BOOK CLUB: The Memory Tree

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By Jennifer Scoullar
ISBN: 9781925827231

Thank you to Beauty and Lace Book Club and Jennifer Scoullar for the opportunity to read and review The Memory Tree.

This is the third book in the Tasmanian Tales by Scoullar and I have been fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to read and review each one. I loved the first two books in the series (Fortune’s Son and The Lost Valley) and was eagerly awaiting the release of The Memory Tree, and it did not disappoint. While the book can be read as a stand-alone, reading the prior two books will make for a richer experience.

The Memory Tree is again set in the beautiful yet fictional Binburra Wildlife Park in Tasmania. While the prior two books were set in the significant past, The Memory Tree is more contemporary. The characters have mobile phones, and listen to CD’s of artists such as Sade but the actual time period is not specified to allow for the fictional characters and events.

Matt Abbott is the ranger at Binburra where he lives with his wife Penny. The main focus of the park is the breeding and conservation of Tasmanian Devils, at threat of extinction from a contagious cancer, Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD), but additionally serves to rescue, rehabilitate and, where possible, release injured birds and animals. For those unable to be released back to the wild, Binburra provides a safe haven for them to live out their lives.

At direct odds with Matt is his father Fraser Burns Abbott, mining and timber magnate. Fraser subscribes to a clear felling policy which is destroying Tasmania’s old world forests. Fraser is also responsible for the death of Matt’s mother and his younger twin sisters in a car accident while drunk, for which Matt has never forgiven him.

Enter Dr Sarah Deville of UCLA, a human cancer geneticist who is doing work on a devil genotyping project in the hope of breeding out DFTD. Sarah arrives at Binburra based on her concern that there isn’t sufficient genetic variety in the insurance animals at Binburra to ensure success in defeating DFTD.

Sarah is a woman who believes in getting what she wants; and will stop at little to get it. Her arrival at Binburra coincides with a time when Matt and Penny are having some struggles in their marriage. Matt has a secret, named Theo, and no matter how much he wishes to talk to Penny about it he finds he can’t. As the secret gnaws away at him, he becomes more taciturn and pulls away from Penny. Sarah, sensing that things are not quite right between Matt and Penny, has no qualms about not only making a play for Matt but also stirring the pot in order to ensure that things get worse between them. As emotions rise, Sarah’s actions lead to a deadly end.

Scoullar deftly mixes fact and fiction as she weaves into her story the anti-logging protests that occurred in Tasmania, and the fight to save the Tassie Devil with a fictional corrupt Tasmanian premier, Kate Logan, (not to be confused with any of the Kate Logan’s currently involved in Australian political positions!), the Lost Valley, home to the last of the Thylacines (The extinct Tasmanian Tiger) and how the Lost Valley is impacted by the mining industry.

And at the heart of the book is Pallawarra, the memory tree, that has spanned from time immemorial and may yet bring a family in danger of being torn apart back together.

Scoullar’s descriptions, particularly of scenes such as the eagles, are absolutely breathtakingly achingly beautiful and her ongoing work to bring the plight of the Tassie Devil to life through her books is to be commended.

Highly recommended. I give it 4.5 stars.

A selection of our Beauty and Lace Club Members are reading The Memory Tree. You can read their comments below, or contribute to the discussion by leaving your own feedback.

16 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: The Memory Tree

  1. I was so excited when The Memory Tree arrived in the post. I started it straight away, and hardly put it down for the next 2 days. I have read the other books in the Tasmanian Tales series (Fortune’s Son and The Lost Valley), so I knew this would be another amazing story.

    What I absolutely love about the way Jennifer Scouller writes, is that not only are her books page-turners, she is able to highlight the importance of the Tasmanian wilderness (flora and fauna), in such a way that as a reader I want to go out and make a difference. I have loved the Tasmanian wilderness since the first time I visited over 20 years ago, and have long wanted to see it protected. Jennifer is able to give us facts about the threats to this precious ecosystem but also pen an amazing story.

    I absolutely loved this book and recommend it to anyone and everyone.

  2. I loved that this book had enough real facts in it to enable the reader to visualise the Australian animals and environment in which the book was set but the story didn’t get bogged down with technical jargon.
    I am not a huge nature lover but the story line really drew me in and carried through the message of needing to protect the environment and it creatures but also to protect human relationships.

  3. The Memory Tree by Jennifer Scouller is the third and final book of the Tasmanian Tales series, and what a ripper book it is!
    It follows the Abbott family and there ties to Binburra, Matt Abbott is head ranger of the national park, he loves and cares for he park like his forbearers before him, the same can’t be said for his father Fraser, or so it seems. Fraser is head of mining and timber companies that go against everything Matt believes in.
    I really enjoyed The Memory Tree, it had me sucked in and swept along with the story! I was so frustrated at times with Matt for keeping secrets from Penny and driving a wedge between them, then letting Sarah further drive the wedge in!
    The story had a lot of twists that I didn’t see coming especially the ending!
    Although a part of a series, it can be read as a stand alone book.
    Thank you Beauty and Lace and Pilyarra Press for the chance to to read and review the Memory Tree.

  4. The Memory Tree by Jennifer Scoullar

    Wow! What a ride.
    Five stars from me.
    I loved this fast-paced page turner set in Tasmania.
    A haunting story with a satisfying conclusion about family relationships, Tasmanian Devils, and logging of Tasmanian forests.
    The Abbott family consist of Fraser, a timber logging magnate, his son Matt who is-a head ranger and conservationist and Matt’s wife Penny who is a talented taxidermist. Throw into the mix an American research geneticist keen to steal someone else’s husband, a raft of century old secrets and crooked politics and you have the scene for a believable tale set in a still beautiful corner of the world.
    The story covers a lot of ground including research into Tasmanian devil facial tumours, a marriage in trouble and includes a fantastic tale of the birth of an old Mountain Ash tree, and the Tasmanian landscape is artfully depicted.
    I am keen to enjoy more of Jennifer’s offerings and would recommend this title.

  5. The Memory Tree has a great story line following the wildlife conservation efforts and logging industry issues in Tasmania through some complex characters. It also ties in many subplots which highlight family relationships, sustainable logging, wildlife priorities and the evils of corruption in politics.
    It keeps you intrigued throughout the book as you try to tell the characters what is really happening and how they could fix it faster and then puts in exciting changes to the very end.
    A lovely read.

  6. Thank you BeautyandLace and Jennifer Scoullar for providing The Memory Tree for me to read and review.
    The Memory Tree is the third book in The Tasmanian Tales series by Jennifer Scoullar, having not read the previous two books I still thoroughly enjoyed reading this and didn’t feel like I was missing out by not reading the two before it. But after reading this, I would love the read the two previous books in the series.
    To say I enjoyed reading this book is an understatement, I LOVED it!!!
    I loved the way Jennifer manages to weave the story of Australian flora and fauna throughout the story. It really did give the storytelling a whole new perspective. The highly descriptive narrative had me enthralled, I felt like I was actually there.

    The Memory Tree has a bit of everything family secrets, love, romance, science and betrayal. It kept me on the edge of my seat wondering how this would unfold.
    I would highly recommend this book, a fantastic and enjoyable read.

  7. Thank you to Beauty and Lace and Jennifer Scoullar for providing me with the opportunity to read The Memory Tree.
    This is the third book in the Tasmanian Tales. You do not need to have read the others to enjoy this book.

    Matt Abbott is head ranger at Binburra National Park, an accident happens which is heavy on his conscience. Matt doesn’t confide in anyone.

    His wife Penny is aware of his withdrawal from her, she has her own secret.

    Matt is estranged from his father Fraser who is a wealthy timber and mining business owner.

    Sarah, a visiting Californian geneticist is in Hobert to continue her study on the facial cancer that is wiping out the population of Tasmanian Devils.

    The book highlights the issues of Tasmanian wilderness. The centuries old tall trees, with protesters trying to save them. The logging industry, locals need employment. The endangered animals and forest wild life, needing their habitats.
    The story is told through the complicated relationships between Matt, Penny, Fraser and Sarah.

    Loved this book. Totally recommend it to everyone.

    The book has inspired me to do my own conservation research. The scenery of the forests is amazing. Thank you Jennifer Scoullar for making me more aware of conservation and an amazing place that Tasmania is. A visit is definitely on my to do list.

  8. I was lucky enough to to be chosen to read The Memory Tree by Jennifer Scoullar. Having not read the previous two books I was a little reluctant about how I would pick up the story but that was soon dissipated and I couldn’t put the book down . A real page turner full of realist information, an amazing storyline with a hint of suspense and a dash of romance, who could resist.
    Jennifer you didn’t disappoint, I am now in the hunt for the other two books.

  9. I’m glad I was chosen to read this book. When I realized that there are two books before this one I wasn’t sure I would know what’s going on in the story. I soon picked it up and I couldn’t put this book down. I will definitely be reading the other books when I find them. Fantastic book Jennifer!! I loved it!!

  10. Thanks so much for the opportunity to read the 3rd book in The Tasmanian Tales trilogy by Jennifer Scoullar – I was fortunate enough to have also read the 2nd book and now I am on the lookout for the 1st one – even though these books are a trilogy you don’t need to have read the 1st two as the stories can be independent.
    The story follows Matt and Penelope and their quest to find a cure for the cancer that ravages Tasmanian Devils and the drastic action and secrets that ensure following a major find in the wild and that comes with tragic consequences.
    An absolute page turner that I loved and would give 5 stars to it.
    Well done Jennifer and thanks for the opportunity to read it.

  11. Wow wow wow! What a great book! This is the first book by Jennifer Scoullar that I have read and it won’t be the last! I didn’t realise that this book was the final story in a trilogy, it was great as a stand alone story. The message of conservation cane through loud and clear but didn’t preach – a very fine line that a lot of other authors need to master. The twists and turns keep you engrossed in the story so be prepared for a sleepless night or 2.
    I can’t wait to get the first 2 books in the trilogy and read those also

  12. I would like to thank Beauty And Lace and Jennifer Scoullar for the opportunity to read The Memory Tree. I found the story extremely interesting as it highlights issues that are close to all true Australian hearts and that is our endangered animals and how important it is in keeping their habitat, the forest wildlife thriving. The story is told through interwoven relationships between Matt, Penny, Fraser and Sarah. They all are quite head strong and very passionate about their work and what they believe in and with a few romantic twist and turns it made it a very interesting read. It also brings to light the difficulty times that occur in family relationships and how powerful love can be. I found the story line quite intriguing that it kept me mystified right to the very end.
    Thank you Jennifer it was fantastic.

  13. The memory Tree was an enjoyable book it was well written.
    It was about Tasmanian devil’s and a bit of who will keep their man.

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