Review: Harry’s Trees by Jon Cohen

Title: Harry’s Trees by Jon Cohen
Publisher: MIRA
Genre: Contemporary, Fiction
Length: 432 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


When you climb a tree, the first thing you do is to hold on tight…

Thirty-four-year-old Harry Crane works as an analyst for the US Forest Service. When his wife dies suddenly, he is unable to cope. Leaving his job and his old life behind, Harry makes his way to the remote woods of northeastern Pennsylvania’s Endless Mountains, determined to lose himself. But fate intervenes in the form of a fiercely determined young girl named Oriana. She and her mother, Amanda, are struggling to pick up the pieces from their own tragedy—Amanda stoically holding it together while Oriana roams the forest searching for answers. And in Oriana’s magical, willful mind, she believes that Harry is the key to righting her world.

Now it’s time for Harry to let go…

After taking up residence in the woods behind Amanda’s house, Harry reluctantly agrees to help Oriana in a ludicrous scheme to escape his tragic past. In so doing, the unlikeliest of elements—a wolf, a stash of gold coins, a fairy tale called The Grum’s Ledger and a wise old librarian named Olive—come together to create a golden adventure that will fulfill Oriana’s wildest dreams and open Harry’s heart to a whole new life.

Harry’s Trees is an uplifting story about the redeeming power of friendship and love and the magic to be found in life’s most surprising adventures.


Harry’s Trees by Jon Cohen is a magical novel of healing and redemption.

Harry Crane loathes his boring, bureaucratic job with the Forestry Service that keeps him tied to a desk. Beth, his wife of fourteen years, encourages him to follow his dream of owning his own business but he wants financial security before he quits his job. As he is making his weekly lottery purchase, a construction accident leads to the tragic loss of his wife. Harry’s older brother, Wolf, steamrolls him into suing the construction for negligence soon after her death. Not caring about the outcome of the lawsuit, Harry spends the next year living in a fog of grief and guilt as mourns his loss.

Near the tract of woods that Harry manages from his computer, Dean Jeffers, his wife Amanda and Oriana are blissfully happy until tragedy strikes. Amanda is grieving her loss but her main concern is how Oriana is dealing with the devastating blow life has dealt them. Oriana roams the woods where she and her beloved father spent time together and voraciously reading the fairy tales she checks out from the local library. This mature for her age ten year old and Harry’s lives suddenly  intersect after his lawsuit is unexpectedly settled and together, they figure out what to do with his stunning windfall.

Oriana and Harry’s relationship is quite endearing as they plot and scheme together after Harry finally reads The Grum Ledger. Amanda is delighted at the changes in her daughter and she, too, finds herself charmed by their unexpected guest.  With Amanda’s help, Harry begins to emerge from his grief, but his guilt over his self-perceived role in Beth’s death remains. Both he and Oriana believe The Grum Ledger holds the key to their redemption.

Several secondary characters also figure heavily in the unfolding story. Librarian Olive Perkins is a wise soul whose life revolves around the library that she dearly loves.  Ronnie Wilmarth keeps an eye on both Amanda and Oriana in an effort to assuage his guilt that he was not with Dean when his friend needed him most. Wolf is self-absorbed and he has an ulterior motive in helping Harry with the lawsuit. Real estate agent Stu Giptner is cast as the villain in the novel and he is a bit of a caricature as he attempts to orchestrate his way into making a fortune.

Harry’s Trees by  Jon Cohen is a lovely redemptive tale but some of the passages are a bit meandering and not essential to the storyline. Harry, Oriana and Amanda are truly delightful characters and their interactions are incredibly heartwarming. The plot has a wonderful magical feel to it but the villainous aspect is somewhat inane. The novel concludes with an uplifting, sigh worthy happily ever after that will melt readers hearts.

1 Comment

Filed under Contemporary, Fiction, Harry's Trees, Jon Cohen, Mira, Rated B, Review

One Response to Review: Harry’s Trees by Jon Cohen

  1. Timitra

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on it Kathy