The Roots of the Olive Tree (Paperback)
September 2012 Indie Next List
“Set in northern California, Santo's debut features five generations of strong women who live in an old house on an olive grove. The women know there is a secret to harvesting the last of the olive crop to produce an oil so pure that it seems to enhance longevity. Rich with secrets, this lovely novel winds through the lives of each woman as a geneticist seeks the reason for their youthfulness. Santo gives readers an intimate look into how a family of women cope with tragedy, love, childbirth, and infidelity. Not to be missed!”
— Annie Philbrick, Bank Square Books, Mystic, CT
Courtney Miller Santo's compelling and evocative debut novel captures the joys and sorrows of family the love, secrets, disappointments, jealousies, and forgiveness that tie generations to one another
Meet the Keller family, five generations of firstborn women living together in the same house on a secluded olive grove in the Sacramento Valley of Northern California. Anna, the family matriarch, is 112 and determined to become the oldest person in the world. Strong in mind and firm in body, she rules Hill House, the family home she shares with her daughter Bets, granddaughter Callie, great-granddaughter Deb, and great-great-granddaughter Erin.
While the Keller women are bound by blood, living together has not always been easy. And it is about to become more complicated now that Erin, the youngest, is back, alone and pregnant, after two years abroad with an opera company. Her return and the arrival of a geneticist who has come to study the family's unusual longevity ignites explosive emotions that these women have kept buried and uncovers revelations that will shake them all to their roots.