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Solomon's Oak: A Novel Hardcover – October 12, 2010

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA (October 12, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1608193306
  • ISBN-13: 978-1608193301
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.3 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (155 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,291,036 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From 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.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Newly widowed, Glory Solomon is barely holding on to her feelings or her finances when she begins hosting destination weddings in the rustic chapel her late husband built in the shade of their towering, historic white oak. On the day a pirate-themed ceremony takes place, however, Glory embarks on a bigger adventure than any saucy bride or her swashbuckling groom could imagine. Having raised foster sons in the past when Dan was alive, Glory finds herself totally unprepared for the tattooed, pierced, and ill-tempered 14-year-old girl who is put in her care. Juniper’s family fell apart when her older sister disappeared, and her raw emotions at being abandoned by her loved ones prove to be more than fragile Glory can handle. Fortunately, help arrives in the form of Joseph Virgil, a wounded ex-cop with significant emotional baggage of his own. With abundant compassion and soothing humor, three damaged souls are rescued in Mapson’s delicate tale of renewal and healing. --Carol Haggas

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Customer Reviews

This was a good story, believable characters, kept me interested right up to the last page.
Margaret Greenslade
This was a great story, well written, and the characters and story line flowed smoothly togehter.
Jean Turicik
Glory has lost the love of her life and is trying to stay afloat financially and emotionally.
G. Beaverson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

90 of 91 people found the following review helpful By Cold reader on October 15, 2010
Format: Hardcover
No vampires, apocalypses, or talking dogs here (well, they almost talk). Mapson gives us what Faulkner insisted upon: the human heart in conflict with itself. In fact, she gives us three very large and troubled hearts. These characters drive the novel and their great appeal is that we recognize their ordinariness, and somehow, we come to understand just how remarkable that ordinariness is. The novel felt believable (a necessity) and wise (a bonus). Beyond that, it was knowledgeable, and about a wide variety of things: dogs, horses, trees, food, just to name a few of the "things." But larger issues, too, are handled with deft assurance: foster care, rescue dogs, missing persons. And none of this is forced, it's all so natural I felt sometimes like I was reading a kind of memoir.

When I reached about the two-thirds point I realized I was reading too fast and deliberately slowed myself down, just to live in Mapson's world a little longer. I finished the book a few days ago and the characters are still with me. In this strange moment in publishing, when techno-gimmicks and hyper-/meta-reality seem to rule, one can only hope a book like this reaches the large audience it deserves: smart and beautiful should be enough.
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41 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Silver's Reviews on October 17, 2010
Format: Hardcover
"The chapel had been Dan's final project. One summer morning over his oatmeal he'd said, "I've got a bug to build myself a chapel. Nothing fancy, just a place to worship out of the rain." Page 9

Thanksgiving day, the oldest white oak tree on the Solomon property, a chapel built by Dan Solomon, a wedding, and now a foster child dealing with grief just like Glory Solomon.

Glory had to do something since Dan died...her savings was gone, and her part-time job didn't really pay the bills.
One day she was asked/begged if a wedding and a reception could be held in the chapel that Dan had built. Glory hesitated and then decided the $3,000 she would get would definitely help pay the bills that were mounting. The wedding party wanted a Thanksgiving dinner and also a reception with a pirate theme and a sword fight.

The wedding was a huge success and brought a few surprises as well.....a former policeman who happened to be photographing the oak tree and a new foster child that unknown to Glory had some connection to her family dog. The connection was too close to home, and Juniper wasn't going to be too bad to have around or so she thought, so Glory told Caroline she would keep the new foster child.

Joseph the policeman was also pretty interesting...his grandmother had lived a few miles down the road from Glory when Joseph was a child, and he remembered the oak trees of California and especially the one on the Solomon property.

Solomon's Oak told the life stories of the three main characters who definitely fit and worked well together even though the connection was through their misfortunes. The book was a cozy read for me...
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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Dorothy C. Judd on October 19, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
You'll be sorry to reach the end of this book because you will feel you are leaving true friends behind. Each and every character is brought to life. Mapson describes the setting so well that, for a time, you will think you are there. You'll love the animals and wish you could rescue a dog yourself. If all that weren't enough, you'll get snippets of information about food, native lore, superstitions, plants, and animals.
I just wish she had included recipes and that I could Skype Glory, Joseph, and Juniper to check in on what is happening now!
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47 of 57 people found the following review helpful By B. Case TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 1, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I love books about extremely vulnerable people trying to cope with the everyday pain of life after great loss. That is what drew me to "Solomon's Oak," by Jo-Ann Mapson. What intrigued me even more was the promise that three such wounded people could be thrown together by circumstance and somehow succeed in healing each other's broken hearts. I started the book eagerly, but soon lost interest. The book failed to deliver because the characters remained flat and unbelievable. Try as I did to suspend belief and make the fiction come alive, it did not happen. The drama devolved into melodrama. Yes, the plot had enough subtle snags and stumbling blocks to pull me along toward an inevitable "happy" and very sentimental conclusion, but it was a struggle to finish.

What kept me partially engaged was the interesting description of life in the modern rural Central California town of Jolon. I also enjoyed all the charming animal characters; they had in spades the pop-out reality that the human characters lacked.

This novel will most likely appeal to readers who yearn to escape into fiction and be enveloped in a story with a strong message of hope. That is not my type of fiction. I seek fiction that uncovers universal truths about the nature of man and life. If you long for raw realistic fiction about vulnerable characters, you won't find it here.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Judith Barrington on October 31, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I've read several of Jo-Ann Mapson's previous novels and liked all of them, but this one is so far my favorite. Many reviews here already tell something of the story, so I won't repeat it. The characters, though, are memorable and, having just finished the book, I feel sad at having to leave them behind. Well - not exactly, as they will stay with me too.
One of the things I admire most about Mapson's writing is her ability to create fully rounded, complex characters on a very wide spectrum of humanity as well as from other species. Her dogs are characters just as her people are, and she seems to understand entirely different kinds of humans and breeds of dog. Annoying as one or other can be at times, they are annoying only in the way of the well-loved people in our own lives. And they are also admirable, brave, vulnerable, and funny.
I thoroughly recommend this book as a good read and a substantial slice of several lives.
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More About the Author

Jo-Ann Mapson (1952-) was born in So. California, now lives just outside Santa Fe, NM. Author of 12 novels, winner of the ALA RUSA award for Solomon's Oak, contemporary women's fiction, several Indie Bound selections, and anthologies. She teaches fiction in the MFA in Writing Program at the University of Alaska Anchorage. Her former students include Heather Lende, Judith Ryan Hendricks, and Earlene Fowler. Her papers are being collected in Boston University's Twentieth Century Jo-Ann Mapson's collection. She is married and has a grown son, several rescue Italian greyhounds, and is at work on a new novel. Her website is

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