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An Uncommon Family (Family Portrait Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Christa Polkinhorn
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $13.95
Kindle Price: $0.99
You Save: $12.96 (93%)
 
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Book Description

A chance meeting between a middle-aged woman, a widower, and a semi-orphaned child in the city of Zurich, Switzerland, brings together three people who grapple with a past of loss and betrayal. Six-year-old Karla, whose mother died in a car crash, has a hard time accepting the loss. Anna, her aunt and guardian, struggles with her former husband’s deception and her shattered confidence in men, and Jonas, artist and teacher, mourns the death of his wife.

While trying to help Karla, a talented but troubled child, Anna and Jonas develop feelings for each other that go beyond friendship. The budding romance, however, hits a snag when Anna discovers a sinister secret in Jonas’s past. While the two adults have come to an impasse, young Karla takes matters into her own hands. Together with a friend, she develops a plan to bring the two uncooperative adults back together. The plan, however, creates havoc and as it begins to unravel, Karla is forced to learn some difficult lessons.

An Uncommon Family is a story about loss, lies, and betrayal but also about the healing power of love and forgiveness. It takes place in Switzerland, New York City, and Guadalajara, Mexico.


Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Born and raised in Switzerland, Christa Polkinhorn has always had the desire to explore the world outside of her beautiful but tiny country. As a young woman, she traveled through Europe, came to the United States on an exchange program, and ended up staying. Her travels led her to China and Japan as well as South America. She studied literature and linguistics in Zurich and California. Now, she lives and works as writer and translator in southern California and divides her time between the United States and her native Switzerland. The tension and excitement this “double life” creates informs her literary work. Most of her novels take place in several countries. Aside from writing and traveling, Christa is an avid reader and a lover of the arts and dark chocolate. Christa has published three novels, AN UNCOMMON FAMILY (Family Portrait, Book 1), LOVE OF A STONEMASON (Family Portrait, Book 2), EMILIA, (Family Potrait, Book 3) as well as a collection of poems, PATH OF FIRE. AN UNCOMMON FAMILY is also available in German under the title EINE UNGEWÖHNLICHE FAMILIE.

Product Details

  • File Size: 421 KB
  • Print Length: 295 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Bookworm Press (May 27, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0053005NO
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #38,828 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars QUITE THE CHARMER! July 9, 2011
By Lizzy
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Six-year-old Karla lost her mother in a car crash and now lives with her aunt Anna, who years before had lost her husband in a plane crash, immediately after learning of a life-altering betrayal. By chance one day in Zurich, they meet artist Jonas Bergman, who had lost his beloved wife to cancer.

Karla begins to take art lessons from Jonas, and over the years, a relationship forms between Anna and Jonas, but each character's past threatens to destroy the love they are building.

This was a very warm and charming story that really made me want to root for the characters. The flow of the story was very natural and each character's struggle to reconcile their past made sense and was quite relatable.

Aside from Anna and Jonas' respective stories, I found Karla's coming-of-age to be quite charming, and I loved the interaction between Karla and her best friend Maja. 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!
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars heartwarming story June 7, 2011
By AlexD.
Format:Kindle Edition
This is an inspiring story of facing the past and overcoming fear in order to open your heart to possibilities. Touches on all the hardships and joys of life and romance and family relationships, with real characters and beautiful descriptions. I love Christa's writing and can't wait to read more about these characters.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Beautiful June 1, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
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.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ordinary people in uncommon situations April 18, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
"An Uncommon Family" is about just that - a six year-old girl who lost her mother in a car crash and still has nightmares about it, her aunt who survived a failed marriage and remains bitter and distant in her relationships with men, and an artist whose marriage ended in the tragic death of his wife. The story is about the intertwining of their lives from when Karla, the young girl, is six until her twelfth birthday. At the outset, she and Anna, her aunt and guardian, by chance, encounter Jonas, the artist, who offers to give Karla art lessons. From there, the relationships develop between Karla and Jonas, Karla and Anna, and Anna and Jonas in a steady, deliberate, and delicate way that I appreciated greatly.

Set primarily in Switzerland, the book has a nice local flavor that complements the story well and is interjected unobtrusively at various points as the plot moves forward. In terms of point of view, the story is seen through the eyes of the three main characters and, as such, the narrative is superb. This book is no lightweight by any means. The main themes of the story are trust, betrayal, honesty, loss, and love. Applicable in some degree to each of the three, the handling and development of these themes was top notch.

If you like stories of ordinary people thrown together into uncommon situations, I know you will enjoy this book as much as I did. I recommend it highly and look forward to reading Polkinhorn's next installment.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is a real treasure! February 13, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I read Love of a Stonemason first so I had very high expectations for An Uncommon Family. I was so pleased when An Uncommon Family not only met, it exceeded them. This book is a love story about multiple types of loving relationships. The interactions between Karla, Anna, and Jonas make for fascinating reading because the writing and editing are so good. All the characters, both major and minor, have well-developed, three-dimensional personalities. The imagery is beautifully done throughout the book, but the scene where Karla and her friend, Maja, go to the top of a hill in order to see their mothers in heaven, is simply outstanding. The part where Jonas confessed his secret about his Nazi uncle had me in tears but I still think that Anna was too harsh. All my emotions were engaged as I read this story; it was a wonderful reading experience. i highly recommend that other people read it also.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Touching Story January 27, 2012
By Sam
Format:Paperback
An Uncommon Family is about 6 year old Karla who lost her mother in a car crash, her Aunt and guardian Anna and an artist names Jonas. A chance meeting brings themm all together until a sinister secret in Jonas's past comes out.

This is a beautifully written book that touches on all subjects, love, loss, betrayal, forgiveness. A must read. I won this book from Goodreads.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Characters learn from each other.
Three great character arcs combine with fantastic descriptions of nature in distant places in this heart-warming tale. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Fieldcene
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Pleasant enough yarn, somewhat girlish. Smacks of part-time authorship.
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
What a lovely book. Although the main character was a child, the many issues that were dealt with were extremely interesting. Read more
Published 2 months ago by patti jane
4.0 out of 5 stars Touching Tale
This is the first of 3 books, they can be read separately, but I recommend reading them in order and one after the other. It was a sweet story of family, love and loss.
Published 17 months ago by LJB
4.0 out of 5 stars Good reading
This is a well constructed novel, with credible characters, and a plot that made you want to know what they were doing. Beautiful surroundings, and well researched writing.
Published 20 months ago by esomanybooks
5.0 out of 5 stars So good I read it twice!
A rich and emotive story around three principal characters, each with their own troubled pasts. Although each of the characters bears an entirely different burden to the others,... Read more
Published on January 22, 2013 by Gareth K. Stokes
2.0 out of 5 stars Unusual
This book won't reach the top of my list of favorites. I found the story to be a bit dreary and morose, however, since I picked it up on a day it was offered for free, I'm not... Read more
Published on September 6, 2012 by Kindle Lover
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but not great
This was an enjoyable book but too slow-paced for me. Also, I noticed a repeated phrase, attributed to two different women within a short time in the book - and so, needs a good... Read more
Published on May 14, 2012 by M. Harry
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read!
A Uncommon Family reads like a smooth, creamy mug of hot chocolate. Ms. Polkinhorn draws the reader in and carries them along like a twig floating down a gentle stream. Read more
Published on May 13, 2012 by Annie Acorn
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely Story
An Uncommon Family is a lovely story. Karla lost her mother and grandmother in a auto accident and she now
lives with her aunt Anna. Read more
Published on May 12, 2012 by jolkay
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