About the Book
Book: What You Said to Me
Author: Olivia Newport
Genre: Christian Fiction
Release Date: November 2020
Book 4 in the Tree of Life Series: A Father-Daughter Genealogy Team Link Faith Journeys on Family Trees
When 15-year-old Tisha Crowder gets caught shoplifting, attorney Nolan Duffy tries to protect her from consequences that could rattle her already troubled life. His daughter, Jillian, feels like she’s the one being punished instead—by having Tisha assigned to work with her on a backlog of genealogy files. Tisha doesn’t seem interested in taking the job seriously, and Jillian’s patience wears thin. Besides, everyone in Canyon Mines knows the Crowder family has experienced generations of brokenness. Then a sliver of hope turns up in long-ago words in plain sight, challenging shrouded assumptions about Tisha’s family. Now Jillian is the one who can walk with Tisha back to 1893 and uncover where everything went wrong in the first place—and save her from the past.
What You Said to Me is the fourth book in the Tree of Life series by Olivia Newport. You’ll want to return to the lovely Colorado mountain town of Canyon Mines again and again to explore and celebrate unforgettable family stories that will inspire you to connect with your own family histories and unique faith journeys.
I’ve been reading the Tree of Life series since the first one was published. I have enjoyed all of them, but they keep getting better and better. Each one features Jillian, a genealogist, who meets a troubled person and unravels their family tree to find out why they react the way they do to things that happen. In the first two books, it felt somewhat forced, but the third and fourth felt a lot more natural. I especially liked this fourth book, What You Said to Me.
Jillian is stunned when Nolan, her father, informs her that she needs a helper—and furthermore, the helper is arriving now. Yes, she knows that the dining table is buried under piles and piles of old folders that need to be organized for the project she’s been hired to do—but surely she can handle this without 15-year-old Tisha Crowder’s help? And Tisha’s attitude doesn’t make it any easier. What is behind the girl’s attitudes and actions, anyway?
The story flips back and forth between Jillian, Nolan and Tisha, in Canyon Mines, Colorado, in the present, and a family in 1893 Denver. I found myself caught up in both stories, eager to see how the two intersected. I also wanted to see if there was any way that Jillian could help Tisha out of the generations of bitterness, anger, and distrust that plagued her family and caused her problems. Nolan was sure she could—but how?
One thing I really like about this series is that there isn’t a lot of romance. There is a little, in the third book and also in this one, but it’s a very minor element. A few kisses were alluded to, but not much more. I also enjoy Nolan and his cooking and opera singing! He’s a very fun character. There is not a strong Christian message, but the story is very clean and reflects a Christian worldview. As I said to begin, I really enjoyed this book, and I’m looking forward to the next one. There are loose ends from books three and four that have not been tied up yet!
I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley and CelebrateLit, and these are my honest thoughts about it.
About the Author:
Olivia Newport’s novels twist through time to find where faith and passions meet. Her husband and twentysomething children provide welcome distraction from the people stomping through her head on their way into her books. She chases joy in stunning Colorado at the foot of Pikes Peak.
More From Olivia:
“You didn’t just say that.” Or, “I can’t believe you said that.”
Have you ever said that in retort to someone whose comment offended or wounded? I know I have. But what cuts me even more deeply is when I say to myself, “I can’t believe I just said that.”
The words of a parent at wit’s end, a spouse harboring hurt, a friend saddened by misunderstanding, an employee feeling undercut—they have all been my words. And they came out too fast to swallow back before they did their damage.
I hope I have also had the words of a parent who set aside busyness to listen, a spouse offering loving encouragement, a friend checking in with someone going through a tough patch, a coworker curious to see how I could help rather than compete. Those are the kinds of words I’ve never regretted, never had to repent of, never had to do rebuild from.
I certainly didn’t write What You Said to Me because I think I get it right all the time or even most of the time. Far from it! In our culture of rushing and achieving and—let’s face it, sometimes just getting through the demands of the day—sometimes our words are the last thing we are careful with. Yet they have the longest lasting consequence in our relationships and families—sometimes for generations. The dual-timeline story traces how words that injure became a pattern in one family line until one girl finally fought back to find healing for her future.
My challenge for myself, and all who read What You Said to Me, is to be the person who speaks healing words of hope so that “I can’t believe you said that” becomes “Thank you for saying that.”
If you have a particularly poignant experience of how another’s words impacted you, I’d love to hear from you.
To purchase your copy, click here.
To visit more of the blog stops on this tour, click here.
To enter a fun giveaway, click here.