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A HEART OF STONE Unknown Binding – January 1, 2001


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Product Details

  • Unknown Binding
  • Publisher: Viking (2001)
  • ASIN: B005DFI3DS
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)

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Customer Reviews

This book was an eye opener for me.
Barbara
With details revealed in bits and pieces, I found myself wanting to spend all my time reading this book until I reached the end.
Ratmammy
The author made me care for all the characters, and I was able to identify with Ellen, the narrator.
Anna Frank

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Anna Frank on January 24, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book on a whim, and was absolutely gripped by it. Could NOT put it down. Had to miss a whole day at work. And it was absolutely worth it.
The gripping tragedy Ellen struggles with is never forced upon the reader, it is never obvious, and best of all, there is not a trace of sappyness in this book.
Even though the story is certainly not ordinary, I was suprised by how closely I could se elements of myself and my family in this book. The author made me care for all the characters, and I was able to identify with Ellen, the narrator.
Just a beautiful book. So well written. I cannot remember the last time I have read such a seamless book. Renate Dorrestein slips so effortlessly between the past and the present, in such an intimate way, that I felt she was sitting right next to me, relating her extraordinary tale. And I did not want her to stop, even not when it was time to go to work.
Do yourself a favor. Shell out the money and buy the book. You will not regret it.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Ratmammy VINE VOICE on May 31, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A HEART OF STONE - By Renate Dorrestein
Of all the novels I've read this year, this one I feel the most strongly about. As I read the book, I pictured it in my mind, as if I was watching a black and white film. The story is told in flashbacks, going from one time period to another. The flashes are brief. We'll get a scene here, another scene there. And through this technique, we slowly learn the story of Ellen Van Bemmel, and her memories of a family that appeared happy to the rest of the world, but in reality was full of turmoil and unhappiness.
Ellen had many happy memories of her father, sitting on his lap and laying her head on his chest, feeling safe. No one could hurt her when she was with Daddy. He had promised her. And she loved her mother. Her parents seemed so in love, at least from what she remembered. Her beautiful sister Billie (Sybille), her brothers Kester and little Carlos (Ellen's name for her brother) - they shared happy times, all those years ago. But a tragedy happens on her 12th birthday - it was such a horrible day, that Ellen has blocked most of it from her memory. It takes her decades to realize what really happened all those years ago. It takes her that long to come to terms with her past.
I highly recommend A Heart of Stone. The book held my attention the way a good mystery would. With details revealed in bits and pieces, I found myself wanting to spend all my time reading this book until I reached the end. A warning - this book is not for the faint of heart.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By demimonde on February 5, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This was not an easy book to read. The heartwrenching story of what happens to a family of seven whose mother is experiencing an extreme case of post-partum depression left me speechless and emotionally drained. Dorrestein does a fantastic job of drawing the reader into the daily lives of the Van Bemmel family. She tells their story matter-of-factly and without a trace of sentimentality but is still able to create powerfully moving and stunning tale. I do recommend Heart of Stone but with the small warning that your own heart may well break.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Steph on April 5, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I have to admit that I was surprised by how much I _enjoyed_ this book. Ellen is certainly one of the richly textured main characters I can remember in recent fiction-- she never gives in to tragedy or melodrama, even as her mother descends into insanity following the birth of their family's youngest child. Each of the Van Bemmel children is given ample description and personality to make their loss all the more heart-wrenching.
This is one of those suspenseful books that starts in the aftermath and then takes the reader back through the events, leaving them to figure out why things happened the way they did. Dealing with insanity is a tough, tough job, but Dorrestein gives a chilling description of the mother's hallucinatory ravings about demonic possession, as well as an intimate picture of her husband's confusion at what is happening in his warm, close-knit family. Ellen, now in her thirties as she narrates, has trouble dealing with intimacy, as well as conflicting feelings about her own pregnancy, and as she slowly reveals her past like peeling the layers off an onion, one can hardly be surprised at her conflicted emotions.
Reading this book was something akin to driving past a car accident: I was horrified, but compelled to look. This book will haunt you long after you're finished.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By taking a rest HALL OF FAME on August 19, 2001
Format: Hardcover
"A Heart Of Stone", is a very fine piece of writing. As a novel it is disturbing, however events in this story so closely parallel a recent event in the USA, that the read is more like a prediction that Nostrodamus correctly foresaw. The crime and its cause are not identical, however they are very close and they read almost as though you are reviewing current newspapers. The effect is unnerving at times.
The Author, Renete Dorrestein is from Holland where she is one of the Country's most popular writers. If her work continues to be translated as well as this tale, I foresee her fame growing here as well. What this lady does so well is to get you thinking ahead in anticipation of what horror she eventually reveals. She is wonderful at coaxing the reader along with mundane daily events, and then with a sentence you come close to dropping the book. There was one revelation so demented in its execution I literally put the book aside for several days. As I have said, the book is very intense, however when it reads like today's news, the intensity is raised exponentially.
The Author is also adept at wonderful imagery. There is a passage when a tombstone is being viewed and pondered. The stone is in the shape of a heart. When she is finished talking about what this heart of stone will never do, if you don't feel a chill, it is because you are cold blooded.
The book is not just meant to frighten, it delves deeply into what is a not uncommon occurrence, and then explores the consequences both short and long term. The book is filled with people that do what most would feel is either abnormal, abhorrent, or against all logic of reasonable human nature/conduct. To suggest this is just a frightening tale, or to lightly dismiss the book as another horror novel, is to miss the point and to do the Author a great injustice.
This is a fascinating if disturbing look into the darkest of human conduct. This book will disturb you, as it should.
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