The Crying Tree by Naseem Rakha (Pan £6.99)

First published in Books

When her husband, Nate, is offered a job in Oregon, Irene Stanley tries to fight him all the way, for their family has always lived in the small town of Carlton, Illinois, and with their two children Bliss and Shep have always been happy there.

Nevertheless, Nate gets his own way and their new life begins. However, it is tragically altered when Shep is brutally murdered and a known teenage offender turns himself in to the police.

Irene’s life is now spent waiting to see Daniel Robbins executed but he has always won his appeals on Death Row.

Now 19 years later, he is given only a month before he must die from lethal injection and for the first time Daniel does nothing but just wait for his life to end.

After all this time Irene, for reasons only known unto her, finds the thought of his execution as something hard to face up to.

She has been harbouring a secret for nine years and one she knows could destroy her family, but disclose it she must, and on doing so finds she isn’t the only one keeping things hidden.

Now only one thing is certain in Irene’s mind and that is to see Daniel Robbins before he dies.

This unforgettable story is written in a gripping yet moving way as the author takes us through the story seen not only from Daniel’s and Irene’s angle but also through the eyes of Mason who is in charge of Daniel’s execution.

It is a story of prejudice, compassion and of forgiveness. It is a story that can alter your perspective of life.

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