Saturday, 4 June 2016

Reading the Sweet Oak by Jan Stites (Romance, Contemporary fiction, 10/10E, short 'n' sweet review)

 September 2015, Lake Union Publishing, 387 pages, Ebook, Review copy from NetGalley

Book summary
 Along the banks of the Sweet Oak River, deep in the heart of the Ozarks, a 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.

Nayu's thoughts
 * Grins * Just thinking back on this book makes me smile. Tulsa is as stubborn as her grandmother, especially when she's set on avoiding any man helping her out, which she needs on multiple occasions throughout the book. Running a canoe business is tough work, especially when unexpected and unwanted obstacles get in the way. And what kind of book addict am I not to be attracted by characters having a book club?!

I adored the close-knit community and family feel of the book. There's a lot of humour considering all the life issues that crop out. I was amused when the truth was revealed for why Tulsa's grandmother Ruby has quite so many visitors (I'm seriously hoping I haven't got this muddled with a different book, if I have I'm sorry!), I liked how surprised Tulsa was when there were ways around obstacles that she hadn't thought of. It was fascinating to witness life from several women with different outlooks and at different stages of life, because they all had something to offer each other eventually, even if they did feel they were too different. Everyone has secrets and struggles, and often the essential parts of them are the same.

This is a superb read, one I'm looking forward to reread. There's nothing wrong with it, it just didn't quite hit the top grade for me. Set aside a few hours to read this, be prepared to gain some insight into your own life and broaden your perspective too. 

Find out more on  Jan's website.

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