|The Oak Leaves
By Maureen Lang / Tyndale House
A beautiful young son, a devoted husband, a successful life; Talie Ingram has it all. When Talie comes across the journal of a nineteenth century ancestor, though, it seems as though the perfect life her family has lead may come to an end.
Written in the journal are tales of the family being cursed with feebleminded offspring. Talie decides to ignore the journal, burying it back to the recesses of the past. However, when her son begins showing sign of developmental delay, Talie must reexamine the legacy that she has passed onto her son, and make peace with the unborn child that she is carrying. Maureen Lang, softcover, 401 pages.
I really REALLY enjoyed this book. From start to finish, I was completely taken by it and didn’t want to put it down. It’s the first in a new series and I am already anxious for the second book which is due out later this year.
The Oak Leaves is basically two stories in one book. It starts with Talie Ingram and her current family which includes her husband Luke and young son Ben. That part is set in modern day. The other part of the story comes into play when Talie finds and reads a journal that was kept by a distant grandmother in the 1850s in Ireland and England. That character is Cosima and her story involves her family, the “curse” associated with her family in Ireland, her faith and her plight to true love. In modern day, Talie and Luke are noticing trends in young Ben that concern them – he is not reaching developmental milestones on time, etc. Through reading Cosima’s journal, Talie comes to find that this happened in Cosima’s family in Ireland and was known as a curse because of those in her family that were “feeble-minded.” Talie and Luke seek to find answers and want to uncover the truth about Ben’s condition. In the meantime, they discover that Talie is pregnant again and share concerns about the future of their unborn child. They draw strength and determination from their faith (although, this book deals so beautifully with the questions they have even with faith firmly in place) and from reading Cosima’s journal. I don’t want to give away too much, so I won’t say anymore about the two plots.
Both stories were beautifully told. Both were captivating and I grew to care about the characters immediately. When I read the description of the book initially, I’ll admit that I wasn’t sure that I’d like a story that went back and forth between two time periods. However, the way Maureen Lang wrote this book, the two stories blend together beautifully. I found myself eager to find out what would happen next in both of the stories as both captivated my interest.
This book is an excellent piece of Christian fiction. It doesn’t shy away from topics like questioning God and it doesn’t sugar coat the tough issues that faced by Christians. I appreciated the raw emotion the book allowed the characters to have and how tests of faith do come along in our lives. I also appreciated how those issues were handled.
The Oak Leaves was one of the best books I have read in a long time. I’d recommend it to readers of Christian fiction. I am already anxious for the second installment of this series to be released. In the meantime, the next time I buy books I am going to look for more by Maureen Lang.