Tuesday, September 16, 2008

"Stone Creek" Victoria Lustbader

Welcome to Stone Creek, a small town seventy miles northwest of New York City.

In one custom-built home in this small town lives Danny Malloy and his five-year-old son Caleb. Danny has recently lost his young wife to a surprise aneurysm after only 6 short years of marriage and he's struggling to hold it all together. He loses himself in his work and in his son, rejecting encouragement from those closest to him to begin dating again while battling Eve, his mother-in-law over the best way to raise Caleb.

In a house on the other side of town lives Lily, a married woman in her 40's who wants to have a child more than anything, yet fate conspires against her. Lily is seeking respite in Stone Creek in their second home while Paul, her husband, works long hours in New York City.

Danny and Lily meet while working together for a charity in Stone Creek, and together they begin to heal from their various pain while fighting their obvious chemistry and attraction to each other. They must eventually make a decision that could change both of their lives.

Lustbader writes this novel in such a way that conveys the complexity of the emotions of all those present in this story. We feel the emotions of Danny and Lily, Eve and Paul and we truly want things to work out for them somehow. Each has a well of private fears and hurts and hopes that eventually come to the surface and need to be addressed. A continuing theme in this book is "Should I stay where I am and continue on even though I'm in pain, or should I change the path that my life is taking for better or for worse". This theme echoes the one brought up in Lionel Shriver's "The Post-Birthday World" and as it was in that book, the answer is not black and white, but grey. I enjoyed following the paths that everyone chooses to take, and was pleased with the somewhat surprising conclusion.

My only complaint about this book is that some of the dialogue felt stilted and awkward, even when it was supposed to be flowing and smooth. This may have been a result of the author's personal writing style and it didn't affect how much I enjoyed the book at all. A fabulous book, and I look forward to reading future novels by this author.

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