The Which Way Tree by Elizabeth Crook

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An entertaining picture of harsh, stark life in the Old West that maybe stretches plausibility a bit in pursuit of a good yarn.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

The poignant odyssey of a tenacious young girl who braves the dangers of the Texas frontier to avenge her mother's death

"When I began to read this book its unique voice appealed to me immediately. Elizabeth Crook has written a beautiful novel with wonderful characters." --Robert Duvall

"A small-scale masterwork, richly detailed and beautifully rendered." --S. C. Gwynne, New York Times bestselling author of Empire of the Summer Moon

Early one morning in the remote hill country of Texas, a panther savagely attacks a family of homesteaders, mauling a young girl named Samantha and killing her mother, whose final act is to save her daughter's life. Samantha and her half brother, Benjamin, survive, but she is left traumatized, her face horribly scarred.

Narrated in Benjamin's beguilingly plainspoken voice, The Which Way Tree is the story of Samantha's unshakeable resolve to stalk and kill the infamous panther, rumored across the Rio Grande to be a demon, and avenge her mother's death. In their quest she and Benjamin, now orphaned, enlist a charismatic Tejano outlaw and a haunted, compassionate preacher with an aging but relentless tracking dog. As the members of this unlikely posse hunt the panther, they are in turn pursued by a hapless but sadistic Confederate soldier with troubled family ties to the preacher and a score to settle.

In the tradition of the great pursuit narratives, The Which Way Tree is a breathtaking saga of one steadfast girl's revenge against an implacable and unknowable beast. Yet with the comedic undertones of Benjamin's storytelling, it is also a timeless tale full of warmth and humor, and a testament to the enduring love that carries a sister and brother through a perilous adventure with all the dimensions of a legend.
 

About Elizabeth Crook

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Elizabeth Crook is the author of two previous novels, Promised Lands and The Raven’s Bride.
 
Published February 6, 2018 by Little, Brown and Company. 289 pages
Genres: Action & Adventure, Westerns, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for The Which Way Tree
All: 2 | Positive: 1 | Negative: 1

Kirkus

Above average
on Nov 13 2017

An entertaining picture of harsh, stark life in the Old West that maybe stretches plausibility a bit in pursuit of a good yarn.

Read Full Review of The Which Way Tree | See more reviews from Kirkus

NY Times

Below average
Reviewed by Paulette Jiles on Mar 16 2018

Yet Crook’s marvelous dexterity with language does not help her with narrative. Plots need to coalesce around characters with agency, characters who make things happen.

Read Full Review of The Which Way Tree | See more reviews from NY Times

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