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Fractured Oak by Dannie Boyd #BookReview #MagicalRealism

The premise of this novel–that a woman dies and becomes a sentient tree–is intriguing enough, but that the tree is also a witness to a murder and actually tries to help in the resulting investigation is truly original. Two stories are laid out and told with sympathy, utilizing two distinct POVs, one being that of a 19th-century young female medical student (Catherine), and the other a soon-to-retire hardboiled female investigator (Lani). The women could not be more different from each other, except they both want justice.

Catherine was murdered and, through a trick of molecular biology, became a tree. As this tree, she witnesses a murder. While that murder is being investigated, her own murder, unsolved for generations, weighs on her mind as well as Lani’s mind. While the connection between the two women is a bit of a leap, it had a logic that I was happy to accept.

The novel is psychologically deeper than a cozy mystery, but the ending(s) were what one might expect with a cozy. While the reader knows who the contemporary murderer is, the mystery is in if and how Lani gets her man. I don’t mind knowing who the killer is as long as I’m kept in doubt as to whether he’ll be caught and brought to justice. In contrast, the reader is kept in suspense about Catherine’s generations-old unsolved murder until the very end.

All in all, Fractured Oak is a very satisfying read, and I applaud Dannie Boyd for making it seem so effortless to tell a story about two murders through the POVs of two very different but courageous women.

Dannie Boyd is (yet another) pseudonym for Carrie Rubin, the physician-turned-novelist who is already well-known and highly regarded for her medical thrillers. You can get a full account of Carrie’s books at this link.

12 thoughts on “Fractured Oak by Dannie Boyd #BookReview #MagicalRealism

    1. Oh, I hope you do give the novel a read. I enjoy Carrie’s novels very much, but this one really blew me away with how well she pulled off this idea of a person becoming a tree. Just very, very clever 🙂

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  1. Shut up! I didn’t know this was by Carrie Rubin! Wow, adding to my Goodread list NOW.
    OK, I see I already have it on my list. Better go buy it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LMAO. I wouldn’t have known either but she wrote about it in a newsletter before it was published … I think. My memory is … well, I already forgot 😉 I’m sure you will enjoy her novel 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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