Whispering Pines by Elliott Foster
A family saga that spans generations and unspools tales that readers of all ages are sure to relate with, Elliott Foster’s Whispering Pines: Tales from a Northwoods Cabin is a fantastic novel that aims to reveal the essence of the human spirit. As stated in the introduction of the book, the story starts and ends in 1993, in Cannon Falls, Minnesota. Four generations of the Travis family have gathered in order to celebrate the eightieth birthday of their beloved matriarch, Isabelle. The family shares stories with one another at the rustic cabin set on the lake in the Chippewa National Forest, talking of everything from fishing, cooking delicious meals, and making love. The book is broken into three parts, as three different members of the family, one from each generation, recount memorable moments from the past. We follow Isabelle, her daughter Ruth, and her grandson Eddie, as they reveal secrets that have been previously hidden deep within the woods that surround them.
Books are more than just the words their pages contain, and Whispering Pines is the perfect example of a book that is well constructed in all its parts. The cover is beautiful, and perfectly sets the mood for the content that is included within. The pages are nicely formatted, the interior of the book just as pleasing to the eye as the jacket that holds it all together. And then there is the story, that has clearly been edited carefully. While the narrative focuses mainly on the three characters from whom the stories are recounted, there are a wide variety of supporting characters present that the author has carefully fleshed out, making them come alive on the page. Told as a sort of family history, spanning across time and space, yet still always moving in a linear fashion forward, this is the kind of book that you’ll want to cuddle up with, as you come to know the Travis family as intimately as your own.
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