Select one of the keywords
Water, Stone, Heart    by Will North order for
Water, Stone, Heart
by Will North
Order:  USA  Can
Shaye Areheart, 2009 (2009)
Hardcover, e-Book

Read an Excerpt

* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Will North's Water, Stone, Heart, in a warm and colorful Cornwall village setting, tells of a growing love between two damaged souls, brought together by a fey child. Building tension through the tale are regular meteorological and Rescue Centre reports as chapter headings - they hint of a disaster looming, like a sword of Damocles, over events.

Not only did American architect Andrew Stratton's wife Katerina leave him out of the blue (finding him too dull and unambitious for her liking) but he has lost his bearings in his career, which has recently focused on The Anatomy of Livable Places. He makes an uncharacteristically impulsive decision to leave his university teaching position in Philadelphia and get his hands dirty in a weeklong 'course on mortarless stone wall building' in the Cornish seaside village of Boscastle (near the town his ancestors came from).

Prickly artist Nicola Rhys-Jones has been there for some time before him. Abused as a child as well as by her wealthy ex-husband, Nicki sought refuge in the village. She paints tranquillity panels, 'large, loosely impressionistic abstract paintings commissioned by a private hospital in London' to help people heal. She is intrigued by the gentle form of witchcraft that 'had been a part of Cornish culture for centuries'. Nicki volunteers at the witchcraft museum and has been adopted by a witch's dog, Randi. She enjoys taking him for long walks - on one of which she first encounters Andrew.

It's a pleasure to get to know the folk of Boscastle alongside Andrew. There's nine-year-old Lilly 'Lee' Trelissick, who can't abide tourists but takes Drew under her wing. Her parents, Roger (a farmer) and Anne (a children's book illustrator), rent their shepherd's cottage to Andrew. Lee introduces him to Church of England lady priest Janet Stevenson (who's surprisingly open-minded about witchcraft) and to lively barmaid Flora at the local pub, the Cobweb. And sixty-something master craftsman Jamie Boden teaches the totally fascinating art of hedge (stone wall) building, at which Drew quickly excels.

There's an immediate connection between kind Drew and pugnacious Nicki, their constant bantering disguising deeper feelings. Her awareness of his short time in the area creates a barrier, and when that is overcome, ghosts from her past rise to shake him to the core. While he's still seeking solutions, the looming disaster - based on one that hit the real village of Boscastle in 2004 - strikes the area and they're all in a fight for their lives. Don't miss Water, Stone, Heart, a highly satisfying read that will engage your interest and touch your own heart from the first page to the last.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more Contemporary books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews