ...more
Mar 20, 2011 Diane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 05, 2010 Tara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love John Shors' books. I was so excited to read this one. I loved that it explored many different countries and explored the theme of how can we help others. Ian and Mattie are wonderful characters. I really liked them, although Ian was a bit one-dimentional to me. He was almost too perfect in his love and devotion to his wife, Kate, who passed away. In that sense, it was a bit unbelievable. If you are okay with taking that leap that he took his daughter on a trip to across the world as his d ...more
Tracy Phillips
Dec 15, 2010 Tracy Phillips rated it really liked it
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 11, 2010 Tiffany rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
On the eve of his birthday, Ian finds a letter tucked inside a present left to him by his deceased wife Kate. In the letter Kate makes a final request to Ian, asking that he take their daughter Mattie on the trip across Asia that they had always planned to take on their fifteenth anniversary, revisiting the places where their love first bloomed and grew. Still feeling the immense pain at the loss of his wife, Ian reluctantly agrees to take their daughter Mattie on the journey in honor of her mem ...more
Jan 11, 2011 Louise rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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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
More about John Shors...

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