21 December 2008

REVIEW: ANN WARNER - DREAMS FOR STONES


Paperback: 265 pages
Publisher: Samhain Publishing (October 1, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1599989743
ISBN-13: 978-1599989747

Summary:
It takes courage to be human. And it especially takes courage to love, knowing that love inevitably opens the door to loss. But what is fascinating about this human conundrum is the hopefulness with which most of us manage it.


So we live forever saying farewell.

But we also live with the possibility of wonderful new beginnings. As an author, that's what pulls me in for closer examination. Come with me then and meet Alan, a man who has given up on love, and Kathy, a woman who has learned to let go of love too easily. It will take all the magic of serendipity, old diaries, and a children's story to heal these two.


Review:

Alan is a professor in his early thirties who tries to live a steady life but the loss of his wife has a firm grip on his emotional balance. He is up for tenure at the USD, where he teaches, but is told in a very blunt way that if he doesn’t write a work of fiction he might as well give up on the tenure. In that same time frame he is told that his writing class will be taught by an editor of a small publishing house and he needs to share his office with her.

This is where Alan meets Kathy and while they don’t have an instant vibe of attraction there is still something beneath the surface that demands exploring. After her break up with her fiancĂ© Kathy slowly allows herself to get wrapped up in the life of Alan. They become friends while under the surface feelings try to arise…

But Alan comes with a package and her name is Meg. However, for feelings to become acknowledged the heart must heal and for that to happen one must find the courage to accept and let go.

The first thing that comes to mind after reading Dreams For Stones is that it is a multi faceted heart wrenching story and it reminded me of certain novels from Nicholas Sparks. At first it felt like I got a prelude into the life’s of both the main characters, Alan and Kathy. Both of them have endured emotional pain and are gradually picking up their lives again. This is where they meet and I wondered how they would come together when they both have issues of the heart that still needs time to heal.

In a languid pace the story unfolds because Dreams Of Stones covers a longer time span and this is something I don’t get to read often. It covered about 18 -24 months which makes the growth of new emotions as old ones heal very authentic. They did not immediately fall in love but the author portrayed beautifully how two people can still feel but are hesitant to act upon it. How pain and angst of something new can disturb progress in a relationship. And then in the end when Kathy is ready to acknowledge her feelings she collides with the reserved attitude Alan has in exposing his feelings.

The reader in me also wanted progress, wanted the butterfly feelings of falling in love but that is not the case with this novel. The author’s gift is in appealing to the reader’s emotion with heart breaking events and thereby showcasing the resilience of the human spirit. It made me empathize with not only Alan and Kathy but also with Grace, Frank and their young daughter, Delia. I understood how it must feel for Alan’s family to see him suffer so much and the excerpts from the diary of Emily Kowalski is effectively intertwined with the main story.

Without realizing it I became a part of both Alan and Kathy’s life’s. The day to day rhythm along with the tribulations of their heart got to me. There is also a solid secondary cast. Charles, as a best friend, is a solid antagonist to the serious Alan. Elaine, the sister of Alan, gave a different perspective of her brother. But also Grace and Delia, Kathy’s co workers at the publishing house: Jade, - Columba and Polly, they all add their voices, deepening and complementing the overall story of the main couple.

Though I needed to get used to the perception of the romance development between the hero and heroine in Dreams For Stones the author still manages to make me care about the outcome of this story! A significant other story line is the diary excerpts of Emily Kowalski and what at first seems to be just coincidental becomes so very important near the ending. The last chapters made me fill a bucket of tears and while I felt the ending was more of a new beginning for Alan and Kathy I was satisfied to leave them where they were, knowing they would be okay.

A moving story that will touch your heart as two people find the courage to grab a new chance at a lasting love. Ann Warner has the ability to stir my emotions with a true to life novel.

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