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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 by Jo-Ann Mapson X
Solomon's Oak by Jo-Ann Mapson
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About this book

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

This information about Solomon's Oak was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

Reader Reviews

Write your own review

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.

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...

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.

Linda A. (Palo Alto, CA)

Solomon's Oak
This is a wonderful heartwarming story about people I cared about, set in geographically familiar territory - always a plus for me. Themes of love, trust, grief, and connection run throughout.

Barbara B. (Alta Loma, CA)

Solomon's Oak
Jo-Ann Mapson fans will not be disappointed in this newest novel, which takes place in Central California.

It is a wonderful story of 3 people, who have lost a dear one and find some peace in their grief through one another. All of the characters & animals are very lovable & I found myself rooting for them along the way.

Through Ms Mapson's writing I could feel Glory's, Joseph's & Juniper's pain. I have recommended this book to so many of my friends & I feel as though it would make a great book club selection, as there is much to discuss.

Vy A. (Phoenix,

Solomon's Oak by Jo-Ann Mapson
Solomon's Oak can be appreciated on many levels. If one is an animal lover, especially of dogs, it will touch your heart,somewhat reminiscent of The Story of Edgar Sawtelle. If you are a nature lover, you will appreciate the folklore of trees and flowers woven throughout. What I valued most, however, was the skillful handling of three very different and believable characters who are dealing with loss in their lives. How their interactions with one another help them through the healing process results in a good story line amidst a rich tapestry of setting and description. I highly recommend it not only for individuals but to book groups as there would be many facets to discuss.

...18 more reader reviews

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Author Information

Jo-Ann Mapson Author Biography

Jo-Ann Mapson is the author of twelve novels and a book of short stories. Her work is widely anthologized and her literary papers are being collected by Boston University's Twentieth Century Author's Collection. Hank & Chloe was her debut novel. Blue Rodeo was made into a CBS TV movie starring Kris Kristofferson. The Wilder Sisters and Bad Girl Creek were Los Angeles Times bestsellers. Solomon's Oak won the American Library Association's RUSA award for women's fiction. Many of her books have been Booksense titles and Indiebound choices. Finding Casey, featuring some of the characters from Solomon's Oak, was published October 2012.

Core faculty and co-creator of The University of Alaska Anchorage's low-residency MFA Program in Writing, she lives with ...

... Full Biography
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