A #WyrdAndWonder Book Review | featuring “Tree Magic” (Tree Magic series, Book One) by Harriet Springbett, published by @ImpressBooks1

Posted Sunday, 23 May, 2021 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

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Gifted Book By: Last year, I had the chance to feature this lovely series by Impress Books UK twice – for a Spotlight & Extract as well as an author interview for the tour celebrating the sequel. I enjoyed hosting for the touring company attached to these tours, but during late (2020) I decided to pull back from a few of the touring companies I was hosting and re-focus on the blog tours, publishers & authors I regularly host more often. My memory is a bit foggy if I was conversing with the publisher about ‘Tree Magic’ before or after the second blog tour. In that conversation, I was mentioning the book wasn’t yet released stateside in a print edition and I wasn’t sure (at the time) when I’d be able to purchase a copy as 2020 was quite an adverse year for my family all told. Especially for medical emergencies and/or ER visits in particular. Thereby, when the publisher offered to send me a copy of ‘Tree Magic’ when it was available in print, I thanked them for their gracious offer and knew once my migraines calmed down, I wanted to dive into this novel!

The months passed by and as 2021 started off with adversities of its own, I can honestly say, it wasn’t until May this year, during #WyrdAndWonder where I could read past the first few pages of ‘Tree Magic’!! I am overjoyed I could wait until now to talk about this novel and the series it begins as I felt such a strong attachment to this book and the world it is set in due to the showcases I hosted last year. I had eight migraines in September, 2020 after the five I had in May, 2020 – so betwixt and between both those months, I’m equally in the dark if I received this for review consideration or for my own personal readerly curiosity. 

Thereby, I was gifted a copy of “Tree Magic” by the publisher Impress Books UK without being obligated to post an honest review. I am sharing my thoughts on behalf of this novel for my own edification and a continued journey of sharing my readerly life on Jorie Loves A Story. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Note: I received the Press Materials last year from the publisher and vaguely remember asking if / when I was able to read this novel if I could re-use the materials given to me on both blog tours and being given permission to do that if / when the time arose. Therefore, this is why the Press Materials for this series are included on this review.

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Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

I have had a firm attachment to the natural world ever since I was a young girl – growing up with a fascination and wonderment about nature, wildlife and especially of trees! This is why when I first saw this blog tour being announced, I was super giddy about participating on the tour because any writer who can celebrate and champion the natural world in a pro-positive way is an author I would love to feature on Jorie Loves A Story!

I could immediately connect with the premise with this novel which is why I am trying to seek out a copy of this in print through my local library – there is something quite magical about how trees are the guardians within the natural habitats we visit whilst hiking or walking in natural landscapes; they know things and they remember everything. This is partially why it is soul-crushing whenever there are huge wildfire seasons like the ones that are affecting the Western United States right now and/or the fires in Australia at the turning of the New Year. Nature grieves for the losses those fires bring to those habitats but I oft felt the trees especially are full of the grief of what could not be protected and what fell at their feet due to how the forests have not been able to withstand fire as they had in the past. I still remember hearing about the old growth forests of the Redwoods recently and of how achingly hard it was to see them aflame.

I have regularly spoken about the natural world on Jorie Loves A Story – from the stories I am reading to the context of the stories which seek to bring an ecological mindset and heart for conservation onto my blog because I believe strongly those stories are necessary for today’s world. Not just due to the climatic changes we’re all experiencing but to help re-connect readers with the knowledge about the natural ecosystems they might overlook and not be as familiar with as I have become myself. Knowledge is the first step towards change and to remain connected to the connectivity of how the natural world and our world intersect is one step closer to finding better balance in how to keep Earth a healthier place.

– previously I shared this introduction to why I was wicked curious about Tree Magic

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There is one reason I held off reading this novel –  it took me until May to reconcile how to read Tree Magic was because of a gutting loss of trees in my neighbourhood which were uncalled for and mercilessly butchered by a bulldozer rather than cut with respect with a chainsaw. The trees were sacrificed due to a ridiculous expansion of a sidewalk which had zero benefit to the neighbourhood and took out a total of seven trees for reasons NO ONE understood lest of all the trees! I will never forget that feeling of knowing the trees were trying to defend themselves and the murmuring after effects of their death. These were full-grown cedar trees – whose rings in their trunks showcased their years of life and the emptiness of their protective shade has never felt more absent than the arrival of Summer. I still feel affected by what happened and how it was done – why cities plan their designs to erase more of the natural world than preserve it is not something I’ll ever comprehend.

This is why I had to let this novel sit on my shelf even longer than planned – I just couldn’t bring myself to read about trees and our connections to them until I could deal with the loss of the majestic cedars which once stood silently against storms and sun and whose presence was a kind reminder of how quietly trees whisper to us throughout the year.

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A #WyrdAndWonder Book Review | featuring “Tree Magic” (Tree Magic series, Book One) by Harriet Springbett, published by @ImpressBooks1Tree Magic
by Harriet Springbett
Source: Direct from Publisher, Gifted

Thirteen-year-old Rainbow discovers she can communicate with trees.

But that’s just the beginning. Her magic hands can shape trees at her will, but her gift is dangerous and has fatal consequences. An accident that leaves Rainbow unconscious leads her mother to make a confession that will change Rainbow’s life forever. Are her abilities a gift or a curse? Can Rainbow really trust her mother? From England to France, through secrets, fears and parallel worlds, Rainbow’s journey to understand her powers takes her beyond everything she’s ever known.

To find the truth, she must also find herself.

Genres: Young Adult Fiction, YA Fantasy, Magical Realism

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1-911293-63-7


Also by this author: Tree Magic, Tree Slayer

Published by Impress Books

on 2nd June, 2020

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 440

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The Tree Magic series: (a trilogy)

Tree Magic by Harriet SpringbettTree Slayer by Harriet Springbett

Tree Magic (book one)

Tree Slayer (book two)

Tree Sacrifice (book three) ← forthcoming Autumn, 2021!

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Published by:  Impress Books (@ImpressBooks1)

Available Formats: Trade Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #YALit, #Trees and #Magic, #MagicalRealism, #YAFantasy
as well as #TreeMagic or #Fantasy

About Harriet Springbett

Harriet Springbett

Harriet Springbett’s childhood on a small farm in West Dorset gave her an early exposure to nature, which continues to inspire her writing.

She qualified as an engineer but, during a Raleigh International expedition in Chile, she realised she preferred words to numbers. She abandoned her profession, moved to France, studied French and then worked as a project manager, feature writer, translator and TEFL teacher. She now lives in Poitou-Charentes with her French partner and their teenage children.

Since her first literary success, aged 10, her short stories and poetry have been published in literary journals and placed in writing competitions, including a shortlisting in the 2017 Bath Short Story Award.

Harriet leads writing workshops, has judged the Segora international short story competition.

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a few notations about this world:

As this is a work of Magical Realism interconnected to our real world, the magic slowly comes into focus and weaves itself through the storyline. You have to listen and observe the quiet ways in which Springbett has inserted the magical bits to the story – as this is definitely a novel for anyone who has spent time in nature and loved the wonderment of just ‘being’ out in the wild, listening to the natural inhabitants and spending time amongst the trees. It is a celebration of our connection and our imprinted behaviours in nature and how we can affect nature much more than we realise – by our presence, our touch and our choices which can alter the course of the natural order of the living ecosystems which live in harmony to our own daily routines and rhythms.

my review of tree magic:

I personally love Prologues – even if they are being heavily dissected and refuted in recent years, I, as a reader cherish them because of what they give us. A firm rooting and sense about either the world we’re about to step inside or a character we’re about to become acquainted with as if they were a part of our living hours right now. In this instance, Springbett uses the Prologue to wisely introduce us to both Rainbow (her lead character) and the mythology and lore set round Rainbow and a woman called: Amrita Devi. Of whom was one of the original treehuggers if you know about what and whom a treehugger is and what they represent. (ie. a firm belief in conservation and preservation of trees and forests and natural lands; I happen to be one myself as I knew I was an environmentalist in grade five when I met one during parents day) In this layering of thought – Springbett showcases the origin story about Amrita and how her life and her experiences cross-relate to Rainbow – as it is Rainbow’s Mum who reveals the hypothesis for Tree Magic‘s premise.

Within those few pages, you are struck by the keen awareness of Rainbow – of how she knows she’s physically not where she ought to be and she’s metaphysically elsewhere as well. She’s connected the dots others might have overlooked and peered into this chasm of otherwhere to see the truths about her past and the alignment of her days leading into this particular moment – of how her past was not just anchoured through the story of Amrita but how the story of her proved to be the catalyst of everything. On that note, Springbett hooked me so dearly into the novel, I dared not take too long of an exit and pause outside of it.

Rainbow’s tree I felt held a special key to the entire story as much as the murmurs of what I first felt might have been abuse by a trusted family friend (an adult friend, father of another girl). The abuse seems to be foreshadowed in the early chapters – as I’ve other stories which have involved trauma and abuse storylines and Rainbow’s reactions and observations about Fraser fit those other stories well. Especially how she’s full of regret for having trusted him at all and her illusions about what a ‘normal’ family looks like and acts like were askewed by what she interpreted was normal in comparison to her own family life. I knew this would be a revelation that would yield at the end of the story (or closely thereabouts) but Springbett broached it so early-on, your heart went out to Rainbow because something just isn’t right about why she has fears and trust issues about certain aged men.

I am not a fan of Bob. I’m not even sure the actual connection he has to Rainbow outside of the fact I think her Mum isn’t married to the bloke but continues to keep house with him. His temper has a bite to it and his bark is just as maddening. Combine his intense personality with Fraser and his story quickly has a potboiler ready to vent steam — Rainbow doesn’t let out a lot of details about her personal life or how people in her family fit together, but you sense there is more happening than it appears because she retreats into her treehouse (which she refers to as her den) moreso than she is on the ground. I actually understood her fascination with trees and wanting to seek shelter closer to the tree itself – as I was a tree climber myself when I was younger. I loved sitting in trees and just letting myself spend time and space with the tree, the winds and the wildlife outside.

Michael on the other hand is a much more interesting character – he’s even a better father-figure and mentor for Rainbow. Notwithstanding the fact he listens to her and senses when she needs advice even before she recognises it herself. He has an interesting connection to her abilities with trees and the magic that is wrought out of her touch – as you listen to his memories and the story of this great-grandfather – the story immediately started to grow in depth as the phenom we were were seeing through Rainbow’s gift had weight in other generations, too. It was almost as if the history of treeshapers had become secreted away and forgotten.

As I arrived at the end of the first part of this story, I must admit, I wasn’t quite prepared for the final evocative scene where everything shifted and changed in the blink of a nanosecond! Uniquely, this story has become a dual-narrative of two halves of a whole – wherein, as you can see the twist in the trunk on the cover of the novel – where there are two halves of the same tree, so too, there are two routes into this storyline. Everything you knew of Rainbow before the end of Part I has re-shifted into this other sphere of enquiry where there are two Rainbows, wherein one has called herself Mary and the other, has remained Rainbow. Mary is trying to escape the reality of truth she’s uncovered by transforming herself into an altered version of herself to where she’s cold as ice and immune to all emotion and reactions of her own humanity. Rainbow on the other hand is vulnerable and responsive to what she’s learnt and what she now understands about treeshaping. These two routes forward provide their challenges – somehow the ways in which the scenes would slip between Mary and Rainbow weren’t that hard to follow nor to understand – as it was told from the perspective of two individual girls’ who simply were spilt into two different halves of themselves. Or to refer back to an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation – it is was similar to how William T. Riker and Tom Riker both emerged together and individually. (see also article via Memory Alpha Fandom)

We cycle back into Rainbow’s vein of the story – following in her footsteps as she seeks to find a path forward for a treeshaper, as prior to now, there wasn’t any path for her to follow. With the choice to seek help and assistance in understanding her gift(s) there was a new vulnerability which Michael had mentioned could become a divided choice in her future. She had to choose which path she desired to walk even if the choosing would wreck her heart and emotionally leave her feeling spent. It was Michael who left the biggest impression on her outside of her connection to her Mum. The interesting bit of course is how it was her Mum who knew what Rainbow needed most in order to thrive – they had to escape the routines of their lives in order to find Rainbow the wings in which she could use to grow. Rainbow didn’t trust people easily – as trust is a continuous theme of the story; yet, she was nearly always willing to give someone a chance.

Whilst Rainbow and her Mum took to the road and travelled far from their home in search of the truths they might find out there with someone who could understand how Rainbow’s gift works – there was a bit of familiarity about their chosen route. I still have fond memories of travelling on the road with my Mum as we went 15,000 miles throughout one half of the United States – crisscrossing through different time zones and regions, whilst having a lovely overview of all the states we had traversed through and found ourselves curious to see more of the country. There is a freeing state of being when you take your own destiny in your hands and just get out on the road – seeking what you can find and having a lovely adventure in the process of journeying where you are needing to go next. In this way, Rainbow and her Mum were connecting with each other in a different way than they could at home.

Unfortunately for me, this because a DNF because at the end of Part III, on the very last page of that chapter the one bit I had hoped would be left out of the story happened and it just broke my heart. I cannot stand animal cruelty or abuse and as I aforementioned, if this happened it would be a deal-breaker for me as a reader. I was all set to see what happened to the parallel version of Rainbow, as Part IV shifts into Mary’s POV but it was for naught. I just can’t go forward in a story when innocent kittens are killed. It just isn’t something I want to continue reading as I thought for sure it wouldn’t have happened and then, it did and I just felt an ache of loss I can’t even describe.

Another delightful gem of foodie fiction in a Fantasy novel:

I, for one, will never tire of food being cooked in a novel. I have a foodie soul and I positively love how food can become a centre of interest in a novel. Fantasy or otherwise, food speaks to me. I also know in different parts of the world, food I regularly eat is known as a different word – which is why ‘courgettes’ seemed so familiar to me but I was lost to remember what they were – a quick searched re-clued me into them, and I had a good chuckle about it! My favourite way to eat them nowadays is to process them to bake into a loaf! Although, I also enjoy baking them into muffins but even a wicked quick stir-fry served over rice is just as equally lovely, too!

on the fantastical storytelling styling of harriet springbett:

One of my favourite moments in the novel happened right at the beginning when Springbett introduced us to the transference of energy happening between Rainbow and the tree. It was such a humble scene and one that seemed to me to have a larger impact on Rainbow than even she realised as this scene was followed up by another where energy was also transferred to a different living entity. Part of this is explained if you study Tai Chi Chaun and methods of moving mediations as well – as energy (or rather, chi) can be felt as a warming in your hands as you draw it out through either moving through an exercise of Tai Chi or through a mediative exercise in a group setting. Either way, I loved how Springbett approached showing how Rainbow was awakening into her new awareness of a gift she hadn’t realised she had.

I was thankful Springbett gave Rainbow a cat like Acrobat – as the two of them made the best partners as they were each individually quirky but they both needed the friendship of the other to take-on the world at large. It was a sweet scene the day they first met aside from the way the convo turnt when Patti idly threatened the other kittens (see Content Notes below), which I felt was not appropriate of her to mention much less even consider plausible!

You feel suspended in this world Springbett has created – as there are lots of lovely introspective moments and movements in Tree Magic. You can get lost inside those musings – as she has a wonderful capacity for bridging environmentalism hopefulness and the realities of tree health into the novel. I even appreciated how she vocalised the murmurs of the trees themselves, how they felt and how they responded to the signals they were being given by Rainbow. It was a very symbiotic relationship between Rainbow and the trees, and Springbett lovingly gave us a firm rounding of details and emotions therein.

Fantastical elements:

→ Energy Transference

→ Treeshapers

I learnt a new term reading this novel: treeshapers which to me was as wickedly exciting as when I first met the shifters (ie. Murkens in the Leland Dragons series).

Content Note: TW/CW:

→ There is threat mentioned to unadopted kittens

I’ve been a cat lover since I was bourne – so whenever, I hear or see animals being talked about facing trauma or being threatened, I take stock of why and how this had to be broached into a story. I wasn’t sure if it was an idle threat – by Patti (Rainbow’s best friend) or if it had weight behind it – if the kittens she was re-homing were actually in threat of being killed but for any other reader following my #WyrdAndWonder journey this May, I wanted to mention this was a discussion in the book. Blessedly it wasn’t mentioned after that one scene and to my knowledge, all the kittens lived as there wasn’t a follow-up conversation. If there had been and it was a negative outcome I would have quit the book right then and there. As that to me is a deal-breaker!

Sadly, there was a new threat to another set of kittens and that is why I quit the book immediately on page 204! This could have gone so many different ways – I’m not sure why kittens cannot be fostered out to new homes or taken to a feline rescue centre but the ways in which they were killed just doesn’t sit well with me. I’ve adopted cats my whole life off/on throughout childhood and adulthood; some of which had leftover trauma from before they became a part of our family. I’ve adopted dogs as well with the same issues and to me, there is always another option for animals – where they can find good homes whether adopted or fostered without being sent to kill shelters or or killed by owners who are too inconvenienced by their birth.

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This book Review is courtesy of the publisher:

Impress Books UK

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 I look forward to reading your thoughts & commentary!
Be sure to leave notes, takeaways and commentary to let me know if this has been a story on your bookish radar and/or if it is one you’re going to be adding to your own TBR! I’d love to hear your thoughts about this kind of story and others you might have already read on similar themes.

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Reading this story contributed to my #WyrdAndWonder Year 4:

#WyrdAndWonder Year 4 banner created by Jorie in Canva.


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Enjoying my fantastical reviews about the worlds of Fantasy?

Ever since the beginning of Jorie Loves A Story, I have embarked on a Quest to seek out stories within the worlds of Fantasy which would heighten my awareness of the genre and give me wicked good reads – across the subniches of a genre I’ve loved since I was seventeen. Every May, I happily co-host @WyrdAndWonder – whilst throughout the months of the year, I regularly read & discuss the Fantasy reads I am discovering.

Visit my full archive for ALL my #EnterTheFantastic wanderings! As well as take a walkabout through my archives for #WyrdAndWonder – or take a walkabout through my archive for everything deemed wickedly fantastical!

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{SOURCES: Book cover for “Tree Magic”, book synopsis, author biography and photograph as were all provided by Love Books Tours and are reused with permission of the publisher Impress Books. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets were embedded due to codes provided by Twitter. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: #WyrdAndWonder Year 4 banner, #WyrdAndWonder Book Review banner and the Comment Box Banner.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2021.

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About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Sunday, 23 May, 2021 by jorielov in 20th Century, Animals in Fiction & Non-Fiction, Book Review (non-blog tour), British Literature, Brothers and Sisters, Cats and Kittens, Childhood Friendship, Coming-Of Age, Content Note, Death of a Sibling, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Dendrology (Study of Woody Plants or Trees), Disillusionment in Marriage, Divorce & Martial Strife, Earthen Magic, Earthen Spirituality, England, Environmental Conscience, Environmental Science, Family Drama, Family Life, Fantasy Fiction, Father-daughter Relationships, Fathers and Daughters, Fly in the Ointment, Folklore and Mythology, France, French Literature, Green-Minded Social Awareness, Horticulture, Indie Author, Magical Realism, Modern British Literature, Modern Day, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Mother-Son Relationships, Nature & Wildlife, Realistic Fiction, Rescue & Adoption of Animals, Siblings, Single Mothers, Spirituality & Metaphysics, Sustainability & Ecological Preservation, Teenage Relationships & Friendships, The Natural World, Treeshaping, Young Adult Fiction

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