Some time ago, I read The April Tree by Judith Arnold. I have been reminded of the novel recently because, like The April Tree, the manuscript I have just completed focuses on the aftermath of a tragedy and the struggle of survivors to deal with the loss.
In Arnold’s novel, four teenagers witness the tragic death of a young girl, a friend. As the years go by, the tragedy haunts them, changing each of their lives in very different ways, sending them on widely diverse paths as they grapple with guilt and grief. Ms. Arnold is wonderfully accurate in her depiction of change in her characters. Each survivor of any traumatic event processes what happened in relationship to their previous experiences, their personalities, and their beliefs. Some are shattered, some are made stronger, and some are moved to alter their journeys. The author shows remarkable insight as she follows each of her young characters over the years. I recommend this book highly for Ms. Arnold’s ability to explore the psychology of trauma.