Leaves by Michael Baron
Published by The Story Plant
Publication Date: Sept. 12, 2012
Review Copy from: The Story Plant
Edition: ARC Kindle TPB
My Rating: 5
Synopsis (borrowed from Amazon):
Welcome to Oldham, CT, a small town rich in Colonial heritage while being utterly contemporary. Situated along the Connecticut River Valley, Oldham bursts with color every fall, as the leaves on its trees evolve into an unmatched palette of scarlet, orange, purple, yellow, and bronze. For more than three decades, the Gold family has been a central part of Oldham in the fall, its Sugar Maple Inn a destination for “leaf-peepers” from all over the country, and its annual Halloween party a stirring way to punctuate the town’s most active month.
But this year, more than just the leaves are changing. With the death of their parents, the Gold siblings, Maria, Maxwell, Deborah, Corrina, and Tyler, have decided to sell the Sugar Maple Inn, and this year’s Halloween party will be the last. As October begins, the Golds contend with the finality that faces them, and the implications it has for a family that has always been so close. For some, it means embracing new challenges and new love. For others, it means taking on unimagined roles. And for others, it means considering the inconceivable. Complicating it all is a series of “hauntings” that touch each of the Gold siblings, a series of benign interventions that will remain a mystery until October draws to a close.
Filled with romance, tension, and unforgettable family drama, Leaves is the first in a series of novels about a world and a family that readers will want to make their own.
My Thoughts and Opinion:
Michael Baron has been compared to Nicholas Sparks, but since I have not read any of Mr. Sparks books I can’t compare, but what I do know is that when I first went public with my blog, Mr. Baron’s publisher contacted me to read the author’s book Crossing The Bridge and I instantly became a fan. However, I did recommended his books to another book blogger, Ann from Ann’s Reading Corner who has read Mr. Sparks’ novels and she stated “personally I like Michael’s novel much better than Sparks novels” (you can see her review here). Crossing The Bridge was a short read but written with such tenderness and emotion that it was hard to believe a male author had penned it. Since then I have read every book written by him and we have both grown. His books became full length novels, books that I would anxiously wait for and I am coming up on my 3rd blogiversary. His répertoire of books that I have read are The Journey Home, Anything, Spinning, When You Went Away, and A Winter Discovery. And now Leaves.
Leaves takes place over a period of less than a month’s time. Four siblings have decided that it is time to sell their parents Inn that they have helped with, even as children, since their parents have passed away. Their parents hosted a yearly event and would open the Inn’s door to the small and quaint town of Oldham with a big Halloween party. And this year will be bittersweet as it will be the last day before the new buyers take ownership the next day. In the days before the party, the reader is introduced to the siblings and also a look into their family dynamics.
Mr. Baron has the gift and ability to sweep you away from reality into the story like the winds of autumn sweeps the last leaves off the trees. The characters are so life like that they become one’s own family. The story felt like a real life event, whereas you are looking forward to see what happens as he counts down the days to the Halloween party but then on the other hand, you know that the story will end but don’t want it to be over. His manner of writing flows and is so realistic that it transports the reader right into the middle of the plot. This is the first time that I have read a book that every one of the senses was a vivid experience. Mr. Baron, has shared his music on Spotify to listen to and hear as you are reading, the details of Deborah’s cooking made my mouth water and could imagine the smells in the kitchen, I could create the imagery of seeing the settings, I was able to feel the emotions and tender touches of the characters. And as the days kept getting crossed off the calendar and getting close to the end, I didn’t know whether to read faster to see what happened or read slower so that I could savor this book and not have it end. The ending bittersweet, which I did not see coming (sorry but I will not include a spoiler). The ending is too special to even hint at what happens.
Knowing the style of Mr. Baron’s work, when I read the following from the prologue, I knew that this book, like his others, would tug at my heart strings, take me away and that I would have a difficult time putting it down.
For this October, certain threads would fray and certain binds would loosen. Unspoken words woud be uttered at last while things that needed to be said would be withheld. Tradition would be honored and the past would be rejected. One heart would beat for another’s for the first time, while one heart would stop beating forever. And a message would be delivered that was essential to all who heard it.
Mr. Baron’s, Leaves, is a poignant, compelling, moving, passionate, feel good read. Once the last word is read and the book closed, the characters live on in one’s heart and mind. An absolutely recommended read!!
I received a copy of this book, at no charge to me,
in exchange for my honest review.
No items that I receive
are ever sold…they are kept by me,
or given to family and/or friends.
(2012 Challenges: FreeReads, Where Are You, A-Z, 1st In A Series, 52 in 52, Outdo, 100+)