A tree in rural Iowa bears witness to generations of human experience-and deadly secrets.
Dani Holden thinks moving to an old farmstead will help her forget her past. She agrees to help neighbors take down a strange double-headed tree that has stood alone between two fields for almost a century. Unexplainable accidents begin haunting those who help and Dani must uncover a community's secret before tragedy claims her as its next victim.
Dani's not the only one running from her past-two generations ago young Lilly Bradstreet is not the person her small town wants her to be. She falls in love with a Mexican migrant worker and is forced to choose between her family's wishes her passionate romance and the life of freedom she's always dreamed of.
Lilly's long-forgotten quest for independence and Dani's search for answers intertwine at the foot of the Witness Tree whose secrets are darker and more unnerving than either woman ever expected. Vivid depictions of small-town bonds young love racism and women who've dreamed and been denied make The Witness Tree a moving page-turning debut novel.
Amy Pendino a Minnesota native works as a middle-school English teacher by day and a horse midwife by night. Formerly a keyboard player for a local band she's also waitressed worked as a secretary sung backup for an international star and rides a new mountain range on horseback every summer. She belongs to the Twin Cities chapter of Sisters in Crime her writing has been published in several magazines and reviews. This is her first published novel. For more information please visit amypendino.com.
"Amy Pendino brings to life characters who matter to us as they take and lose chances flee or stay and dare to love despite the consequences. This is a deeply satisfying character-driven novel. It contains mystery suspense and a long-held secret that when finally revealed offers hope and reconciliation to those who most deserve it." -Lorna Landvik, best-selling author of Once in a Blue Moon Lodge and ten other novels
"We love how The Witness Tree pairs strong resilient women with unsolved mysteries. . . . Lush descriptions of the rural landscapes and the characters' inner natures will capture both thought and emotion." -Lori and Julia, cohosts of MyTalk107.1 Lori & Julia Show St. Paul Minnesota
"In this accomplished debut novel Amy Pendino portrays two independent women born decades apart-strangers whose lives are bound together by a curse set in motion when a tree in rural Iowa bears silent witness to an unpeakable act. Over six decades pass before the curse finally exacts its retribution on this farming community which is depicted with all of its small-mindedness and big-heartedness. . . . The characters display a depth of honesty and a deep understanding of the human condition. The ending is satisfying yet leaves the tantalizing possibility of a sequel. The Witness Tree is a page-turner that is insightful compelling and wonderfully well-written." -Barbara Deese, author of the No Ordinary Women book club mysteries
"From its opening pages The Witness Tree absorbs the reader in a gratifying tale of friendship love and betrayal uncovering long-buried truths and characters learning to be brave in a world with its own designs on their destiny." -Greg Dahlager, Writer's Digest award-winner and contributing author of Dark Side of the Loon: Where History Meets Mystery
"From the first paragraph I was captured by Amy Pendino's eloquent and descriptive writing style. The story follows two women generations apart who are compelled to leave their old lives behind for new adventures. . . . Two thumbs up for Pendino's The Witness Tree." -Christine Husom, author of the Winnebago County Mysteries and the Snow Globe Shop Mysteries