The Oak Leaves is a gripping story of two women, separated by 150 years but joined by a family tree. Maureen Lang artfully weaves between the two stories in a way that kept me flipping pages because I couldn’t wait to get to the next chapter in each woman’s life.
Talie Ingram has it all: a successful husband, a 12 month old son, and another child on the way. The only problem is her son isn’t keeping up developmentally with other children. As she searches through her father’s belongings she finds a journal of distant ancestor Cosima Escott. As Talie reads the pages she is horrified to learn about a hidden chapter in her family’s history.
Surely, the problems and questions she has about her son aren’t tied to those experienced by Cosima so many years ago?
The author pulls from her experiences as the mother of a child with Fragile X Syndrome to weave a story that engulfs the reader. I felt Talie’s emotions: the rage, the fear, the guilt, and finally the willingness to accept. Through Cosima, we see what society used to do, and are challenged to avoid those stigmas and see the blessing that each person is.
“All and whatever.” Those words form the backbone of the book. All our love, commitment, faith, hope; whatever the circumstances. When life throws us a curveball we didn’t anticipate, we can dig in and commit to sticking “all and whatever,” or we can run. This book is a beautiful example, in two generations, of sticking “all and whatever.”
I loved this book and am already looking forward to the next.