Review: The Roots of the Olive Tree
Five generations of Keller women live together on the olive grove that was planted by Anna’s father. 112 year old Anna is the oldest and she’s in great shape physically and mentally – in fact, she plans to live long enough to be the oldest person alive. Living with her are her daughter, granddaughter, great granddaughter, great-great granddaughter and great-great-great grandson. Their lives are quiet and peaceful for the most part until a geneticist comes to interview them and take their blood. He’s hoping to unlock the secret of their longevity and ends up unlocking other secrets instead.
The Roots of the Olive Tree shows the potential of debut novelist Courtney Miller Santo. This book had quite a few characters and I had no trouble telling them apart. It does help that the Keller women’s name are in alphabetical order – Anna, Betts, Callie, Deb, Erin – but each character’s personality is distinct enough that I could have kept them straight in my mind regardless.
As you would expect with that many women, there are secrets and drama and I was fascinated by all of it. The story is told in the third person but the point of view shifts between the women. I found the narrative shifts to be smooth and easy to follow.
I was really enjoying this book and thought the story was moving along splendidly and. for me, it just ended abruptly. There is an epilogue tacked on at the end but I was rather jarred by the unexpected ending. I wanted the ends to be tied up a little more than they were. I’m hoping Santo has future plans for these characters. The ending kept me from loving The Roots of the Olive Tree, but I did like it quite a bit.