I'm an elementary teacher librarian in northeast Iowa where I spend my days surrounded by children and books. I enjoy reading anything and everything in my free time, as well as spending time with my family.
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Courtney Miller Santos' debut novel, The Roots of the Olive Tree, follows the lives of five generations of women in the Keller family living in the Sacramento valley raising olives on the farm that matriarch Anna's father first began.
Anna is 112 years old, looking forward to becoming the oldest living person. Her daughter, Bets, granddaughter Callie, great-granddaughter, Deb, and great-great granddaughter Erin, all take turns telling their stories as well. Each woman has a few secrets and a unique personality that are shared in this novel. The olive farm that Anna's father began when they came to America from Australia is the backdrop to this story as the women still grow and sell olives. In addition, the olives may have something to do with the women's long life spans. A geneticist has chosen to study the Keller women to see if something in their DNA is allowing them to age at a slower rate or if there is some other miracle that allows these women to continue living in such fine health for such a length of time.
The secrets of these women adds a little suspense as I waited for each to be revealed and the impact they would have on the other women. This is a solid debut novel that should attract women's fiction readers and become a popular book club pick. This novel was sent to me by Bookreporter.com for review.