Solomon's Oak

By Jo-Ann Mapson
(Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, Hardcover, 9781608193301, 374pp.)

Publication Date: October 12, 2010

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“In the shadow of a magnificent 200-year-old white oak tree, damaged people come together to form a family. Glory is in despair over the death of her husband. She takes comfort in rescuing dogs and long rides, but grief is her constant companion. Juniper talks tough, but the 14-year-old is fragile inside. Thrown away and alone, she is one more child trying to survive the foster system, but her life changes when Glory gives her a home. Joseph was a cop until things went very wrong. Recovering from his wounds, he is determined to photograph Glory's oak tree. These stories entwine in a heartwarming novel of love, loss, and renewal.”
-- Deon Stonehouse, Sunriver Books, Sunriver, OR


Description

"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.




About the Author
Jo-Ann Mapson, a third generation Californian, grew up in Fullerton as a middle child with four siblings. She dropped out of college to marry, but later finished a creative writing degree at California State University, Long Beach. Following her son's birth in 1978, Mapson worked an assortment of odd jobs teaching horseback riding, cleaning houses, typing resumes, and working retail. After earning a graduate degree from Vermont College's low residency program, she taught at Orange Coast College for six years before turning to full-time writing in 1996. Mapson is the author of the acclaimed novels Shadow Ranch, Blue Rodeo, Hank Chloe, and Loving Chloe."The land is as much a character as the people," Mapson has said. Whether writing about the stark beauty of a California canyon or the poverty of an Arizona reservation, Mapson's landscapes are imbued with life. Setting her fiction in the Southwest, Mapson writes about a region that she knows well; after growing up in California and living for a time in Arizona and New Mexico, Mapson lives today in Cosa Mesa, California. She attributes her focus on setting to the influence of Wallace Stegner.Like many of her characters, Mapson has ridden horses since she was a child. She owns a 35-year-old Appaloosa and has said that she learned about writing from learning to jump her horse, Tonto. "I realized," she said, "that the same thing that had been wrong with my riding was the same thing that had been wrong with my writing. In riding there is a term called the moment of suspension, ' when you're over the fence, just hanging in the air. I had to give myself up to it, let go, trust the motion. Once I got that right, everything fell into place."


Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com

CONVERSATION STARTERS

  1. Solomon’s Oak opens with the story of Alice Halloran, the woman who lost her child and her life in 1898. How does the legend of Alice’s ghost set the scene for the novel to come? How does Alice’s tragedy relate to the losses that Glory, Juniper, and Joseph have also endured?

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