Heart Wood Family Tree

A story for the times we’re facing.

Deep in the heart of a small, oak writing desk is a legacy that mysteriously connects three family women across centuries and generations in their fight for the future.

Shima’a, an ancient woman with disturbing visions of the Earth’s demise, sends a message of warning and a seed of hope forward in time within the heart of an acorn to three family women of California’s past, present, and future.

From Kirkus Reviews:

The author chronicles the lives of Eliza, who comes of age in the 1800s; Harmony, who lives in the present day; and Amisha, whose narrative begins in 2075. Eliza is the matriarch of the family and the owner of a special desk made of an oak’s “heart wood.” The desk imbues its owners with a love of the land and a calling to protect the Earth from ecological destruction.

Harmony, the only character’s voice rendered in first person, witnesses firsthand the rapid environmental destruction caused by corporate manipulation and greed. She refuses to sell, or even leave, her homestead in Luna Valley, Northern California, as many of her neighbors have, and she commits to growing her own food and working with local environmental activists to offset a seemingly inevitable disaster. Decades later, Amisha will find her way back to this homestead in an effort to try to reconnect to the Earth. The desk inexplicably “call[s]” her back to her family’s property, where she pores through Harmony’s journals and communes with nature. She heeds Eliza’s warning from almost 200 years ago: “If we don’t make protecting our earth the heart of everything we do…then everything else we do will be in vain.”

Read the full Kirkus Review.

Inspiration for the three Heart Wood Women

Eliza was inspired by my Great-Grandmother Emily Hoppin and her scrapbook that I inherited filled with her writings, speeches, and news clippings of her 1915 election as President of the California Federation of Women’s Clubs.

Harmony evolved from my own experience returning to the Sierra with the wave of back-to-the-landers in the 1970’s and our battle to save our community from being flooded by a proposed dam.  

Amisha, a late comer to the story, appeared one night as an apparition of my great-granddaughter from the future, and announced that because we are all creating her future world, the future must be a part of this story.

From these three women and the legend of Shima’a, an ancient seer who foresaw the future, Heart Wood was conceived. You can read all the original historical documents used in Heart Wood.