Solomon's Oak: Book summary and reviews of Solomon's Oak by Jo-Ann Mapson

Solomon's Oak

A Novel

By Jo-Ann Mapson

Solomon's Oak
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  • Published in USA  Oct 2010,
    384 pages.

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Book Summary

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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Reviews

Media Reviews

"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

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

"As in her previous novels, Mapson seems most at ease describing the relationship between human and animal ... 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." - Publishers Weekly

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

"How does Jo-Ann Mapson do it? She makes us look at people we'd rather not see - the abandoned, the broken, the lost - and then makes us cry for them and care for them, rejoice and hope for them. One chapter into Solomon's Oak, I surrendered to Glory Solomon's hope and her collection of restless hearts, and my world simply disappeared." - Jacquelyn Mitchard

"In Solomon's Oak, we see how some things - like massive oaks, and unshakeable 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 Picoult

"Three people aching with loss piece together new lives in Mapson’s gorgeous new novel.  Dazzlingly writte, 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, author of Girls in Trouble and Pictures of You

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Reader Reviews

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Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by Carol Peters
A story of love and loss
"Solomon's Oak" is a beautifully crafted story of loss and love found. Glory's husband has died suddenly and she is trying to survive by renting out her wedding chapel in the shadow of Solomon's Oak a beautiful oak tree. We are then introduced to Juniper a young girl who has been abandoned by her family and placed in Glory's care. Glory and her Dan had fostered several boys over the years but this is her first time fostering a girl. We also follow the story of Joseph Virgil an ex police officer who was wounded and meets Glory trying to photograph Solomon's Oak on Glory's ranch.

These three souls are the heart of the story and we follow their journey together to build new relationships and love. Ms Mapson's dialogue seemed to flow from one character to the next and she brings you into the story effortlessly.

I would recommend this book to teens and also book clubs for the discussion of human relationships. Ms. Mapson's brings you into each character and you can easily find yourself caught up in this wonderful story.

Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by Catherine W. (Florissant, MO)
Families are complicated
The book reads very fast and catches your interest quickly. The author changes point of view among the characters to give us additional insight into their thoughts and feelings as she unveils the plot line. The characters are well drawn and complex. The interactions between the characters are believable and their reactions pull at our emotions. The ending seems natural and satisfies our need for closure. A very easy book to lose yourself in!

Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Kandi D. (Beaverton, OR)
Soloman's Oak by Jo-Ann Mapson
Jo-Ann Mapson has a talent for creating fascinating, down-to-earth characters you connect with right from the beginning and who you want to follow to the end to see how their story plays out. I’ve read several of her books and in my opinion this is one of her best. The three central characters in this story each have their own heart breaking past to deal with and when they come together they help each other see the world in a whole new way. This is a wonderful story of personal growth and a second chance at life. I highly recommend it.

Rated 2 of 5 of 5 by Tiffiny C. (Chillicothe, Il)
Solomon's Oak
I read to page 149. I just could not connect with the book. I really tried to keep going in hopes of finding some connection but it actually just got worse. I will say I liked the idea of the story but it just did not hold my attention.

Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Sherri A. (westbrook, ct)
Solomon's Oak
Reading a novel by Jo-Ann Mapson is like spending quality time with a best girlfriend--it goes by too quick and you can't wait to do it again! "Solomon's Oak" delivers on all fronts; from Glory, recently widowed, to Juniper, the teen who comes for the night only to stay forever, to Joseph, the ex-cop with his own pain--these characters WILL stay with you...

Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Amber B. (Canton, Ohio)
Solomon's Oak
I really enjoyed this engaging novel. I found the characters raw and vulnerable - and while they certainly came to grips with their losses, it felt genuine and not sentimental. More importantly, they seemed to let themselves feel their losses for what they were and didn't force themselves to just 'get over them.' I loved the imaginative wedding scenes Mapson created. Some of the dialogue felt a little forced in the beginning, but got better as the story progressed. There are many themes for book clubs to explore, such as grief, honesty, the role of nature, vulnerability with others, marriage, friendships, family relationships, and community.

...18 more reader reviews

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Author Information

Jo-Ann Mapson Author Biography

Jo-Ann Mapson is the author of ten previous novels, including the beloved Solomon's Oak, winner of the American Library Association's 2011 RUSA Award for Women's Fiction, Hank & Chloe, Blue Rodeo (CBS TV movie), and the Los Angeles Times bestsellers The Wilder Sisters and Bad Girl Creek. She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with her husband and their four dogs.

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