I love a great haunting story. Walking around town there are several landmarks that people swear are haunted. I love to read about the history of these places and learn more about the actual events that occurred there. Each one has a special story that just wants to be told. “The Hanging Tree” by Michael Phillip Cash is one such story about a haunted tree in Long Island.
“The Hanging Tree” is a haunting story of a five spirits, forever tied to the infamous Hanging Tree. When Arielle tests the boundaries of her father’s love she begins to date Chad, a boy her father despises. The two would-be lovers meet under the Hanging Tree. They don’t know it, but their entire destiny is connected to the spirits haunting the tree. As the ghosts witness the events that are unfolding between Arielle and Chad, they begin to share their own stories of their lives and deaths. Will Arielle’s future be determined by past events or will her choices forever alter the course of her life?
The author, Michael Phillip Cash, writes a story about life choices. Just like Arielle we must decide if past events will dictate our future. Many people believe that once they become a victim they must forever play that part, that life has dealt them these cards and they must play it out. As the story unfolds the authors makes you question who is really in control, events of the past or can we determine our own future by the choices we make.
The author skillfully deals with hard topics like family dynamics, sexuality, prejudice and heart-break. The author brings to light how we are all connected, even if we don’t immediately see it. Our history helps define us, but it doesn’t make us and it is up to us to move beyond hurt and heartbreak and even joy and triumph to become our own person.
“The Hanging Tree” is Mr. Cash’s first novella. It’s longer than a short story, but shorter than a novel. The story isn’t sacrificed any by the story’s short length. It’s a complete story that will leave you feeling like you have read a complete novel. I really enjoyed reading about the ghost’s stories, especially Goody Bennett. I would love to read more about her life in another book.
“The Hanging Tree” is ultimately a story about family and how our choices affect not only us, but those around us.
*Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of “The Hanging Tree” in exchange for my review. All opinions are 100% my own.