Wednesday, May 15, 2019

World at War: Crossing Stones

Crossing Stones. Helen Frost. 2009. FSG. 184 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: You'd better straighten out your mind, Young Lady.

Premise/plot: Crossing Stones is a historical verse novel set during World War I in a small community. Two families are super-super close: the Jorgensens and the Normans. Everyone expects Muriel Jorgensen to one day marry Frank Norman. Ollie Jorgensen is definitely hoping to one day marry Emma Norman. But plans and expectations have little place in a world turned upside down by war.

Frank isn't at home. He's a soldier getting ready to be shipped overseas when the novel opens. Ollie is a few years younger but his mind is filled with the war too. He wants to be a part of it with Frank. Where Frank goes he wants to follow. That's the familiar way of things.

Muriel wants nothing to do with the war and not because she's like Scarlett O'Hara. Muriel is an opinionated young woman not at all convinced of the merits of this war--or any war. She has little interest in becoming a wife and mother. She may follow in the footsteps of her suffragette aunt.

As for Emma...she's got a brother and an almost sweetheart in the war.

My thoughts: I first read Crossing Stones in October 2009. At the time I loved it. Did I love it just as much the second time around? Not really. Oh, I still liked it. I enjoyed spending time with the characters. My favorite characters are by far Emma and Ollie. I need them to get a happily ever after. Or at least a semi-realistic version of that. After all, if these two do marry they'd likely have children just the right age for being drafted into the second world war. And then there's the Depression to consider. There lives wouldn't be challenge-free by any extent. But. I think Ollie and Emma could handle what life gives them and find a way together.

 But I didn't like Muriel nearly so much this time around. I found her opinionated voice to be pessimistic and at times unfeeling. Muriel is well on her way to an unconventional life. Perhaps she'll become a 'wild' girl in the big city.

War disrupts lives, changing everything. This is very much an anti-war novel. I don't have a problem with the message in general. It just left me sadder this time around.

© 2019 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Lark 3:51 PM  

It's funny how revisiting a book can change your opinion of it. There are some books I read years ago that I'm almost afraid to reread because I loved them so much and don't want to be disappointed now.

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