Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Solomon's Oak

by Jo-Ann Mapson
New York: Bloomsbury, 2010.

*This book was received through LibraryThing Early Reviewers. As per the rules, I receive a free book in return for a review, and whether it's positive or negative has no affect on my receiving books in the future.*

There was no other tree like it in California, yet estimates suggested the tree was 200 years old. Here, Glory took in dogs from the shelter and trained them for new homes. Here she and her husband, Dan, had taken in foster sons. Here Dan had built a chapel. Now, Dan is gone, and Glory is left alone until the day the pirates had a wedding in her chapel. On that day, the social worker, Caroline, brings her a lonely teenage girl, Juniper. The wedding seems to be going smoothly, until a sword fight brings an ex-cop onto the scene, and Glory asks him to take photographs. All three - Glory, Juniper, and Joseph - have been battling their demons, and slowly begin to form relationships with each other.

I haven't read this sort of fiction in awhile, but it has all the elements I loved in stories as a teenager - especially a foster child and grieving characters. There are no easy answers for any of them, but they each have to deal with tragedy in their own way and decide if and how to move on. As their relationships grow and more of their back stories are revealed, I grew to care very much about what happened to the Glory, Juniper and Joseph. Though it may seem at first glance to be a run-of-the-mill contemporary fiction, questions about loss and closure and what God thinks of human tragedy (if he exists) give you food for thought.

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