Reading the Sweet Oak
By Jan Stites
Narrated by Karen Peakes / 9 hours 33 minutes
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.
“This sweet, well-paced work is concerned with the gathering of five women who live on the banks of the peaceful Sweet Oak River deep in the Ozarks. Each of them is in need of love, and the matriarch of the group gently guides them to their own best decisions through a romance book club. A subplot in which a boy from outside the community has a whirlwind romance with a hometown girl features an unexpected plot twist, and the result is much more realistic than other examples of the trope. Of special enjoyment for avid readers are the discussions of other actual romance novels. Karen Peakes's narration is excellent; her slight country twang hits the right regional notes. The low-key approach to the relationships makes this one suitable for readers of Christian fiction. VERDICT: For romance listeners and fans of gentle fiction.” —J. Sara Paulk, Houston Cty. P.L., Perry, GA
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