The Forever Stone by Gloria Repp is a good story. It’s about Madeleine Rondell, a young widow who escapes her sorrows by volunteering to help her aunt refurbish an old family house in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey. There she meets old Timothy, the storekeeper who becomes her confidant. She also gathers a growing group of teens around her, adopts a wildcat, takes an online baking course, and explores the secrets of the piney woods. Madeleine encounters counterfeiting, danger, treasures (people and things), and love.
I had read some of Mrs. Repp’s children’s books and was eager to read something she wrote for adults. Even though her style is more old-fashioned and less pacey than a lot of modern writers, she weaves a very good story with many delightful details. The last chapters will have you turning pages very fast. I loved this warm story. Mrs. Repp’s style adds to its appeal. Brew yourself some coffee or tea, get cozy, and enjoy The Forever Stone.
Rain Song by Alice J. Wisler is a warm family story. Set in Mount Olive, North Carolina—think pickles—it’s about the close McCormick family. It’s complete with a lovely matriarch who sticks religiously to her traditions, her sister, a few complicated people and infidelities, and some typically Southern food and charm. Nicole lost her mother in a house fire when she was two, and she was reared by her grandmother and loved by her aunts and the whole family. Her father couldn’t handle his wife’s death and descended into drink and despondency. Nicole meets someone online while discussing koi fish, and the friendship grows. Soon, she is asking questions she never thought she’d ask and finding out about her early childhood.
It wasn’t the plot that was intriguing about this book. It’s fairly straightforward with a few surprises. But the style . . . . All I can say is that I love Mrs. Wisler’s style! It’s folksy and fresh, first person. The motifs of pineapple chutney, cucumber sandwiches, Japan, a special doll, and fish are woven throughout the book so that it has extra meanings and cohesiveness. The child Monet, who has obvious physical issues and great artistic talent—how often the two go hand-in-hand—gives the reader a joyful release from the intense emotions we feel from Nicole, her aunt Iva, and her cousin Grable. Nicole finds many answers about her mother, father, and the lady who saved her life. Eventually, she moves on to trust and love.
I look forward to reading more of Mrs. Wisler’s books from this series, “Heart of Carolina,” and I heartily recommend this one to you.