Finding Casey by Jo-Ann Mapson picks up a few years later and a few states east of where her 2011 novel Solomon’s Oak left off. Glory and her new husband Joseph relocated to New Mexico and live in an old house haunted by Dolores, a ghost that readers regretfully never learn much about. Juniper is away at college but returns home every weekend, citing personality difference between herself and her party-hard roommates. She also returns home to help out around the house, because Glory finds herself unexpectedly pregnant at the age of 42.
Finding Casey by Jo-Ann Mapson is a sequel you can read as a standalone novel, but is better as a sequel. The characterization in this novel isn’t dependent on the previous novel only because it follows completely different story lines. Seemingly gone are Joseph’s physical impairments (except at a brief point in the book when he is narrating), Juniper’s snippy sarcasm, and Glory’s ruminations on love, grief, and the stunning view from her kitchen window. Those raw emotions from each of the main characters are what made the first novel so endearing, so I do admit to missing those elements. I wonder if Mapson had intended on this sequel all along, or if she was pressured by readers (or herself?) to tell them the rest of the story. The first story ended nicely, wrapped up tightly with only one question: what happened to Juniper’s sister Casey? Well, this sequel gives us the answer.
I first read a Jo-Ann Mapson novel in 2002, falling in love with the women of Bad Girl Creek. One would think she has endured a life-changing disability, the kidnapping of a sister, the death of a husband, and a terminal illness, due to the fact that she writes about each so poignantly. I recommend her books, including Finding Casey, to women who want to read about real women, real struggles, and to read ” the rest of the story”. Mapson doesn’t leave her readers hanging, settling our minds with her sequels that are distinctly different from the original story.