Review: Reading The Sweet Oak By Jan Stites

Tuesday, September 8, 2015
Paperback: 386 pages
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Publication Date: September 29, 2015
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1503945154
Reading the Sweet Oak
Along the banks of the Sweet Oak River, deep in the heart of the Ozarks, a romance novel book club takes five women on stunning journeys of self-discovery.

After losing first her husband, then her daughter, seventy-eight-year-old grandmother Ruby wants to teach her risk-averse granddaughter, Tulsa, that some leaps are worth taking, no matter how high the potential fall. Tulsa loves her grandmother dearly, but she has a business to run and no time for romance—not even the paperback version. But when Ruby ropes her into a book club, Tulsa can’t bring herself to disappoint the woman who raised her.

Together with Ruby’s best friend, Pearl, as well as family friends BJ and Jen, the women embark on an exploration of modern-day love guided by written tales of romance. What they discover is a beautiful story that examines the bonds of friendship and the highs and lows of love in all its forms.

My Thoughts:

Beautifully written with the most endearing characters I've encountered in quite some time.  Set against the enchanting backdrop of the Ozarks, Reading The Sweet Oak is a novel of family, friendship, love, and the ability to forgive not only others but one's self, as well as a journey of self-discovery.  Each of the five women are so well-developed and true to life that I felt as though each one was an old friend with unique qualities and personal experiences that I could easily identify with on some level.  Whether it be BJ's diagnosis of ELS (Empty Life Syndrome), Ruby's desire to see her grand-daughter happily married, Pearl's struggle with accepting her grandson's recent revelation, Jen's strained relationship with her mother, or  Tulsa's aversion to romance in general, each of these women are absolutely endearing and are sure to tug at any reader's heart.  However, the most prevailing characteristic of this novel is the author's ability to evoke such a wide array of emotions; I found myself often laughing aloud and simultaneously reaching for a box of tissues. Only a truly gifted and talented writer can evoke such emotions.  With a well-developed plot filled with unsuspecting twists and turns throughout, this would certainly make for an excellent reading group selection and questions for discussions are provided as well.  Easily deserving of FIVE stars and highly recommended!

Reading The Sweet Oak is scheduled to be released on September 29th and is currently available for pre-order in both Paperback and Kindle versions. And, for subscribers to Amazon Prime this title will be available to borrow for free.
Dislosure: In accordance with current FTC Guidelines, please let it be known this book was received through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

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