Sunday 13 October 2019

Book Review ~ The Land of Trees by L A Naylor

A gritty and evocative coming-of-age thriller set in the exotic rainforests and cities of Guatemala

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28 September

My thanks to Cameron PR for my copy of this book

Adoptee Lia has followed her Spanish teacher, Rafael, to Guatemala, for romance and adventure. She doesn’t know much about the country but she’s happy because she’s finally living life on her own terms. On their first night together Lia decides to declare her feelings, but before she gets the chance, the unimaginable happens and Rafael is brutally killed.

Devastated, Lia travels to Rafael’s family home in the countryside, determined to find out why. But not everyone is keen on her investigation and Lia has to decide what is more important: living without answers or taking the deadly consequences that come with the truth.

Set against a backdrop of civil unrest and huge political change, Naylor shows the powerful impact the past can have, even decades later.

What did I think about it..

Lia travels to Guatemala to meet up with Rafael , who was once her Spanish teacher, and with whom she has a romantic attachment. Lia barely has time to say hello to Rafael before something really dreadful happens and she is left quite devastated and feeling very alone in an unfamiliar country. Fortunately Lia has other travelling companions to support her however, it is Lia's journey in which she tries to discover what really happened to Rafael which gives the book it's impetus.

Initially off to something of a slow start, the story seems to take a while to get moving but I think the second half of the book which is perhaps the stronger part of the story is what worked best for me. The background to the story that of Guatemala's political and social unrest is well explained and there is an authentic feel to the novel which brings both the country and its people to life in a realistic sort of way. The mystery at the heart of the novel has enough suspense to maintain interest and I enjoyed trying to work out how the story would eventually play out.

The Land of Trees is an interesting coming of age novel  which begins with tragedy but ends with a distinct feeling of hope.

LA NAYLOR has been a fisherwoman, the CEO of a charity, a wreck diver and an English teacher. She was awarded a grant from the Campaign for Learning to write a non-fiction book on miscarriages of justice in the UK. That book, Judge for Yourself, was a bestseller and was praised by The Guardian, Michael Mansfield QC and many more.

Naylor received a lifetime membership to the Millennium Awards Fellowship which recognises, celebrates and records the achievements of individuals working to strengthen and enrich their communities. The Land of Trees is her first novel. She lives in London.

Twitter @Lanaylor11 #ThelandOfTrees


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