Tree Fever

Dearborn, passionate protagonist of Bracebridge author Karen Hood-Caddy's breakout novel Tree Fever, turns out to have other positions for her body, too, when discovering in the woods her own slumbering sensuality.

As other middle-aged women and local news media become stirred into action by her gusty stand against the tree cutters, another supporter also appears on the scene – an aboriginal man whose innate rhythm with nature guides Jessie through this pivotal life moment. Soon they are guided by their instincts, not only for trees and their essential place in the ecology, but for each other. Jessie awakens to a middle-aged sexuality as hot as the midday sun. This is a sensual book on many levels, a coming-of-age story for grown-ups, entwined with nature, human and otherwise, in a Muskoka setting.

The popularity of Tree Fever, and the fervor of Hood-Caddy's full-blown character Jessie Dearborn, propelled the author into two sequels, Flying Lessons and The Wisdom of Water, both set in a north Muskoka town that is Huntsville in everything but name. In all three books, the spiritual strength of Jessie torques most of the action. Flying Lessons involves battling a resort-builder who is pillaging the ecosystem, while The Wisdom of Water reprises Walkerton's tainted water scandal on a Muskoka stage.

There's a common pattern across all three books: redemption, the power of belief, and how a woman may find her spiritual and sexual self while fighting the good fight. Yet Hood-Caddy's plots are each different enough, the writing consistently engaging, and her sharply painted portraits of contemporary Muskoka so true to life, that these are not "formula" books. Each is a rewarding read.

Where practitioners of holistic medicine work with patients, Karen Hood-Caddy works through creative narrative that integrates soul, spirit, body, and earth. Although it takes felled trees to make the paper for such books, women shifting gears in life may find these pages more like a mirror than printed paper.

— Review by J. Patrick Boyer

ISBN: 978-0-929141-53-4
RendezVous Press, 1997
264 pages 5.5 x 8.5 in
$18.95 CDN/USA paperback


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