Like most enthusiasts about the land, nature, healthy living and the way we’re all connected, Enviro Girl read Barbara Kingsolver’s novels voraciously. The message was layered into the story and characters like a tasty strip of raspberry filling between sponge cake and chocolate ganache: take care of your planet. In fact, it was Barbara Kingsolver’s books that inspired Enviro Girl to eat more local produce, eschew the use of pesticides and consider how one might make a living as a farmer. Now Enviro Girl is pleased to pass along a referral to fellow readers: The Eve Tree by Rachel Devenish Ford weaves together the threads of a family connected by their love of their land–a ranch and goat farm in Humboldt County, California threatened by wildfires. The questions of best land management practices get raised as Molly and Jack Boscelli battle to save their livelihood. Catherine agrees to log the family’s property as a young adult, a move intended to pay bills and protect the forest. As Molly binds herself to the ranch after inheriting it from her mother, Catherine, she reconsiders that decision made years ago–logging isn’t a clear-cut issue and Ford reveals the conflict of property rights in her debut novel.
Here’s an excerpt of Ford’s rich writing:
If these had been her father’s days, Catherine wouldn’t have walked off her land as an old lady. She’d have stayed and weathered in the sun until she died in the shadow of a great fir, her body buried at the foot of an oak. She wouldn’t have worked so hard with so much dirt in the cracks of her hands, only to give it all away, find some shell somewhere to live in, make a new life that was a parody of a life, with no line to trace where she’d come from, no trail to creep along with trembling hands.
A beautiful and haunting tale about generations connected by livelihood and place, Ford evokes the great books by Kingsolver and Steinbeck. Lush prose, conflicted characters so vividly drawn you would recognize them passing them on the street, and a gorgeous taste of environmental debate. Ford never gets pedantic, but blends thoughtful reflection and the urgency of fighting fires both metaphoric and literal in this expertly written novel.
Rachel Devenish Ford grew up around British Columbia, Canada and has spent the last several years traveling the world with her husband and their four gorgeous children. You can read about her adventures at www.journeymama.com
Pick up your copy of The Eve Tree at:
Amazon (Kindle version also available)