I’ve been intrigued by Harriet Springbett’s Tree Magic for a while but with a TBR of well over 900 physical books and more than that again lurking on my Kindle I didn’t think I’d get round to reading it. However, I’m very pleased that Tree Magic has arrived at the top of my TBR and I can share my review today, not least because I don’t feature enough young adult fiction here on the blog.
Published by Impress, Tree Magic is available for purchase here.
Escape from difficult family dynamics is teenager Rainbow’s desire. When she discovers a strange gift for communicating with trees, she thinks she’s found her salvation. Even better, a mysterious but gentle man living in her Dorset village helps develop her powers.
But when tragedy strikes, Rainbow’s life is torn apart, creating parallel worlds in the process. In one life, the vulnerable Rainbow strives to salvage her family. In the other, her alter-ego, Mary, flees her past. Over the next few years the two versions of Rainbow follow very different lives. The source of their grief, however, is the same – a confession buried deep within their memories.
Could France offer more than a mere escape? As the two worlds draw closer and memories resurface, Rainbow and Mary’s futures must be determined. Can they receive the healing they need? Or will the renewed pain be too much to bear? Only by risking their lives will they know.
My Review of Tree Magic
Rainbow finds she has a talent involving trees.
Tree Magic may be written for a target audience some forty years younger than me but it didn’t prevent me from finding it an engaging and entertaining book. In fact, it widened my horizons as I was prompted by the story to do some research of my own into the Amrita background behind the narrative. I thought the narrative style was so good because the prose is quite simple but conveys complex considerations so that both literal and metaphorical elements are accessible. The smatterings of French language also add to the authenticity.
Tree Magic explores adolescent themes with understanding and sensitivity. Rainbow’s need for identity, her desire to find out about her father, her relationships with her mother and Bob, and with her contemporaries, all combine to create elements that young adult readers in particular will be able to relate to, making this a personal read. By the end, readers come to realise how choices and decisions can lead us on different paths, giving us different lives.
There’s an interesting structure to Tree Magic as Rainbow and Mary’s narratives interweave and again this serves to illustrate the choices we have in life. I much preferred Rainbow to Mary and yet Mary gained my sympathy and empathy far more because her vulnerability is more raw despite, or rather because of, her harder personality. I was intrigued as to how the narrative would unfold as the two girls’ stories drew together.
As someone with no spirituality whatever, I found these aspects presented in Tree Magic fascinating. I very much enjoyed the allegory shown through Rainbow’s ability to effect change in trees that we all have an impact on nature and the environment. This is a very powerful aspect of Tree Magic.
Tree Magic is an unusual and thought provoking book for young adults that is also entertaining and engaging for older readers too, because Harriet Springbett has a deft touch in showing the inner turmoil we can all face but she also leaves the reader feeling uplifted and satisfied.
About Harriett Springbett
Harriet Springbett’s childhood on a small farm in West Dorset gave her an early exposure to nature, which continues to inspire her writing.
She qualified as an engineer but, during a Raleigh International expedition in Chile, she realised she preferred words to numbers. She abandoned her profession, moved to France, studied French and then worked as a project manager, feature writer, translator and TEFL teacher. She now lives in Poitou-Charentes with her French partner and their teenage children.
Since her first literary success, aged 10, her short stories and poetry have been published in literary journals and placed in writing competitions, including a shortlisting in the 2017 Bath Short Story Award.
Harriet leads writing workshops, has judged the Segora international short story competition and blogs here.