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4.5 out of 5 stars
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4.5 out of 5 stars
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I am a huge fan of Diane Chamberlain and her books, and so I was very excited about starting The Courage Tree.

Janine's daughter Sophie, like any child, wants a life full of fun and adventure, and so Janine lets her daughter go on her first camping trip away from home. But when Sophie doesn't return, Janine is thrown into a battle against time, as her Sophie isn't like the other children, she is suffering from a rare kidney disease, and every day her daughter is missing is one day closer to her death...

This is an EXCELLENT story, I was hooked from the first page and quickly drawn in to Janine and Sophie's life. It is a book where once you pick it up, you will find it VERY difficult to put down. I read the book so quickly, I raced through the pages because I needed to know what would happen next.

The Courage Tree is very emotional, my heart ached at the thought of Sophie missing, and I really longed for her parents to find some answers, I really felt for the heartache that Janine and Joe (Sophie's father) were going through, and it spurred me on as I was desperate to know where their daughter was. Janine was a particularly well-writen character, I could feel the fear and the tension radiating from her as she raced against time to discover more about the whereabouts of her daughter

Diane Chamberlain has really excelled in this book. I liked that as well as the main story line, there was the issue of medical care explored too, and whether alternative medicines and studies can be beneficial, with the characters sharing opposite views on the treatments that Sophie can receive - this was particularly interesting to read about. I also loved the story behind the title of the book, The Courage Tree and I thought it was a wonderful touch to this novel.

I want to say so much more but I'm keen not to give anything away. The Courage Tree is an emotional, moving and powerful novel that will have you gripped to the pages. I would HIGHLY recommend this!
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on 13 March 2014
This is the second book I have read by Diane Chamberlain and it definitely won't be the last. I was hungry for more after reading The Lost Daughter so I bought this and Keeper of the Light from here (tip: have a quick look at the latter if you haven't ready, currently for sale at bargan basement price!!).

To start with, I found the storyline about the Hollywood star and her daughter a bit bizarre, and I wasn't sure how it would tie in with the main story about Sophie and her mother, but tie in it did, and wonderfully so... along with plenty of other unexpected twists and turns along the way.

I know Diane Chamberlain has been compared with Jodi Picoult, and I have read and liked many of JP's books but for me, DC has the edge in that she doesn't elaborate on legal jargon, which sometimes became tedious and long-winded in JP's books. DC has a lovely way of telling the story that allows it to flow nicely and flits seamlessly from one character to the other whilst keeping your interest throughout. It is cleverly written whilst still being remarkably easy to read, and for that I admire DC tremendously.

I am now reading Keeper of the Light, which will hopefully be up to the same magnificent standard as this one and the Lost Daughter.
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on 1 March 2014
I was already a fan of Diane Chamberlain when I began this book, little did I know that this would become my new favourite by this author!

I found this book to be fantastic, I finished it in less than 24 hours because I just couldnt put it down! I was constantly intrigued and on edge, wanting to know what was happening next and the answers to lots of questions which came up. I really liked the twists and turns which revealed themselves when I least expected it.

The beginning of the book starts with a character who is then not spoken of for a while, I was unsure of what this character had to do with the main story for a while, but all makes sense later on in the book.

The book is really well written, it is easy to follow and evokes emotions in the reader. There is enough detail that I feel as though I am there with the characters, yet there are gaps left so that you can fill in the rest using your imagination.

I didnt want this book to end, and I know that I will be re-reading it very soon because I enjoyed it that much
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on 15 January 2014
a five star read all the way to the final word. this book jeopardized my early nights as I couldn't put it down. a great mix of tension, cautionary tales, life lessons and the meaning of love.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 31 October 2013
This is a story that I got totally lost in. Full of tension and drama it is a story that is every parent's worst nightmare; Janine's eight year old daughter Sophie has disappeared on the way home from camp and to make matters even more terrifying for her family, Sophie has end stage kidney disease and needs treatment fast.

The story is one of a family coping in these circumstances - the blame, the guilt, the pressure but most of all, the lengths a mother will go to in order to save and protect her child.

At the same time there is a subplot unfolding in the background. Zoe is an aging actress and, just like Janine, she is prepared to do anything to save her daughter, Marti. Eventually these two stories merge in the build up to what is a very dramatic, moving and satisfying ending. My only negative feeling about the book is that I would like to have seen what happened to Zoe in the end. I didn't really like the way I was told about the climax of her story.

All in all though, this is a really good, moving read. Highly recommended.
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on 20 December 2013
This book was a wonderful story well written by Diane Chamberlain in her usual wonderful way. Keeps you hanging in the edge if your seat the whole way through. If you are a mother I dare you to try reading it without a tear in your eye.
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on 12 September 2014
When Janine allows her very sick daughter Sophie to go on a camping trip and she does not return so begins the worst nightmare any parent could possibly imagine. Sophie has a rare illness that needs constant care and for every day she is missing is a day nearer to her death.
I love every novel this author has written, this one though I thought was exceptional. I always feel that Diane Chamberlain manages in her writing to get deep into the heart of the matter. A sensitive story, beautifully told.
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on 12 February 2014
I was hooked by the story and the lives of the characters and the plot turns out to be more intricate than I first expected which was great and very satisfying. There were a couple of moments in the story where I wanted more of a reaction from the characters or a more dramatic portrayal of events but the realism would probably have suffered for this so I suppose I'll go and get my drama fix from something trashier. Overall this was a very engrossing read
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on 18 April 2016
The Courage Tree is the story of two mothers, each trying in their own ways to protect their daughters, and realising that the protection they're trying to give maybe not what is needed. Diane Chamberlain intertwines two main stories, with lots of sub-plots that are all neatly tied together at the end.

It was okay.

Don't get me wrong - this isn't a BAD book. It's relatively well constructed, and the characters are likeable and (mostly) believable. There's a certain amount of suspense, particularly through the beginning half of the book, and it was compelling enough for me to keep reading.

It was all a bit... too neat, though. Everything tied together so perfectly at the end that it feels uncomfortable. Too unlikely (the epilogue too saccharine for words.) I couldn't quite believe it all.

It's along the same sort of lines as Jodi Picoult - that almost seems to be a genre/style in its own right these days. Diane Chamberlain is one of those authors that people say: "if you like Jodi Picoult, you'll like her." And I get that, I do. But, actually, this book seemed like a sub-standard version of a Jodi Picoult book. Maybe it would be better without the comparison?

A fine read - but nothing really special, overly dramatic.
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on 7 March 2016
This was an unexpected read- it will hit your emotional spot, carry you through the journey of motherhood and the struggles of having an ill child, the journey of a woman through an unsuccessful marriage and into a relationship that society disapproves of and then a massive plot twist at the end! I found the ending was a bit rushed with too many storylines being rounded up a bit too fast however it was an interesting read nonetheless.
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