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

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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.

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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

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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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