A review by karaklos
South of the Buttonwood Tree by Heather Webber


2.5 stars rounded up.

South of the Buttonwood Tree was an odd book for me. I’m not a magical realism fan unless it is very subtle and this was a bit much for me. A tree that dispenses wisdom/fortunes through wooden buttons? A woman that finds lost things by listening to the wind? Another woman that heals people by collecting and dispersing moonlight (with some kind of dancing involved)? A crow with golden eyes? Houses that speak and rebel? None of these were developed very well to make them feel natural or real.

The story takes place in a small town in Alabama where everyone knows everyone’s business. I had a difficult picturing the town and where the tree was vs. where the stores and homes were.

The story alternates between two young women: Blue Bishop (bad family) and Sarah Grace (good family). Blue finds a baby at the buttonwood tree and the mystery of where she comes from uncovers many more mysteries.

The characters were interesting and likeable. I liked how the author used the townspeople’s conversations with the local judge to reveal details about the Bishop family.

The twists at the end of the story were surprising but a bit convoluted. There were a lot of lessons about forgiveness told to us. I felt like the author wrote this to be a movie. A very light (and sometimes corny read) but a nice reprieve from some of the darker themes I’ve been reading lately.