Love of a Stonemason Paperback – Jul 24 2010
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About the Author
Born and raised in Switzerland, Christa Polkinhorn has always had the desire to explore the world outside of her beautiful but tiny country. As a young woman, she traveled through Europe, came to the United States on an exchange program, and ended up staying. Her travels led her to China and Japan as well as South America. She studied literature and linguistics in Zurich and California. Now, she lives and works as writer and translator in southern California and divides her time between the United States and her native Switzerland. The tension and excitement this “double life” creates informs her literary work. Most of her novels take place in several countries. Aside from writing and traveling, Christa is an avid reader and a lover of the arts and dark chocolate.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
"I don't pretend to know what love is for everyone, but I can tell you what it is for me; love is knowing all about someone, and still wanting to be with them more than any other person, love is trusting them enough to tell them everything about yourself, including the things you might be ashamed of, love is feeling comfortable and safe with someone, but still getting weak knees when they walk into a room and smile at you."
This is exactly what Polkinhorn's novel is all about, the struggle to overcome your demons and let love flood in.
Karla is an artist, but like most magicians with a canvas her talents come at a cost. At the age of 5 Karla lost her mother, and with it went her peace. Andreas is also an artist, but instead of painting he carves tombstones. Both have issues, both are looking for closure, and in a ironic turn of fate (or an inability to look where they are going) they are about to meet, but will their instant connection be enough to keep them together? With depression, and anger waiting in the wings Karla and Andreas are forced to make a decision... face their pasts together, or live their hells alone.
A few days ago I was dreading having to write this review. I was 20% in and bored (which is never a good sign) but luckily my inability to toss a book (regardless of how crappy) kicked in and I pushed through. I'm very glad I didn't give up. While I undoubtedly enjoyed the first few chapters of this novel, my patience began to wear thin when the focus of the novel shifted. What I thought was supposed to be a (in the most basic term) "love story" suddenly turned into a long drawn out battle with daddy issues. Thankfully, Polkinhorn's ability to creatively capture the culture, and beauty of her settings added brief moments of reprieve from (an otherwise) excessively wordy section, and enticed the reader to keep moving. After her stint in Peru however, things very quickly got back on track (well... as on track as you can be for throwing depression, abandonment, resentment and infidelity at a couple) and before I knew it I was sucked back in. The writing quality as a whole was wonderful, and Polkinhorn's ability to "write art" was a nice little treat when it was all said in done. Her characters (though written to have a slew of flaws) were nicely detailed, and allowed the reader to indulge in their complexities.
All in all... not bad for a book I initially disliked.
One word of warning however, if this sounds like the book for you, please set aside the appropriate amount of time to read it. It is not an easy read, and it is long... so take your time and be prepared to learn some hard lessons.
Happy reading my fellow Kindle-ites and remember: If you plan on writing secret love letters to people, don't leave them on the table for everyone to see... that just screams FAIR GAME!
For a complete book description click image
How to classify this book - I first thought it sounded like a romance, but after finishing it, I would say it is more general fiction. Romance is key, Karla and Andreas' relationship is very key to the book. But most romance novels stop after dating and marriage usually, sometimes with glimpses of family life if there are several books in a series. The beauty of Ms. Polkinhorn's novel is that it continues through the years after they marry and delves much deeper into the characters of Karla and Andreas as they tackle the new ups and downs of marriage, of their art and of family.
Love of a Stonemason never lags in plot. Whether you are looking into depression, the ups of a great art career, the separation (distance-wise) of Andreas and Karla, starting a family, all of this flowed together so well and made a great story. I was never bored and wondering when something good would happen. It was all interesting and attention getting. It's as edge-of-your-seat as a non-thriller work can get. I was always wondering what would happen next, what aspect of life would be shown.
The realism is beautiful too. Love of a Stonemason truly shows the ups and downs of life, love and family. No family or person is perfect, there are always problems and always two sides to a story and that is what this book really looks into. I love that every aspect is shown and I really enjoyed the growth of the characters. Andreas and Karla are not superficial, you really get to know them through the whole book. I felt as though I knew them personally. The foreign setting and descriptions of landscapes and cities is also well-done. I also enjoyed learning about the art world, something that never really interested me before, but the author does a great job of making it interesting.
I laughed, I cried, I was frustrated with the characters (in a good way). I think I ran through most every emotion with this book. And what I love most is the feeling of the complete story and it's a story that will stick with me for some time. I found myself thinking of Karla and Andreas and the other people in their lives through the weekend. Really letting the story settle over me and how I feel now is that this is a definite reread in my book and that is saying something since I don't really reread books. My true hope is Ms. Polkinhorn will have another book on the way so I have another one of her books to enjoy. She brings realism to the story without it depressing you and leaving you down for days and I really like that. I do not have any complaints about this book and I think those of you who enjoy general fiction with a foreign-flair and romance will really enjoy this book.