Reviews – An Uncommon Family

An Uncommon Family


Simply Beautiful. “This was the first of Christa Polkinhorn’s work that I have read, and to say that I was blown away would be an understatement. Christa weaves a moving, emotion-filled story that invites the reader to become invested in the characters, which are believable and remind you of people you may know. This is a story of love, loss, and the pain that is almost inevitable when one person puts their faith in another. However, this is also a story about rediscovering the ability to put one’s faith in another, despite previous letdowns.

Christa’s writing is top-notch, and the story will leave the reader wanting more. If you enjoy stories that tug at your emotions and draw you in, AN UNCOMMON FAMILY is for you. You’ll laugh, be angry, cry, and experience joy throughout the reading of this book. It’s a beautiful, high-quality work from an amazingly talented author.”

(Neal Hock, North Carolina, USA, editor/proofreader)

A beautiful, restful, deeply satisfying novel about good people. A prequel to LOVE OF A STONEMASON, it is about the forming of a family: six-year-old Karla Bocelli, who lost her mother in a car crash and whose father lives in Peru; Anna, her aunt and guardian; and Jonas, Karla’s 52-year-old art teacher. Anna and Jonas — no strangers to hurt, loss, and betrayal — maneuver toward each other cautiously.

Christa Polkinhorn has insight into relationships of all kinds — what happens in this novel feels real. She also has the soul of an artist; her painterly descriptions and insight into art are among the novel’s incidental pleasures. For example: Anna’s little bookshop in Zurich (“Each book contained a secret, a new insight perhaps, an exciting adventure”); the mingling scents of French roast coffee and burning beech logs in a woodstove; the colors of the sky as Jonas first teaches Karla to see them; monkeys in a zoo who sat “as if posing for a family portrait.” There are many more. This novel made me happy.  (Lindsay Edmunds, Pennyslvania, USA, author)

Inspiring. “An Uncommon Family” is a thoughtful and insightful story about the pathways of the human heart and mind and the passion that binds relationships. The well-developed international settings add depth and interest to the psychology of the characters. The emotional development of Karla is a fascinating study of a child who must deal with tragedy at an early age and her emotional evolution into the adult she becomes. (Jackie Ingerson, California, USA)

Highly recommended. Christa Polkinhorn has crafted another wonderful and poignant story of love, loss, betrayal and redemption. It is remarkable that she writes so beautifully in a second language. She joins a distinguished and short list that includes Joseph Conrad and Erich Maria Remarque. Highly recommended. (R. Lee Holz, author)

Great read!! Highly recommend this book! A great read for a rainy Sunday afternoon, curled up on the couch. I really loved this book! The section where Anna finds out about Nico’s betrayal made me cry–very well written! Enjoyed Maja’s and Karla’s relationship–I liked the understated humor and innocence of their scheme and the beauty of the night when they went out to the hill near the beginning. The night Karla accidently sets fire to the curtains–great scene! Thought Jonas’ remembrance of his relationship with his uncle and retelling of what happened to his mother-in-law was very interesting and really filled out his character–felt very real and I got so frustrated with Anna for being so stubborn! Jonas was a very personable character–wish he was real–very appealing! (Susan Deming, California, USA, teacher/artist)

Quite the Charmer. “The author did an excellent job of writing an authentic character and describing her relationship to the world (and those close to her) as it evolved with each passing year. An Uncommon Family is a feel-good story that was a pleasure to read. I very much look forward to reading Love of a Stonemason so that I can find out what happened to Karla when after she grew up. I know I’m in for a treat! (Lisette Brodey, California, USA, author)

Hel-of-a-Story. One thing I liked about An Uncommon Family is that the characters are not caricatures. Polkinhorn gives them depth. When Anna’s sister dies, Anna, the main protagonist, takes custody of her niece, Karla. Having her niece with hers fills her life, until she meets Jonas. Falling in love, but not admitting it, they become almost a family for Karla. But both Anna and Jonas have secrets from their past. Anna is not sure she can forgive Jonas’ secret. In the end, the question is: Can they be a true family or will they remain An Uncommon Family?

I liked Christa Polkinhorn’s way of developing the characters. Each of them is flawed in their own way. No one is perfect. I also like the primary setting, Zurich, which I’ve never been to, but would like to go there after reading An Uncommon Family. (The author is originally from Switzerland.) I give An Uncommon Family by Christa Polkinhorn a rating of Hel-of-a-Story because she created a story for each character, complete with secrets, and then brought those stories together. (Helen Ginger, Straight from Hel, Texas, USA)

An Uncommon Family was an extremely heart-touching book.  When I read a book to review I normally make notes or post stickies on pages marking events I want to remember.  I didn’t do that with this book.  I didn’t have time.  I became so engrossed that I turned page after page and forgot the notes.  This is a truly beautiful story about love and the loss of love. (Martha Cheves, A Book and A Dish,)