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The Memory Trees

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3.79  ·  Rating details ·  359 Ratings  ·  111 Reviews
The Memory Trees is a dark magical realism novel about a mysterious family legacy, a centuries-old feud, and a tragic loss that resurfaces when sixteen-year-old Sorrow returns to her mother’s family orchard for the summer.

Sorrow Lovegood’s life has been shaped by the stories of the women who came before her: brave, resilient women who settled long ago on a mercurial apple
...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published October 10th 2017 by Katherine Tegen Books
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blood red roses They mentioned Silence Lovegood's motive behind killing all her children (except one) and Sorrow had a conversation about it with either her sister,…moreThey mentioned Silence Lovegood's motive behind killing all her children (except one) and Sorrow had a conversation about it with either her sister, Patience, or her sister's only friend (I can't remember which.)

At the time of Silence Lovegood, there was some extremely cold weather. From the beginning, the town has always thought that the weather was in some ways connected to the Lovegood family, and whenever a death occurred within the family, the weather would turn horrifyingly brutal and cold, killing all the crops and starving everyone. This weather was referred to as "witch weather."

As the condition worsened and people began to die of sickness and starvation, the Abrams family easily blamed everything on Silence Lovegood, thinking that in getting rid of her, they would take advantage of her land. First, they killed her husband as she stood watching. And then they accused her of witchcraft and sentenced her to hanging.

As she was the only guardian figure for all of her children (and she had about 7 children, I believe) and the mass town was against her for witchcraft, she had no choice (or so she thought) but to kill all her children before she was hanged. As she did, her youngest, Grace Lovegood escaped, and her mother did not find her.

Afterwards, when she was found by the townspeople, her father's family would not take her in, so she was sent to live with an aunt somewhere else. There, she absolutely blossomed into a brilliant young lady, visiting wondrous places such as Paris & France, learning things that both girls and boys should have learned.

All of this was mentioned in the book.(less)
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
blood red roses No one even knew that Patience was gone until the Sheriff came and informed the Lovegood family that there was a fire. It was then that Sorrow went to…moreNo one even knew that Patience was gone until the Sheriff came and informed the Lovegood family that there was a fire. It was then that Sorrow went to check on Patience to inform her of what was going on and found her room empty. Patience was no where to be found, and later, when the police investigated further into it, the person in the fire was confirmed to be Patience. No one knew it was her.

As for Perseverance Lovegood, Sorrow's grandmother mentioning that Sorrow was the one who found her, she was referring to when Verity, Sorrow's mother, overdosed on pills (attempted suicide) and it was Sorrow who was the one who found her.

As for the Lovegood siblings being killed : I'm going to assume you mean the story of Silence Lovegood, who was blamed for the extremely cold weather, referred to as "witch weather". Her husband was killed and she was to be hanged, and in "saving" her children, she killed each of her children before they hanged her (they thought she was the witch controlling the weather.) The one child who escaped was the youngest, Grace Lovegood, who went and hid.(less)

Community Reviews

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Korrina  (OwlCrate)
Sep 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book had some of the best writing I've ever come across, which is why I'm giving it 4 stars, despite it feeling quite slow at times. It was a great story but I feel like it could've been 50 pages shorter. I'm so glad I read it though and I look forward to reading more from this author.
Sarah
(I received an advance copy of this book for free. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.)

“There had been a fire. Patience had died. It was maddening, simplistic, and hollow, but that was all what Sorrow knew.”


This was a contemporary story, about a girl who couldn’t remember the details of her sister’s death 8 years previously.

Sorrow was an interesting character, and I did feel sorry for her when she couldn’t remember the details of her own sister’s death, or even the funeral. Moving to Flo
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Adriana Mather
Mar 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Enchanting graveyard where bodies are marked with twisty old trees, a long history of magical women with more secrets than you can shake a stick at, and a good old creepy mystery. I LOVE THIS BOOK SO MUCH THAT I WANT TO MARRY IT.

I was lucky enough to read an early draft of this beauty and will be buying it the day it comes out. The writing is gorgeous, the tale is gripping, and the haunted forest atmosphere is nightlight worthy. I can't wait!!!
Camille ☼
May 08, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5. That was actually a pretty good read, though it was not perfect. It was pretty slow from time to time and to be honnest I got pretty lost more than once in this huge family tree. I was confusing the characters and their stories which made it sometimes difficult to know what was going on. Also, I don't know about how realistic the story was sometimes. Yes I know, it's a fantasy but even in a fantastic context you can't give me realistic content and sometimes the feud between the two families ...more
Farren
3.5 stars

I was sent an ARC of The Memory Trees by Harper Collins (thank you so much!) but wasn't able to finish it before the book released (sawwy 😞).

Magical Realism is not a genre I ever pick up despite the fact that I keep collecting magical realism books. Which means I have no idea how to rate this one. So here's this: I really enjoyed the story and I think Kali's prose are lovely. As for the cons, I think it was a tad too long for how uneventful it was, there really wasn't any magic, and it
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S.M. Parker
May 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is exquisite—and often times painfully so. Wallace is a masterful storyteller who reveals the secrets of Sorrow’s past with mesmerizing acuity. In truth this is a really difficult review to write because I don’t feel like The Memory Trees was a book at all. Rather, it was an experience—one I lived and breathed—and it shook me so viscerally that it’s hard to step away to reflect on it here. But I want EVERYONE to read it so I’ll say a few things that rocked my world:

There are women in
...more
t.
Dec 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Memory Trees is a haunting, atmospheric, and gripping story. It can be slow at times, but the writing makes even the slow moments quite enjoyable. The story centers on family dynamics and Sorrow’s struggles - with herself, her past, and her families.

Sorrow Lovegood has been living with her dad since the tragic death of her sister, 8 years ago. For all the tragedy and how much Patience’s death marked Sorrow’s life, she doesn’t remember much of it, and it's not a subject neither her dad, nor h
...more
Jenny Moyer
Jul 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful, haunting, and mysterious. I was fortunate enough to read an advance copy of this novel. The writing is so rich and evocative--I found myself re-reading paragraphs just so I could take it in again. This story is richly layered with meaning, the characters deeply drawn. THE MEMORY TREES is utterly immersive, the kind of story that resonates long after the last page is read.
Dreximgirl
Dec 31, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Despite a slow start and to begin with a slightly irritating main character I actually ended up really enjoying the book. The revelations were interesting and I didn't guess them at all. I ended up really liking the story and the development of Sorrow. I'd be interested in reading more from this author.
Alexis  (TheSlothReader)
3.75
Jessica
Jan 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: backlog
Alas, The Memory Trees falls on that odd line that I've found lately between something that enchanted me, and also left me slightly cold. I'll do my best to explain, I promise. It should be noted that I love Magical Realism. There's something beautiful about books that keep one foot firmly rooted in our reality, while exploring something otherworldly at the same time. In this case, I'm just not sure that Sorrow's story really accomplished that as well as I had hoped.

At the core of this story is
...more
Alexandra
Sep 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
Second re-read for the blog tour by the Fantastic Flying Book Club!

I liked the book very much. There is an atmosphere of haunting magic and trees. Sorrow is a really well fleshed out character. Despite the slow pace of the book, I enjoyed the adventure and the mystery the book had. The storytelling is masterful and tragically so too!

I received an e-ARC from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

This was an enchanting read with an amazing diverse cast, realistic characters, and mystery! Tota
...more
Margot Harrison
Reading this book was like stepping into another world, and I loved every second there. It takes place on a piece of rural family property that goes back generations and is imbued with history, joy, sorrow, struggle, and BLOOD (literally).

Wallace's immersive descriptions transported me to the Lovegood orchard, where things don't work quite like they do everywhere else. Weather turns cold to mourn a family loss, and lost objects abruptly reappear. This isn't a full-on paranormal novel like Wallac
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Jenn Bishop
Jun 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A gorgeous tale of two clannish families in the hills of rural Vermont (wait, is there an urban VT?). Sorrow Lovegood's family has owned the same orchard for generations, passed down the matrilineal line. Eight years ago, her older sister, Patience died tragically in a fire and Sorrow hasn't set foot on the orchard since. Strangely, her memories of the time leading up to and just after her sister's death have are inaccessible. Could a trip to VT be exactly what she needs to get to the bottom of ...more
Paula
Jun 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Riveting, masterful. Hard to put down. Glorious setting (creepy apple orchard in Vermont), secrets, a multi-generational family feud, an intriguing mystery. And the gorgeous prose! Wallace is SO good. I loved this book from the first page to the last.
Suzanne Rooyen
Aug 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Loved this!!

This is an intense, exquisite magical realism novel about women, young and old across centuries. The language is beautiful and the characters deftly crafted. If you're looking for a book that has lots of action or romance, look elsewhere. This is a book about a girl trying to figure out who she is and where she comes from through the chaos of teenage emotion and the mist of childhood memory.

I strongly recommend this book for fans of Anna-Marie McLemore and Maggie Stiefvater.


*I receiv
...more
Lauren
Oct 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Going into The Memory Trees, I had high expectations. The majority of the reviews I had seen had been incredibly positive, and the summary made it sound like the sort of book I normally love. I mean, "century-old feud" AND "a mysterious family" legacy?! How can you not be sold by that?

The Result? Beautifully written as well as spellbinding, Kali Wallace's The Memory Trees had me captivated from the first word until the very last.

One of my favorite aspects of The Memory Tree was the writing. Ka
...more
Moon
Oct 17, 2017 rated it liked it
This is a hard book to review. Mostly because it feels very ethereal, almost as if it isn't there. It gives a huge The Disappearances feel but you can't compare stories as they are not the same.

I was glad to have read it but it wasn't my style of book and the ending left me wondering so many things I wasn't so pleased with it. I somehow expected a little more from the ending, as the story kept developing well near the end.
Lois Sepahban
Jul 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I was lucky to read an ARC of THE MEMORY TREES.

Beautiful language, beautiful storytelling. I will definitely read it again.
Stephanie Ward
Oct 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ebook, for-review, owned
'The Memory Trees' is a fascinating new young adult novel full of magical realism and fantasy. The story may not be wholly unique, but the author adds in wonderful details to make it her own and set it apart from the other books like it. One thing I have to point out is the writing style. It's done in the third person, which is my least favorite. I like to have personal connections to the main characters, and this perspective never allows that to happen for me. It always feel like something is l ...more
Jasmine
Jan 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
Sixteen year old Sorrow Lovegood returns to her family Orchard in Vermont after eight years away. Can she piece together her missing memories from her hazy childhood and remember the events that led up to and surrounding her sisters death?

This was a beautifully imaginative and hauntingly melancholy read, with a lot of loss and (aptly enough) sorrow. There were twists and turns throughout Sorrow's story, tying together past and present and delving through old family feuds and history.
The ending w
...more
Femke (booksfemme)
Dec 14, 2017 rated it liked it
This was an enjoyable read. Mostly because I love stories centred around family and set in beautiful landscapes. However, the magical realism of the story didn't always hit the mark for me. There's extensive, detailed descriptions of the weather and the landscape which could get a bit repetitive and boring after a while. Do note that I'm not particularly fond of very descriptive writing - I enjoy some more plot-driven action. Even though the writing was not my cup of tea, I do admit it was beaut ...more
Nikki
Dec 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-box-club
I really enjoyed this. It’s well written and intriguing. The pacing feels a bit slow in places but I really like how that means we get bits and pieces of the history throughout the story. And the ending is a gorgeous way of summing it up.
My only real quibbles were not getting enough information - how is the orchard lined to their family? I definitely also need more on why the family history is so strained between them and the Abrams - I know you get bits but the level of anger over boundary lin
...more
Lauren ✨ (YABookers)
Disclaimer: I received a free copy via Edelweiss for review purposes.

Sorrow has heard stories of the Lovegood women her entire life who settled on an apple orchard in Vermont long ago; stories of their bravery and resilience, and of the centuries-long feud with the family next door. One cold winters night, eight years ago, Sorrow's sister Patience was tragically killed, and Sorrow was sent to live with her father in Miami. Now sixteen years old, Patience finds her memory of her childhood hazy, i
...more
Sonya Mukherjee
Aug 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What a beautiful, enchanting world Kali Wallace has created in The Memory Trees. It's the story of Sorrow Lovegood, who's haunted by personal tragedies that she only half-remembers, and it's also the story of generations of her maternal ancestors, who for centuries have nourished and been nourished by their orchard - a magical, enchanting place, and also a place that can be frightening and dangerous, a source of violent conflict as well as of solace and love. Family history replays itself in way ...more
Kathy MacMillan
May 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Sorrow Lovegood is haunted by her family’s past, so it’s only fitting that Kali Wallace’s beautiful, atmospheric writing will absolutely haunt the reader. Wallace plunks the reader into the rivalries, both petty and great, of Abrams Valley, and explores the ways hatred and anger play out over generations. Sorrow is a girl at a crossroads, needing to process her past in order to move on, but so scarred by it that she has blocked out the parts she most needs to understand. Stories of Lovegood wome ...more
Sandra Mather
May 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This story of 12 generations of Lovegood women living on a parcel of land in Vermont, and their ongoing feud with their neighbors, the Abrams, is wonderful. Wallace's prose is gorgeous and lush. This is a book to savor, with passages I reread multiple times just for the lovely 'feel' of the words. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.
Elisha
Oct 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
THE MEMORY TREES by Kali Wallace is a beautiful new book about family, loss, and how the past infuses the present. With deeply elaborative and inventive prose, this young adult novel fuses together multiple genres. Considered to be magical realism, the story has elements of historical fictions, contemporary dramas, mysteries, and fantasies, making it a truly unique work of art. While it is not a particularly easy read, those searching for an emotional story that features strong female characters ...more
Andrea at Reading Lark
Review Posted on Reading Lark 11/1/17: https://readinglark.blogspot.com/2017...

Sorrow Lovegood hasn't been back to Vermont since she left at eight years old after the death of her older sister, Patience. Sorrow comes from a long line of independent women who have been labeled as witches due to their connection with their orchard and an age old feud with their neighbors, The Abrams. Sorrow's has spent her time since leaving Vermont living with her father and stepmother in Miami, Florida. She has
...more
Samantha (WLABB)
It was quite interesting getting to know Sorrow and the 12 generations of women in her family, as she tries to piece together her sister's final days. This trip through her tangled family tree unfolded through beautiful prose, family vignettes, and flash backs to that ill fated day. My heart ached and broke along with Sorrow's, and although the ending fell a little short for me, I enjoyed this coming of age tale.

•Pro: The writing was so beautiful. Wallace's prose had this magical quality, that
...more
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Sirens Conference: The Memory Trees 1 6 Jul 23, 2018 12:35PM  
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Kali Wallace studied geology and geophysics before she decided she enjoyed inventing imaginary worlds as much as she liked researching the real one. Her short fiction has appeared in Clarkesworld, F&SF, Asimov's, Lightspeed Magazine, and Tor.com. She is the author of the dark, fantastical teen novels Shallow Graves (2016) and The Memory Trees (2017), as well as the middle grade fantasy adventu ...more

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“A memory was a thing with no shape, no mass, but an indescribable weight.” 2 likes
“She was carrying with her, the cold. She was holding on to that icy stone of grief. It had been there all along, sitting high in her chest, and with every step another fissure split through its middle-shivering over the orchard, frosting and melting, seasons flickering around her with the rhythm of her breaths, with the beat of her heart, she and the trees and the earth all part of the same creature.” 1 likes
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