Friday, October 24, 2014

Solomon's Oak by Jo-Ann Mapson

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.

My Thoughts:
I enjoyed reading this book, but I thought I would enjoy it more.  It is an easy, well written novel that follows the lives of three individuals whose lives intertwine in interesting ways.

Glory Solomon is a widow coming up on the first anniversary of her late husband’s death.  She is asked by a couple if they can have their wedding at the chapel that her husband finished building shortly before his death.  She accepts after she discovers the reason that the couple has been turned down by every other church is that they want a pirate themed ceremony.

Meanwhile, Glory is asked by social worker/friend Caroline (whose motives become known later in the book) if she can host a troubled 14 year old named Juniper for the night until she can find a “forever home” for the girl.  Glory hesitantly agrees.  

During the aforementioned pirate nuptials, former forensic lab worker Joseph Vigil is taking pictures of the famed Solomon’s Oak when he sees a duel during the ceremony and his police instinct kicks in.  He crashes the wedding and draws his gun, demanding that the dueling swordsmen drop their weapons.  Glory quickly cuts in and explains that it is all part of the ceremony and calms the situation.  Joseph, now embarrassed, holsters his gun and apologizes for his instinct overtaking him.  Fortunately for Glory, whose camera isn’t working, Joseph agrees to take pictures of the ceremony in exchange for a plate of leftovers to take home.

From there, Glory, Juniper, and Joseph’s lives are brought together in interesting ways. Glory struggles to form a relationship with Juniper, whom she truly believes in and wants to help, but can't seem to get a grasp on it.  Joseph becomes an unlikely hero, if you will, in the situation and helps bring Juniper and Glory together and closer than they would've imagined.

As I said, I thought this book would be better.  Don’t get me wrong, it is good, just not as good as I was expecting.  The historical tidbits are accurate, the writing is great, and the ending is very fitting and a great conclusion, but my expectations were higher. 

Sexual Content: moderate (sex scene, no description)
Violence: mild 
Langauge: mild

Drugs/Alcohol: mild

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