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4.4 out of 5 stars60
4.4 out of 5 stars
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 30 August 2012
I have previously only read a couple of Jacquie's short stories so I thought it was time I tackled something longer. This is a story of an American girl, adopted from birth after the death of her English mother. Addie finds she has inherited property and money from someone described as her mother's godfather. She comes to England to see the place, possibly to put it up for sale, and to find out more about the mystery of her family background.

Jacquelynn Luben is a classy writer. Her work is always clear, logical and uncluttered. Here she patiently displays for us the history of a family through 4 generations as discovered by Addie. Addie finds help from her benefactor's lawyer and his family. This is no dry genealogical tome, however. The author has the ability to descibe and evoke emotion so that we are drawn into the details of the story and we want, we need, to find out more. There is a sad family story which unfolds here and there's scope for the old discussion about nature or nurture as we see how the women's lives reflect one another down the years. Addie is a strong character though and her determination comes through. I enjoyed this book very much indeed.
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on 9 October 2008
I came across this book purely by chance and am so glad that I did. I was looking on Google to see what books were set in Guildford and noticed that this one was and available from a local publisher. It appealed to my genealogical mind, so I ordered it and it arrived on Monday just in time for a business trip. I devoured the book during my 6 hours traveling yesterday.

Addie inherits a lovely house in Guildford from someone she does not know,but she understand that the deceased has links were her mother, who died in childbirth with Addie, In America. The people that Addie's mother was living with write to advise the would be grandparents of the death of their daughter to find that they do not want to accept responsibility for the child,and after a period of time, Addie is adopted by the couple. Addie has a happy and loved childhood, but finds that she has questions of her heritage and wants to "know" her deceased Mother, and she has no idea who her father is.....Inheriting the house is a catalyst for discovering the answers.

The link is the Addie's mother was god daughter to James, and it is his house that she has inherited. Addie sets out on a journey of discovery, and as with most genealogical type searches Addie soon finds that she has more questions than answers, and that she has to live with the decisions that her ancestors made.

The author has done obvious research into genealogical searches and mentions the huge references of birth,marriage and death records at St Catherine's House, of course they are not longer available in the serch room by that has occured since the book was published earlier in the year, and the reference to it in the book reminded me of days lifting those heavy books and battling for space with other researchers. Also the use of the surname of Daborn a very Surrey name!

Addie does meet living relatives, including her great grandmother, who she discovers was illegitimate and has spent the majority of her life in a hospital simply for having a child out of wedlock. There are tears of joy as the elderly lady realises that the young woman standing with her is not simply a stranger from the social but a relative, a descendant of the daughter she had been told had died. I could almost feel Ada's pain and anguish.

The genealogical search is just like a jigsaw, gathering the facts and placing what you know into the mix to build the picture, and that was done as we read of Addie's search.

Quite simply I loved this book, not just for the subject matter, but the way the story unfolds and evolves. I was there, within the pages.
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on 10 November 2012
After her mother died in America giving birth to Addie she was adopted by a caring couple who brought Addie up as their own and whom she loved very much. However, always wanting to know more about her real parents Addie gets the chance when she inherits a house in England from her real mother's 'God father'. Given a month's leave from her work after a broken love affair with her boss, Addie comes to England not only to look at the house but also to see if she can find out more about her real family.

For those not into how to trace one's ancestors don't worry as there is not much about her going to the record offices etc. What she does concentrate on is letters which her mother sent to James the Godfather as a young girl and her mother's diary. Both of these I found quite tedious and I think a lot of it could have been skipped over by the author.

Up to about three-quarters of the way through I really got engrossed in the story but towards the end I was beginning to get rather bored. It was just so neat and chocolate boxy. The ending was very predictable so no surprises. I found the supporting characters viz the Graingers and the Amery family very real and without them the story would have been a bit flat.

It's a light read so if you don't want a complicated story then I would recommend this book.
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This book is set in the early 90's. Addie's adoptive aunt sees an advert advising that a solicitor's firm in Guildford is looking for Adrienne Heron or her heirs. Adrienne died the day after she gave birth to Addie. The advert seems to suggest that James the deceased owner of a house may be Addie's Grandfather. She leaves her adoptive family and a broken relationship in the US to go and investigate.

I didn't find the research completely convincing but with lots of coincidences, some letters and Adrienne's diary, Addie begins to build her family tree. Along the way there is a romance with the usual misunderstandings and difficulties.

Overall this book is well written and the story flows along with some tender moments to make you say ahh....
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on 25 July 2012
I really enjoyed this book. After Addie, an American adoptee whose English mother died giving birth to her is left a house in Surrey by her mother's Godfather she comes to England determined to find out more about her mother. This she succeeds in doing wth the aid of some old letters and her mother's diary. I did feel that the amount of documentation available to her was a little unbelievable but that didn't spoil a good story and I became totally involved with Addie and her search for her roots
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on 3 July 2011
I'm happy to say I took Jacquelynn Luben's `Tainted Tree' on holiday with me. Initially, I thought I was in for a slow read, but that's only because it's a very different book to the type I've been reading lately. In reality, this book moves at a gentle, steady pace, perfectly in keeping with the story. A bequest leads American adoptee, Addie Russell, to Surrey in the UK where she will uncover facts about her past that are both painful and bittersweet. The exploration of both her family's history and self-discovery are a slowly unfolding journey of revelations that the reader takes almost as a ghost hovering on Addie's shoulders. Nothing is rushed; nothing is uncovered out of a logical, practical and perfectly paced sequence. I found the story refreshing, and although capable of making the reader tearful at times, well-balanced and realistic. The writer has said that every word in this book was necessary, and I quickly realised what she meant. I became as engrossed as Addie in the search for her past. A good and well above average summer read.
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on 9 October 2013
I love a good genealogical story and this looked very promising from the reviews. I did enjoy the story although I felt there were just a few too many coincidences for it to be realistic. I made a half hearted attempt at my own family tree and can tell you its a lot harder than most books make out. This is realistic in the fact that the main character is really persistent with her research which takes her a very long time. A lot of these type of books make it all sound so simple, using computers or popping to the local records office and looking up the information - its a lot harder than that. I liked the marriage romance angle and the baddy who was instantly recognisable from the start for me. I would definitely read another from this author as I liked her style of writing.
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on 9 June 2013
Quite a complicated start to this story of a girl from USA trying to get to the bottom of upbringing. Having grown up with foster parents and inherited a house froma a man called James in the UK. At first it is very diffult to follow with all the possible leads to her ancestory. Half way through the book there is a love interest which never really gets going until later and you think - why? Eventually the story gets better, and I am sure the author did an enourmous amount of research to get it right. I found myself enjoying it to wards the end and the it ends ......
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on 9 April 2013
This is an enjoyable novel of both romance and mystery, introducing attractive characters, with whom one can empathise. The English settings are described well. This story has lots of twists and turns and a satisfying conclusion.

Addie is the main character, and I really enjoyed finding out what happened next in her search for answers about her family background, so found it hard to put this book down.

Since it has genealogy as a theme, this story might appeal particularly to those who (like me) are interested in family history.
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on 11 March 2013
Story about a woman adopted after the death of her mother from food poisoning the day after she was born. On receiving news of a property left to her she heads to England to find out about her biological family.
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