The Tree of Everlasting Knowledge by Christina Nolfi
Publication date: March 15, 2012
A savage rape on hallowed ground. Secrets buried for decades by the town’s most influential family.
Now Ourania D’Andre will learn the Great Oak’s secrets as construction begins at the Fagan mansion. She can’t afford to turn down a job that promises to stir up the long-buried guilt—and the passion—she shares with powerful Troy Fagan.
She’s already juggling the most important job of her career with her new responsibilities as a foster mother for young Walt and Emma Korchek. And there’s a hard, older man on the construction crew with eyes void of emotion—cold and killing. The secrets of his brutal past will pose a grave threat to the children in her care. Will she find the courage to face him?
Troy Fagan was blessed to be born into wealth. His family owns and operates Fagan Orchards in Lincoln, Ohio. Troy, a man who loves his family and appreciates the family business, has stepped out on his own and operates a general contracting business. Ourania D’Andre is an electrician. She’s been hired to work on the renovations at the Fagan mansion. Unfortunately she and Troy have a history together, an unhappy history. Troy isn't happy to have Ourania on this current project, but he'll make do in order to keep his sister happy with the renovations, as long as Ourania doesn't cause any trouble on the work site.
Trouble is just what Ourania has to deal with as her mother, a social worker, contacts her to become an emergency foster-parent to two children, Walt and Emma Korchek. Walt and Emma have had to deal with the death of their mother and constant emotional, physical and even sexual abuse at the hands of their father. Their fear and mistrust of adults is another stress for Ourania to handle. All of this is an additional stress that Ourania doesn't need or want, especially since it requires her to be absent from the work site at crucial moments. But Lianna D’Andre doesn’t accept no for an answer, and Ourania becomes a foster-parent to two young, traumatized and somewhat hostile children. As Ourania, Walt and Emma work on overcoming their differences and mistrust, they also come to respect one another. Just when it seems like things are going well, Ourania discovers a secret about Troy that could threaten his peace of mind and possibly threaten the welfare of all involved. Can she tell Troy the truth no matter the consequences? Troy also has secrets that relate to Ourania? Should he tell her the truth even though it may put more barriers to them ever having a relationship? Is it possible to forgive the past? How far is too far in an effort to protect these secrets and the past? Once these secrets are revealed can forgiveness be granted?
Ms. Nolfi has created a heart-stirring tale of love that overcomes many obstacles in The Tree of Everlasting Knowledge. This isn’t just a romance between a man and a woman; it’s also a romance between a woman and two children. Ourania may not be the typical mother-figure, but she grows to love Walt and Emma and is willing to do anything to protect them, no matter the cost. Walt and Emma learn to overcome their mistrust and show their affection toward Ourania despite their traumatic childhood. There are many stories woven into this story, and all seem to hinge on actions that took place under an ancient oak tree on the Fagan’s property, the proverbial “tree of everlasting knowledge.” All of the main characters have secrets they are keeping and these secrets are all divulged and dealt with in the story. Some of these secrets are life-changing and others are life-affirming. All of the primary characters are very well-developed and likeable, with one exception. The secondary characters are also well-developed and provide excellent support to the story and for the primary characters. Some of the action is tragic and heart-wrenching, whereas other action is loving and heart-warming. All of the action is realistic and never too over-the-top. The Tree of Everlasting Knowledge is a fast-paced read that provides warmth and laughter as well as moments that are close to being tear-jerking. I've actually read this story twice this year and thoroughly enjoyed it both times. Don’t expect this to be a light-hearted read, it isn’t, but hopefully you’ll enjoy it as much as I did.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book free for review purposes from the author. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."