Ambassador of Books ~ Book Club Madam ~ Blogger Gal

Friday, May 30, 2008

Stone Creek

First off, I have to say Thank You to bookclubgirl for sending me a copy of this book. Thank you so much!

I first heard about Stone Creek by Victoria Lustbader in this post. It's not the kind of book that I usually like to read (I'll admit ... I'm a book snob, but I'm trying really hard to reform myself!) but it intrigued me for some reason so I decided to give it a try.

Here's a brief overview from the back of the book:
Danny, a young widower, still grieves for his late wife, but for the sake of his five-year-old son, Caleb, he knows he must move on. Alone in her summer house, Lily has left her workaholic husband, Paul, to his long hours and late nights back in the city. In Stone Creek, she can yearn in solitude for the treasure she's been denied: a child.
It took me a while to get into this book. My biggest - and really ONLY - complaint is the point of view (POV). Stone Creek is told in the 3rd person by an omniscient narrator who relates what each character is saying/doing/thinking at all times. This was somewhat uncomfortable for me to read, although I can't say for sure why. I have a hard time with 3rd person narratives in general; I'd much rather a book be told in the 1st person, it just works better for me. However, once I got used to the POV and the flow of the story I really did enjoy this book!

As a side note, something that caught my attention at the very beginning of the book was the fact that Lily likes bats. I thought I was the only one! I know it's silly but that little fact made me love Lily even more. Bats are the coolest creatures ever, right? Anybody? Anybody at all???

But on to the real "meat" of the book ...

This book really touched me in a number of ways. Lustbader's descriptions of various interactions between characters and those characters' innermost feelings were excellent. Lily's hunger for a child is evident early on in the book; you can almost feel it along with her. At one point she is looking around at a party she's hosting and seeing it as if it were a play:
Lily's character is missing, of course, and from the perspective of her distant remove she sees yet another gaping absence in the cast. There should be a toddler. As comic relief, perhaps. Somewhere amid all that sizable flesh and bone there should be something about three feet tall with outstretched chubby arms and pumping chubby lets and wild dark foolish hair, alternately ignored or avidly gathered up, stumbling after everyone and trailing gleeful laughter. There should be their child. But all there is is the shadow that only she can see.
Man, if that doesn't catch at your heart strings I don't know what will.

Lustbader captures reality in her simple descriptions. At one point Danny is holding his son, Caleb, who suddenly falls asleep in his arms; then "Danny's body relaxes, his vulnerable parts ... all safe for the moment from the sharp weaponry of Caleb's arms and legs in motion." Anyone whose ever held a 5 year old knows all about those pointy elbows and knees - I could just FEEL my son on my lap squirming around as a read those words.

The tension in the novel builds steadily and I really did not know what was going to happen ... or even what I WANTED to happen. The tangle of emotions Lustbader creates is very real; it's easy to believe that this story could actually happen.

On the whole I truly enjoyed this book. It was an easy read (once I got used to the POV) and would be a perfect vacation read.

I was going to give away my copy in a contest but now I can't because I got it all wet. See, what happened was ... I was fighting the fact that I needed to turn on the air conditioning in my house. Instead I laid on my bed with a cool, wet rag across my forehead and pretended I was comfortable. Sometime during the night, the wet rag landed on my book and spent the night there. My lovely, perfect, NEW book now looks like it was dropped in the pool and left out to dry. :( Oops. Now I have the air conditioning on.


Sam said...

You've made me curious. For me, not a book that I would normally read but after taking in your review it might have to be something I do this summer!

Kim said...

What a great idea to blog about. Sounds like a great book! Here from NCLM

baby~amore' said...

I'm here from NaComLeavCom

I am intrigued about the book too.
I am reading the Memory Keeper's Daughter based on an online review.
I will check your blog for other good reads.

My Little Drummer boys
warm regards

Darla D said...

I have that same problem with some omniscient narrators, too - I'm glad it's not just me! I prefer first person, or limited 3rd, usually. Sometimes omniscient can be so intrusive that it throws me out of the book, if that makes any sense. Sounds like an intriguing book. Great review!

Heather Johnson said...

Sam & Kim - thanks for dropping by! Let me know if you get around to reading this book sometime.

Trish - I watched the movie version of Memory Keepers Daughter recently. My book club plans to read it in the fall. I'm not sure I like it all that much though ... please let me know what you think when you finish it.

Hi Darla - I'm glad someone else gets what I'm saying! Thanks for dropping by. :)

Rachael said...

First person is my favorite POV, too. It's so easy to slip into the story. It sounds like this is a worthwhile read, even with the omniscient POV. The quotes you pulled from the book are awesome.

Sorry to hear about the wet misfortune to your book. I lost a book to the bathtub when I fell asleep, once.

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