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Love of a Stonemason (Family Portrait. Vol. 2) Paperback – July 24, 2010

4.5 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Author

As a reader, I always enjoy finding out about "the story behind the story" of a work of literature. So, I decided to share some background about my novel Love of a Stonemason.

The initial trigger was an intense personal experience. At the end of 2005, I lost my mother and found myself to be the sole survivor of our immediate family in Switzerland, my only sister and my father having died earlier. Death and its impact--the pain of loss and loneliness--play an important in the life of the main character in the novel.

During that time, I spent several months in Switzerland, cleaning out our family home, getting it ready to be renovated. I came across my father's early paintings--he was an artist as a young man. I talked to a stonemason and sculptor about the tombstone on my parent's grave. That gave me the idea for my main characters and their professions. I spent time with my relatives in the Ticino, the Italian canton of Switzerland, so the Vallemaggia became the central location. My trips to Peru and Italy also found their way into the novel.

The final product was a completely fictional story. While writing Love of a Stonemason, I was rarely conscious of any one particular person, incidence or experience which influenced me. Some of it came to me much later. I had many "aha"-moments half-way into the novel or even after it was finished. One of the most fascinating aspects of the creative process is the way consciousness and the unconscious work together to produce something unique and new.

About the Author

"Born and raised in Switzerland, I have always had the desire to explore the world outside of my beautiful but tiny country. I traveled in Europe, China, Japan as well as South America. Now, I live and work as writer and translator in southern California. My interest in foreign cultures informs my work and my novels take place in several countries. I published a volume of poetry (The Path of Fire). Now, I write and publish contemporary fiction with a focus on family drama/love stories(The Family Portrait trilogy)and family drama/suspense (The Wine Lover's Daughter series). Aside from writing and traveling, I am an avid reader and a lover of the arts,dark chocolate, and red wine."
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Product Details

  • Series: Family Portrait
  • Paperback: 446 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (July 24, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1453662286
  • ISBN-13: 978-1453662281
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,602,718 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Misty Baker VINE VOICE on September 10, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I was in therapy the other day (aka web-surfing for mindless crap) and ran across a quote that sent off a flare in my mind. For the past couple of days I have been reading Christa Polkinhorn's debut novel "Love of a Stonemason" and try as I might, I couldn't peg a witty or otherwise enchanting way of wording its message, and then I ran into this...

"I don't pretend to know what love is for everyone, but I can tell you what it is for me; love is knowing all about someone, and still wanting to be with them more than any other person, love is trusting them enough to tell them everything about yourself, including the things you might be ashamed of, love is feeling comfortable and safe with someone, but still getting weak knees when they walk into a room and smile at you."

This is exactly what Polkinhorn's novel is all about, the struggle to overcome your demons and let love flood in.

Karla is an artist, but like most magicians with a canvas her talents come at a cost. At the age of 5 Karla lost her mother, and with it went her peace. Andreas is also an artist, but instead of painting he carves tombstones. Both have issues, both are looking for closure, and in a ironic turn of fate (or an inability to look where they are going) they are about to meet, but will their instant connection be enough to keep them together? With depression, and anger waiting in the wings Karla and Andreas are forced to make a decision... face their pasts together, or live their hells alone.

A few days ago I was dreading having to write this review. I was 20% in and bored (which is never a good sign) but luckily my inability to toss a book (regardless of how crappy) kicked in and I pushed through. I'm very glad I didn't give up.
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For me, the best of this book was the artistic journey through Europe and beyond and the author's genuine understanding of what it is to be an artist. In Karla, the painter, we are presented with a flawed but complex character. Andreas,the stonemason, likewise has his own demons to fight; however, I found the book more psychologically interesting because both the main characters are battling with the problems of their own personalities as well as their challenging life-experiences. This is a book for a weekend, a holiday or a winter's evening when you really want something to get your teeth into.
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When the young talented painter, Karla Bocelli, almost gets hit by a speeding car, she receives a painful reminder of that fateful accident in her childhood, which robbed her of her mother and made her a semi-orphan. The fact that the driver of the car is a stonemason and sculptor, who carves tombstones for a living, doesn't exactly lift Karla's spirits. The fateful initial encounter sets the stage for a turbulent and passionate relationship. "Love of a Stonemason" takes the reader on a journey of the heart from Switzerland to Italy and Peru. It is rich with sensuous details and vibrant colors. As we watch Karla and Andreas struggle with their past, their creativity and their feelings for each other, we root for them and hope that they succeed. A heartwarming and fascinating story. I can highly recommend it.
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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.
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This second "Family Portrait" book is about the relationship between the artist, Karla, and Andreas. Very enjoyable for its detailed scenic descriptions and the complexity of relationships, it is also a powerful telling of the triumphs and failures of love. I highly recommend it!
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This is a sequel to a book that begins when the protagonist was young. In following the denouement of her life you learn more about her emotional reactions. The book and characters are captivating. I highly recommend this novel.
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For me, Love of a Stonemason was not an easy read. I personally think that this is one of those books that you either like or you don't. If you fall into the latter category, I sympathize. Don't force yourself to finish it. I did and I never learned to fully appreciate the story or the writing style. There are interesting passages about the places the characters visit but if I had wanted that, I could have read a travel book. So, even though that is what inspired me to push ahead, it wasn't enough. This book is very much a journey, a journey of love, life, and self. And for me, it felt like one.

I read some of the glowing reviews. Some of them really gave me a different perspective and I was glad for it. This book just wasn't for me, I guess.
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