Sep 13, 2021

Review--The Suffering Tree by Elle Cosimano


“It’s dark magic brings him back.”

Tori Burns and her family left D.C. for claustrophobic Chaptico, Maryland, after suddenly inheriting a house under mysterious circumstances. That inheritance puts her at odds with the entire town, especially Jesse Slaughter and his family—it’s their generations-old land the Burns have “stolen.” But none of that seems to matter after Tori witnesses a young man claw his way out of a grave under the gnarled oak in her new backyard.

Nathaniel Bishop may not understand what brought him back, but it’s clear to Tori that he hates the Slaughters for what they did to him centuries ago. Wary yet drawn to him by a shared sense of loss, she gives him shelter. But in the wake of his arrival comes a string of troubling events—including the disappearance of Jesse Slaughter’s cousin—that seem to point back to Nathaniel.

As Tori digs for the truth—and slowly begins to fall for Nathaniel—she uncovers something much darker in the tangled branches of the Slaughter family tree. In order to break the centuries-old curse that binds Nathaniel there and discover the true nature of her inheritance, Tori must unravel the Slaughter family’s oldest and most guarded secrets. But the Slaughters want to keep them buried… at any cost.

From award-winning author Elle Cosimano comes a haunting, atmospheric thriller perfect to hand to readers of the Mara Dyer trilogy and Bone Gap.


Elle Cosimano's The Suffering Tree is a story that is rich in history and mystery! This tale was so twisted and filled with dark secrets that it made for quite the page-turning experience. Alas, I found it somewhat lacking in some areas. Though the story was enough to keep me hooked, I still felt a bit confused with all the secret keeping.

After her dad died, Tori and her family find themselves moving into a house that is apparently in their family and came at the right time since they were evicted from their apartment. The only thing is, their new home that they own free and clear, is in the middle of the Slaughter family property. How this works out takes awhile to come about, but since it's an unusual circumstance, the Slaughters have to go around their house at times to access more of their land.

Tori has had a rough go of things lately, not only with her father's death, but other things that came about with the move as well. Secretly, she cuts herself. It was a little surreal to see this happening, as I guess most books I've read either have drug or alcohol related problems. Tori is also adopted, which she's known and as far as I could tell, didn't really have an effect on her cutting. She just finds at times she needs to control something and she gets that with cutting.

One night, when she escapes to the old cemetery on her family land to cut herself, she finds a young man climbing out of a grave! It was a totally frightening experience to even read about. I mean, the dude is crawling out of a grave!! How this comes about and all, is another mystery that will take awhile to reveal itself.

Every few chapters or so, that are normally from Tori's point of view, we get a new font and the point of view of Nathaniel, a young man who lived a long time ago. We basically get glimpses of what Nathaniel's life was like as a child and how he became to be the young man crawling out of the grave one dark and lonely night. 

Tori is captivated by Nathaniel. They have a bizarre connection of sorts, it's hard to describe really. All the while we continue to get Nathaniel's flashbacks to help bring us up to speed. In the current day, we see Tori trying to uncover a mystery about her family, her blood family. 

Jesse Slaughter, father of the man who owns the land that surrounds Tori, is planning something. He first attempts to "court" Tori, but Tori knows he's working on another angle and this is kind of where things got confusing. Jesse's cousin is missing as well and he thinks the answers to the disappearance lies somewhere on Tori's property.

This book was kind of odd in some respects. I was enjoying the twisted mystery but I guess I felt the added flashbacks made things harder to grasp, their timing wasn't always ideal and it just presented more questions and problems to the present day matters. Lots of things are still kept hushed-hushed around Tori and you start to wonder, what the heck is going on? I mean, that's the big question, right? But things aren't really answered in ways that make sense. There's only more questions and more questions instead of leads that answer things.

When the answers do start coming around, the dots are connecting but the picture is still a little unclear. After I reading the final chapter, I was still trying to puzzle out what just happened and what the point of all that was. I guess you could say certain characters were drive by greed and greed alone and that's that. Some people are just terrible people. I guess I was hoping for something a little more clear when it came to the whodunits and why things happened the way they did. It's not that I didn't enjoy the story, I did, it just wasn't what I expected.

The Suffering Tree was definitely an odd sort of mystery and creepy in parts here and there. It's a long twisted history of revenge and love, and devious plots. It's definitely a worthy read if a bit confusing at times.

Overall Rating 3.5/5 stars

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