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The Wishing Trees

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  919 ratings  ·  211 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
Paperback, 338 pages
Published September 7th 2010 by Berkley Books (first published July 29th 2010)
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3.67  · 
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 ·  919 ratings  ·  211 reviews

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May 25, 2010 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,
Oct 11, 2010 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
The Dusty Jacket
Jul 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Kate McCray died ten months ago, but her absence remains as fresh and painful for her husband, Ian, and their ten-year-old daughter, Mattie as the day she slipped away from them. Upon her death, Kate leaves a letter for Ian expressing her dying wish: “Be happy. Learn to laugh again. To joke. To wrestle together like you once did. Learn to be free again.” To achieve these things, Kate wants Ian to take Mattie on the trip the two of them intended to make to celebrate their fifteenth anniversary. A ...more
Oct 21, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, book-club
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
Mar 06, 2016 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
Nov 20, 2010 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 rated it liked it
Shelves: asian, foreign-lands
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 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
Oct 27, 2011 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 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 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
Carrie Kitzmiller
Nov 18, 2010 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
Sep 01, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
Apr 16, 2010 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 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
May 03, 2011 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
Katy Budget Books
Nov 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 22, 2010 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 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.
Unrealistic & too cheesy for my taste. It read like a chic-lit instead of emotional tear jerker book.

Apr 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I LOVED this book. It was probably a 4.5 for me, but I rounded up to 5. I'm sad to think I almost didn't read it. The overall reviews turn in a rating that's lower than where I would usually focus my time, so I read tons of the reviews -more than I normally ever would and decided to give it a go. This isn't a 3 star of reviews that are all 3 stars. It is a 3 star from lots of 5s and also 2s. I was interested in what factors made people rate it high or low. For me, just a few minor things stood i ...more
Jun 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: contemporary, 2017
Grief is the hardest part of living. The Wishing Tree by John Shors has Ian, a father and Mattie his daughter suffering grief apart and together in this story. His wife, Kate, died of cancer and all his daughter can remember of her is her last sight of her mother connected to so many tubes and hardware. Mattie is afraid of losing her memory of her mother as a well person and a loving mother. Ian would like to go some place and be alone but he has to take care of his daughter.

The two are left wi
Erin Clark
I really, really wanted to like this book because I am a big fan of John Shors writing, but I can't say that I really enjoyed it much. Ian's Australian accent drove me bonkers, why Australian??? What reasoning for this silly character affectation??? And the story while in the end is life affirming was so, so sad. Everywhere Ian and Mattie went, each country they visited they cried, cried and then cried some more. Boo hoo, too much for me I'm afraid. Stop with the tears will you? And Ian needs to ...more
Aug 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction

A woman's dying wish was to get her husband and daughter to travel the world. She wrote a letter for each of them to open at each destination. Ian and Mattie end up revising many of the places where Ian and Kate made their memories.

The book felt like a Hallmark movie with the sappy level turned up at full throttle. I would still describe the book as heartwarming as a father and daughter try to reconcile not having their mother around anymore.

Ian's Australian colloquialisms did get tiresome. You
Debi Yoneda
Jun 28, 2018 rated it it was ok
when i started this book, I fell in love with the whole idea of it...the premise of the story was magical to me. Reminded me of the movie "PS I Love You", which is one of my favorite movies by the way.
A mother dies leaving behind her husband and daughter. She asks her husband via notes she has left to take their daughter to the places overseas where they met and fell in love.
The book is written in chapters that represents each country they visit. The first few chapters were wonderful and at tim
Dec 16, 2017 rated it liked it
The 3 stars are an average. The first half of THE WISHING TREES took a long time to read because it is saturated with grief and I only made brief visits to it. I kept on revisiting it because the author's style is so readable. The last half I read in less than a day, as Ian and Mattie became emotionally aware of the world outside themselves and revitalized by befriending others. The ending is a heartwarming culmination. I think readers who are themselves grieving will connect deeply with the sto ...more
Cherry D
Jul 26, 2019 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 04, 2019 rated it liked it
I felt that this book started out slow, but I was happy I continued reading until the end. I also grew tired of the heavy Australian accent.

The Wishing Tree is about a man and his daughter loose wife/mother to cancer. Of course the beginning will be down and depressing, but so happy that the second half of the book became more upbeat and interesting. I liked the happier ending.
Jan 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The feels!!
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I'm the bestselling author of Unbound, 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.

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