"She wore her sins like a stone necklace."
This is one of the first descriptions of Lena Hastings at the start of The Stone Necklace: A Novel by Carla Damron. Lena has just survived breast cancer and reconciled with her husband Mitch as the story opens. She has had bad luck in her life and she feels that now is the time for life to be good. Unfortunately that day her husband is in a horrific car crash that takes his life. This is the story of how Mitch's family, and other people in his life, cope without him there to hold things together. Mitch's family includes his widow Lena, sons Sims and Elliot, and daughter Becca. Lena is an artist who is unable to paint since her cancer scare. Becca is trying to control her life by self-harming.
There are three other major characters affected by Mitch's death. Sandy, a nurse in ICU, who is on probation for using drugs. Joe the homeless man who lives in the cemetery who Mitch has helped over the years. Tonya, along with her small son, was also injured in the car crash with Mitch. It is quite a few characters but the way the book reads it is easy to keep them all straight. They are all part of the central theme of the novel. No matter what happens in our past, there is hope for the future by showing compassion to others in our lives.
I enjoyed this book and getting to know these characters. I loved the way that Carla Damron managed to interweave their lives and make it all so believable. Damron's background is in social work. It is clear that she has a great understanding of life for homeless people by the way she describes Joe in the novel.
I usually don't pay a lot of attention to who publishes a book. I have read three books this year published by Story River Books and all have been excellent. I plan to look for the books that they publish in the future because they release ones that I enjoy and that need to be read!
I definitely enjoyed this book and highly recommend it to all my reader friends.
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Susan Roberts, reviewer. Susan grew up in the Detroit area but after deciding that city life wasn't for her she moved to North Carolina after college. She and her husband have several acres of land and they enjoy gardening and canning vegetables in the summer. They travel extensively. Susan reads almost anything (and the piles of books in her house prove that) but her favorite genres are Southern fiction, women's fiction, and thrillers. Susan is a top 1% Goodreads Reviewer. You can connect with Susan on Facebook or Twitter.
Available formats: ebook, audiobook, and print (288 pages)
Published: February 2016 by University of South Carolina Press
Genre: women's fiction
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