Reviews – Love of a Stonemason

Love of a Stonemason


Love binding creative souls. I enjoy an author that can use description to carry me away and place me in locations that I can enjoy within my mind’s eye. Christa Polkinhorn does just that in Love of a Stonemason. From Switzerland to Italy to Peru, I enjoyed vistas I will never see; felt breezes across lakes and through valleys I will never personally feel; was surrounded by local scents from exotic dishes and fields of flowers that I will never smell.

The title of her book first intrigued me as my grandfather was a stonemason and her Andreas brought back many memories of watching the way ‘Grampa’ could press his will upon a piece of granite.

Her Karla is an artist and I understood her challenges when approaching a blank canvas. Once upon a time I painted and Christa tweaked my mind with the scent of turpentine and the feel of paint on the brush as it made magic on the easel.

But more than a romance between creative minds, this story digs deep into the early trauma of each and follows their struggle in resolving their individual demons.

This would be the perfect book to tuck in your suitcase or add to your kindle for that “myself” time this summer. Pick your own special spot – perhaps in the shade of a maple tree beside a secluded cove at the lake. Ah, sounds of waves lapping gently on the shore, glass of wine and Love of a Stonemason. (Ellizabeth E Wilder, author, Pennsylvania, USA)

A true “vacation” book. Reading Christa Polkinhorn’s Love of a Stonemason is an inner visual experience. Not only will you “see” locales in Switzerland, Peru, and Italy, but also, because her main characters are artists, you’ll feel you’ve toured a gallery of paintings and sculpture.

Karla, the painter, and Andreas, the stonemason, meet in what at first appears to be a typical romance plot device, but it’s not. These characters have depth, which the author portrays with sensitivity and realism. The darkness in their pasts threatens the relationship they form. Their torments and troubles drew me in. At times, I wanted to comfort them; at others, I wanted to smack Karla or shake Andreas.

Just when Karla finally faces the last of her demons and deals with it, Andreas’ personal hell erupts with full force. Each time, as these characters stumbled, I thought I knew what would come next, but I rarely did.

The author weaves the threads of her story into a beautiful tapestry. This debut novel is a worthwhile read and almost doubles as a vacation escape. Well done. (Linda Cassidy Lewis, author, California, USA).

Beautifully written, thoroughly engaging book of love, life and the art world. The first thing that went through my mind when I finished this book on Friday night was simply “Wow”. I felt like I had been told a full story and while I wanted more of Karla and Andreas at the end, the story really was complete. I don’t know when was the last time I truly felt that when I finished a book. Ms. Polkinhorn did a magnificient job crafting this story and getting it on the page. The characters, scenery and happenings in the book really came alive for me and I felt like I was watching and feeling Karla and Andreas through the full book.

How to classify this book – I first thought it sounded like a romance, but after finishing it, I would say it is more general fiction. Romance is key, Karla and Andreas’ relationship is very key to the book. But most romance novels stop after dating and marriage usually, sometimes with glimpses of family life if there are several books in a series. The beauty of Ms. Polkinhorn’s novel is that it continues through the years after they marry and delves much deeper into the characters of Karla and Andreas as they tackle the new ups and downs of marriage, of their art and of family.

Love of a Stonemason never lags in plot. Whether you are looking into depression, the ups of a great art career, the separation (distance-wise) of Andreas and Karla, starting a family, all of this flowed together so well and made a great story. I was never bored and wondering when something good would happen. It was all interesting and attention getting. It’s as edge-of-your-seat as a non-thriller work can get. I was always wondering what would happen next, what aspect of life would be shown.

The realism is beautiful too. Love of a Stonemason truly shows the ups and downs of life, love and family. No family or person is perfect, there are always problems and always two sides to a story and that is what this book really looks into. I love that every aspect is shown and I really enjoyed the growth of the characters. Andreas and Karla are not superficial, you really get to know them through the whole book. I felt as though I knew them personally. The foreign setting and descriptions of landscapes and cities is also well-done. I also enjoyed learning about the art world, something that never really interested me before, but the author does a great job of making it interesting.

I laughed, I cried, I was frustrated with the characters (in a good way). I think I ran through most every emotion with this book. And what I love most is the feeling of the complete story and it’s a story that will stick with me for some time. I found myself thinking of Karla and Andreas and the other people in their lives through the weekend. Really letting the story settle over me and how I feel now is that this is a definite reread in my book and that is saying something since I don’t really reread books. My true hope is Ms. Polkinhorn will have another book on the way so I have another one of her books to enjoy. She brings realism to the story without it depressing you and leaving you down for days and I really like that. I do not have any complaints about this book and I think those of you who enjoy general fiction with a foreign-flair and romance will really enjoy this book. (Crystal Fulcher, My Reading Room, Beaufort, North Carolina, USA)

A rich love story. If you like love–and who doesn’t?–you’ll want to follow the journey of an artist and a mason, two creative souls who go through personal turmoil and triumph. Polkinhorn writes with real experience, bringing intimacy to a story that is international in scope but touchingly close and familiar.  (Alex D., North Carolina, USA)

A fortunate find. This book is lovely and full of grace. Set mostly in Switzerland, with detours to Italy and Peru, LOVE OF A STONEMASON is about the relationship between Karla, a painter, and Andreas, a stonemason. After a chance encounter that seems at first like a “meet cute” device (though it isn’t; it introduces a theme that weaves throughout the novel), they live together, fight, commit mutual infidelity, get back together, marry, have two children, and grow as artists and people.

Christa Polkinhorn is insightful about the nuances of this relationship and gives you a sense of how it deepens. Unlike some fictional couples, Karla and Andreas conduct their relationship in an ongoing crowd of family and friends. (This is one reason the book is long; there is so much LIFE in it.)

Karla and Andreas are people you root for. I found myself thinking I would like to spend an evening with them, drinking wine and talking. They are good. Not perfect or saintly or always right, but good at heart.

They are acquainted with pain and loss, and scars from separate childhood tragedies. The darkness in their lives makes the happy ending all the more luminous. There is nothing sentimental about it. It feels real and honestly earned.

Do you want to see love triumph? Read this book and be grateful you found it. (Lindsay Edmunds, author, Pennsylvania, USA)

Artistically and psychologically convincing. Love of a Stonemason, by Christa Polkinhorn, has an epic sweep – both geographically and emotionally. The story follows the love affair between two artists, Karla and Andreas, both of whom have suffered trauma in their life. Their story takes us to beautiful locations in Switzerland, Italy and beyond, but more importantly it traces the way that love can overcome adversity and bring about reconciliation in the face of some of life’s most difficult challenges. Throughout this the author’s profound understanding of Art adds colour to the story and the icon of an unfinished painting is cleverly interwoven into the narrative to represent the personal growth and ultimate fulfillment of Karla.
Beautifully written and moving and also full of a surprising wisdom. (Daphne Coleridge, author, England)

It’s been a long time since I’ve read a love story as beautiful as Love of a Stonemason.  (Martha Cheves, A Book and A Dish)