Reviewed by Rabia Tanveer for Readers’ Favorite
The Witness Tree by Terri Kaiser is the story of the Foley women as
they navigate life and figure it out one day at a time. The story
focuses on Esther and Helen, mother and daughter respectively.
Esther’s story is set in the 1940s as she tries her best to leave her
abusive past behind and offer a normal life to her children. Her
salvation comes in the form of the kind Robert Sommers who helps
her find the courage to be the woman she once was and give her
children a better life. Her daughter Helen’s story is set in the
present where she faces her own challenges to beat. She, too, has
to face the demons of her past, and she cannot run from them. The
Foley family secrets are after her, and they will only let her go if she
faces them once and for all. Does she have the courage to open old
wounds and let them bleed?
Terri Kaiser handles two different narratives exceptionally well.
Helen’s character is more poised, while Esther’s character is more
desperate. Both of these women have faced incredible
circumstances, and so they had to take incredible actions to
survive. They have a goal, and they don’t deter from it. They know
they cannot run from their past, so they try to find the courage to
do so. For Esther, that courage came from Robert and her
desperation, while Helen truly had to fight her demons to get that
courage. The narrative flows smoothly until the end, and the author
adds just the right amount of mystery and suspense to keep the
story moving forward. The letters and the ring become the
connection we need between the two narratives and allows the
reader to experience two highly detailed and entertaining stories at
the same time. The narrative style of The Witness Tree reminds me
of Toni Morrison. I thoroughly enjoyed it.