Sunday, October 17, 2010

Solomon's Oak by Jo-Ann Mapson

"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 life, real-life situations, talents we all have hiding inside and waiting to emerge, and just plain heartfelt warmth in the book.

You will fall in love with Glory, Juniper will drive you crazy, and Joseph's patience will amaze you.

Enjoy the book....I definitely did.  Solomon’s Oak was very touching….it will make you smile, it will make you laugh, it will make you cry, and it will restore your faith in mankind’s goodness.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Great House by Nicole Krauss


An empty apartment, a friend who has furniture to give away, and now a furniture-filled apartment with lots of stories and a wonderful desk.

Then....after twenty-five years, the desk that she loved was being claimed by a relative of its original owner...she knew it would happen one day, but now that it has happened, she wasn't sure how she felt about it...not having the desk would cause a hole in her life.   She couldn't even be there when the original owner's daughter came to pick up the desk, and physical as well as mental things began happening after the loss of her beloved desk.

After the desk was gone, she got on an airplane to Ben Gurion airport...then the book went to another story.  This second story opened with a funeral in progress.

I thought it was going to be a great read since the desk plot sounded intriguing, and the cover caught my interest.

I really was lost reading this book... the beginning was good, but as the book continued, it was very puzzling, and the sections seemed detached from each other.  I had no sense of what the author was saying....the narrator talked to a "your honor," and she referred to characters by letters...R and S.

I really didn't enjoy the book because of how each chapter really wasn't connected to the others....not a continuous flow throughout the book.

I do have to say, though, that Krauss is a fantastic author....very deep and descriptive.  Krauss’s book was too over the top for me....I don't read fluff, but the book was very profound, complex, and to me disconnected.  I enjoy a flowing story that fits together.

I have seen great reviews for the book, but I just couldn't connect or follow the plot.

Best of luck with the book...I am sure it will be a best seller, but I guess I missed the point...I tried but was not able to continue reading it.  2/5.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Almost Home by Pam Jenoff

She HAD to get to London but had no explanation for her boss.  He granted her permission, and she left that very evening.

Jordan arrived in London ready to take a cab to see her very ill friend, but her co-worker met her at the airport....oh no, they do have an assignment for her.  An assignment in London wasn't the real reason she wanted to return to London, and when she does arrive, all the familiar landmarks she remembered when she was at Cambridge, make her heart twist and bring tears to her eyes as she remembers the reason that made her leave right after graduation.  Seeing Chris, a former college classmate, and then seeing him disappear from a dinner party, also didn't help with the memories.

When Chris finally does appear, he tells Jordan something that she can't ignore, and she must return to Cambridge University to find answers.  The journey back to her college days is emotionally painful, particularly since she wanted so desperately to never have to re-live an experience that changed her entire life and up to now had almost been put out of her conscious thoughts.

Meanwhile as Jordan is dealing with this information from Chris, her assignment and this situation seem to have some connection...people go missing, papers disappear, someone is following her, betrayal among friends and lovers, people are dying in "accidents" and more information comes to the surface along with a direct order to stop the investigation of a company who they know has something to hide. 

The story unravels, the mystery is solved, Jordan's pain doesn't disappear but she finally does have some hope about what caused all this in the first place.

To me the book was not as good as her other two really didn't get interesting until page 200 or so…it didn’t seem tied together until toward the end.   The ending was suspenseful and a surprise, though.

I will give it a 4/5 only because it did come together toward the end of the book.