Solomon's Oak

Solomon's Oak

4.3 90
by Jo-Ann Mapson
     
 

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Solomon's Oak is the story of three people who have suffered losses that changed their lives forever.

Glory Solomon, a young widow, holds tight to her memories while she struggles to hold on to her Central California farm. She makes ends meet by hosting weddings in the chapel her husband had built under their two-hundred-year-old white oak tree, known

Overview

Solomon's Oak is the story of three people who have suffered losses that changed their lives forever.

Glory Solomon, a young widow, holds tight to her memories while she struggles to hold on to her Central California farm. She makes ends meet by hosting weddings in the chapel her husband had built under their two-hundred-year-old white oak tree, known locally as Solomon's Oak. Fourteen-year-old Juniper McGuire is the lone survivor of a family decimated by her sister's disappearance. She arrives on Glory's doorstep, pierced, tattooed, angry, and homeless. When Glory's husband Dan was alive, they took in foster children, but Juniper may be more than she can handle alone. Joseph Vigil is a former Albuquerque police officer and crime lab photographer who was shot during a meth lab bust that took the life of his best friend. Now disabled and in constant pain, he arrives in California to fulfill his dream of photographing the state's giant trees, including Solomon's Oak.

In Jo-Ann Mapson's deeply felt, wise, and gritty novel, these three broken souls will find in each other an unexpected comfort, the bond of friendship, and a second chance to see the miracles of everyday life.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Mapson’s (Hank & Chloe) latest is an emotionally genuine if predictable story of three lonely, damaged people who find solace in one another. A year after the untimely death of her husband, Dan, Glory Solomon is adrift, in financial trouble, and unable to find much meaning in a world without her mate. But when she opens a wedding chapel on her historic California ranch (known for its ancient oak tree), she attracts a variety of couples in search of unconventional nuptials--and two lost souls. Juniper McGuire, an angry teenage girl, is still reeling from the tragedy that put her into the foster care system. And a former crime scene photographer, Joseph Vigil, suffers chronic pain from an on-the-job accident. Together, the three grievers form a tentative support system that could--if they’ll let it--be called love. As in her previous novels, Mapson seems most at ease describing the relationship between human and animal--especially dogs and horses--and in rendering the Western landscape. Her facility with dialogue, however, is less impressive, but most readers will be too involved in the sweep of loss and recovery to stumble for long over awkward talk. (Oct.)
Kirkus Reviews

Mapson's quirky, character-driven novels (The Owl & Moon Café, 2006, etc.) explore loneliness under the big skies of the West, and this effort is no exception as a young widow rebuilds her life on her Central California farm.

Though Glory Solomon's husband died almost a year ago, she still sits in the closet with his clothes and cries. At least she has the animals to keep her going: goats and chickens, abandoned horses and two rescue dogs she is training for adoption. To help make ends meet she is using the farm as a wedding venue—her late husband Dan built a chapel on the property, which also boasts Solomon's Oak, an ancient white oak that draws tourists and botanists from all over. Coupled with Glory's cooking skills, the whole wedding thing just may save her from working another day at Target. And then along comes Juniper McGuire, a 14-year-old foster kid Glory hesitantly agrees to take in. She and Dan used to foster-parent boys, and under Dan's gentle tutelage they became kind young men, but Glory's not sure she can handle Juniper, an angry girl with facial piercings and a bluebird tattooed on her neck. But then a kind of fate intervenes as she discovers who Juniper is: Juniper's older sister Casey was famously abducted four years earlier while walking her new dog—a rescue Glory herself gave the family and who made its way back to Glory's farm the day of the kidnapping. When Juniper meets Cadillac again, the two become inseparable, and Glory thinks this relationship may save the girl from her own destruction. Despite school trouble with Juniper, Glory's life is slowly improving—the chapel is getting more bookings and she meets Joseph Vigil, a former cop (living with chronic pain from a shooting that took his partner) who came to photograph Solomon's Oak and has stuck around to help tutor Juniper. Mapson's three damaged souls, and the ghosts in their lives, are able to find in each other just the thing to make life worth living.

A tender portrayal of those left behind in the wake of tragedy.

From the Publisher

“In Solomon's Oak, we see how some things-like massive oaks, and unshakable love-can stand the test of time. I love the way Jo-Ann Mapson writes about family-how the roots we put down are the ones that ultimately hold us together. Actually, let me correct myself: I just love the way Jo-Ann Mapson writes, period.” —Jodi Picault

“With abundant compassion and soothing humor, three damaged souls are rescued in Mapson's delicate tale of renewal and healing.” —Booklist

“Mapson continues to carve out her niche with this lovely, well-written story of the walking wounded reaching out to one another and the beauty of friendship.” —Library Journal

“Three people aching with loss piece together new lives in Mapson's gorgeous new novel. Dazzlingly written, indelibly moving and deeply profound, Solomon's Oak is filled with grace, heart, and wisdom, and a rich cast of indelibly real characters, right down to the dogs. It's sometimes a cliché to call a book the author's absolute best, but this one is truly a gem.” —Caroline Leavitt

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781608193301
Publisher:
Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
10/12/2010
Pages:
384
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.30(d)

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Meet the Author

Jo-Ann Mapson is the author of nine previous novels, including the beloved Hank & Chloe, Blue Rodeo (CBS TV movie), and the Los Angeles Times bestsellers The Wilder Sisters and Bad Girl Creek, a book club favorite. She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with her husband and their five dogs. Visit her website at www.joannmapson.com.

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Solomon's Oak 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 90 reviews.
Frisbeesage More than 1 year ago
Another beautiful book from Jo-Ann Mapson! Solomon's Oak is an ancient white oak, growing in California, where no white oak should be able to grow. When Glory Solomon is widowed at an early age she unwittingly becomes its caretaker. Her new foster daughter, Juniper, arrives just as Glory is hosting her first wedding in the chapel her husband built under its branches. Close on Juniper's heels comes Joesph, an injured cop who is there to photograph the famous tree. Together, the three of them will weave a story of healing under the patient gaze of the ancient tree. I absolutely fell in love with this book from the very beginning! The background is laid with rich California history, it is fleshed out with flawed, realistic, deeply felt characters, and finished off with a perfectly paced plot. I was especially impressed with the rendering of Juniper, a deeply troubled teenage girl. Jo-Ann Mapson gets just right the fierce emotions, hot and cold temper, striking intelligence and complete lack of common sense that is a teenage girl. Everything that is infuriating and lovable is there. She also perfectly captured how three emotionally wounded people can together pull each other out of the pain and find the way back into life. Sorry if I'm gushing, but I loved this book! Arguably one of Jo-Ann Mapson's best!
TheBookFairy More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. The characters were so real! They faced regular hardships that anyone might face in real life. You will fall in love with each character for different reasons. There were times when this book brought me to tears it was so poignant. Well written. A must read.
anovelreview_blogspot_com More than 1 year ago
The novel begins with three people who are lost and alone-who want to stay alone. Glory Solomon is a widow who is doing her best to take care of her farm with little money and no help. Using the church her husband built, she begins hosting weddings on her property. While hosting a pirate wedding (the first wedding she is hosting at her little chapel), her old friend and social worker begs her take Juniper a young 14-year old girl into her home for the night. Juniper abandoned by her father, orphaned by her mother.she was a casualty of her older sister's disappearance. She is alone and wants to keep everyone at a distance, trusting no one. Glory reluctantly agrees to let the girl stay for one night only. But during this one night, Glory feels a sense of responsibility to the girl once she finds out her own connection in Juniper's sister's disappearance. As the wedding continues, swords are drawn and a stranger suddenly appears to 'save the day' with a gun in hand and a camera around his neck. The knight in shining armor so to say is, Joseph Vigil, a former Albuquerque police officer who was injured on the job and was is only staying for a few months at his grandmother's old cabin. The three lives are suddenly thrust together. Slowly over time, the three befriend each other. They all hold each other at an arm's length until Juniper's MIA father shows up, just as Juniper seems to be moving forward. His arrival causes a series of events to occur, which breaks down the walls they have all put up around themselves and open themselves up to what they were really feeling. As they finally admit to themselves how they feel about each other, it just might be too late. Solomon's Oak is a long story, and I don't mean that in a negative way. There is so much beautiful descriptions and back story, while you are reading along it slows down events. I would say it adds much to the fullness of the story itself. For most of the book the chapters are really long. I'm personally not a fan of a long chapter. Near the end of the book there seems to be more breaks and I believe it read more quickly because of the breaks. The back stories really help you catch up to whom the characters really are and what brought them to this point in time. The back story of Joseph lingers more slowly than either Glory or Juniper's, which I didn't feel as connected to him as a character, but I did really like him. At first the story really centers on Glory, but then moves separately on all three, so you see them more in depth. I love this approach. Glory really has her hands full with Juniper and yet she keeps on with her. Glory never sees her inner beauty, strength or how she seems to be a rescuer of people and not just her animals. At first I didn't know how Glory could deal with everything she was dealing with on top of all that dealing with an ungrateful teenage girl, but because of the way Mapson centers on one character at a time, it really allows you to gain a greater appreciation for the young girl and truthfully I fell in love with Juniper. I couldn't help but be angry how she doesn't get a voice when her father comes back to town. You realize how she is like Glory, wanting to take care of those around her. This was really a good book. I think what I enjoyed the best is the story was so down-to-earth, real. It had grittiness to it. This is a story with heart and soul in it. If you are looking for something to really warm your heart, this is the book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a beautifully written story about love, emotions, patience, friendships, and tradegy. You fall in love with the main character, Glory. She is as strong as the 200 year old giant oak tree that stands in her yard, even though she is grieving for the sudden loss of her husband. Amid the chaos that has become her life in trying save her farm, she takes in a deeply troubled foster teenaged girl. Where many a foster parent would have given up, Glory with her strong determination and past expierences raising foster children forges ahead. Slowly you see the bond between Glory and Jupiter, (the foster girl) develop. It is an expierence in itself to the reader to see this happen. Love conquers all and happiness follows. This book is a five star rating and highly recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Just finished this beautiful story of three different people with three different dramas going on in their lives - and yet, you guessed it - they somehow come together to form a bond stronger than a stell weld. Marveously written, the story caught me from the opening page and held me right up to the end - which disappointed me - I did not want it to end. Read this one for sure.
SincerelyStacie More than 1 year ago
I'm guessing the publisher/pr firm was trying to get more buzz about this book since I received it over a year after it came out. It finally may its way to the top of my to-read pile and I am certainly happy it did. I have never read a book by Mapson, but I plan to add a couple of hers to my list. This story reminded me a bit of THE LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS because of the way it involved a women who was hurting and a foster child needing to be loved. But, beyond the foster child story, were so many pieces to the lives of these characters that you were rooting for them from the very beginning...even without knowing the whole story. Grief, anger, hope, family dynamics, friendship, love, photography, nature, and animals are just a few of the tags that could be attached to this novel. This novel is also rich with book club discussion topics. Mapson wrote so beautifully that it was almost poetic at times. Places were so descriptive that I could imagine them. The character's faces appeared in my mind and I could smell the food that was being made. I appreciated the honest way the author gave the character's feelings. My heart ached for them as I turned the pages, but I still believed there was hope for them. My most favorite part of the whole story was when Glory finally calls her sister, Halle for help. Even though their relationship was contentious and difficult, Glory swallowed her pride and called her sister. Halle, didn't even blink an eye and came immediately to her aid. That's was love is all about. Even though the story drug a bit in the middle, I was interested enough to keep reading. The long chapters also made the pace of the novel move a little slower for me. Sometimes the story was held up a bit by the descriptions. But, I hated to see it end. I'd loved to hear more about the lives of Glory, Juniper, and Joseph.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly enjoyed this story! I loved the characters and how they came together. I look forward to reading more stories from Joann Mapson, wonderful author!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"Hello. I would like to join." The she cat meows
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I will be the new med cat! I was at my old clan. A beautiful she cat says.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She pads in
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Where are u kit?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
?..
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ok thanks
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
&bull;HollyEye: He sniffed the air, his ears twitching slightly. <br> <br> &bull;HailFlower: She watched the clan. <br> <br> &bull;SlamCatcher: He yawned.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I think you need to pick a new med cat. I am so busy lately, i have had time to only rp in one clan, and even in that i am not the most active cat. So, i really do think that you should pick a new med cat.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A nice but predictable story. Good for a quick read if you want something uncomplicated.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
farklee More than 1 year ago
The book made me happy that this woman found a way to make a living on a littl chapel and had weddings for unusual people, it left my wanting more, hated to come to the end. Loved it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The language of Solomon's Oak is best described as "lyrical" and the characters were drawn well. This is a book to be savored slowly. I was transpoted into the worlds of Glory, Juniper and Joseph. Great book and much more than a chick lit.
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