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Stone Field: A Novel Hardcover – March 29, 2016
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From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Inspired by the raw wildness of Wuthering Heights, this tragic romance between a frustrated young Missouri woman and a Creek Indian in Civil War—era Missouri is a natural for readers who enjoy their historical fiction dark and sorrowful. Catrina is an entirely maddening girl: she dresses and speaks improperly. When she meets a mysterious man (whom she calls Stonefield) near her home, she is immediately drawn into a relationship that can never have a happy ending. The community's suspicion of Stonefield comes to a breaking point after the couple are discovered by a pious and gossiping neighbor, leading to rash decisions made by both Catrina and Stonefield. The doomed romance is passionate and heartbreaking. The sheer amount of important historical information, such as Missouri's position during the war, Indian boarding schools, and evangelical revival, never threatens to overburden the narrative. Passion—romantic, hateful, and religious—and its effects are at the soul of this story. The depiction of women's lives during the Civil War era, as well as the treatment of minorities, is authentically horrific. The sexual scenes between Catrina and Stonefield are brief. Although it is not necessary to be familiar with the source material, readers well versed in the original will note its similarly uncontrollable and unsustainable romance. An author's note gives a brief overview of Missouri's Civil War history. VERDICT A first purchase for libraries wanting mature and sizzling YA historical fiction.—Jennifer Schultz, Fauquier County Public Library, Warrenton, VA
"A first purchase for libraries wanting mature and sizzling YA historical fiction." -School Library Journal
"Lenzi ingeniously reimagines the English moors of Wuthering Heights as the rolling hills of Missouri." -BCCB
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Top customer reviews
It is easy to see how this Young Adult Novel was inspired by Catherine and the tumultuous love affair of Wuthering Heights, as author Christy Lenzi acknowledges, The central character -- the independent, free-spirited, non-conforming Catrina -- also reminds me of the female heroines I doted on growing up: Jo March, Nancy Drew, Anne of Green Gables, Kit in the Witch of Blackbird Pond--those fictional characters like today's Hermoine and Katniss who give permission to young girls to be themselves, to be dreamers, to nurture adventuring, and to have the courage to defy feminine stereotypes. So I was drawn to Catrina because she wore pants, did not want to be confined to the kitchen, had an active inner life, and chose how she would spend her time in Civil War America, despite the pressure from everyone else to be what she knew she was not. But Stone Field is ultimately a love story which sweeps Catrina's independent spirit up in finding and falling in love with her soul mate. There is a good bit to learn here about Civil War partisanship, racism, and religion in mid-nineteenth century Missouri, some of which still confound us today, but the best part of the book for me are the descriptions of Catrina and Stonefield's secret meeting place and the imaginative,artful decorations that use feathers, stones, sticks, and flowers to creatively express their love for one another. This is a dreamy book for a teenager to curl up with in a big armchair and imagine finding her own Stonefield.
I don’t know why I love retellings so much, you’d think they get old, but I think what fascinates me most is how each time, the author finds a way to tell the same story in a new and fresh light. There’s a new angle, new names based on the original names, new suspense even though you know what is going to happen. At this point I know this story inside out and yet I was still on the edge of my seat wondering what was going to happen.
What I liked about this take is that Lenzi gives such a casual voice to Catrina, our Catherine. Her thoughts and feelings are so potent and open; you have a strong line into what she is thinking, which isn’t always so available in other versions or in the original. Yes, we know Catherine lives and does as she pleases, but the running commentary isn’t always there and I found this added another opportunity to intimately reconnect with the character.
The downside of this voice, though, was how plain and obvious the instalove was and sometimes it felt a bit much. Knowing the story you understand the intense and passionate chemistry that ignited almost immediately, but when you put it into terms like “He wants me and I want him too” before they’ve said nearly five words to each other, it reminds me of everything that drives me crazy in so many books and kind of takes that guttural attraction out of the equation. I feel anyone who isn’t overly familiar with the original might be turned off by this elementary instalove.
Catrina seems like such a wild woman in this text, but taking the time into consideration, the extreme actions of those around her feed into her passion for freedom and the two constantly battling one another creates this almost unbelievable chaos. It seems overdramatic or exaggerated, but I actually think it’s quite fitting and I loved how absolutely crazy Catrina seemed at times. She was like a passionate hurricane, devouring everyone around her.
This tone of voice is also very merciless to the unpleasant characteristics these characters have. Catherine is notoriously selfish, but it’s kind of veiled behind Bronte’s beautiful words. But here, it’s plain as day and you really see that darkness in her coming through so vividly. This isn’t necessarily favourable to the character, but I loved how in your face these flaws were in this book. It’s almost like just by changing the way it was written, Lenzi was able to focus on a different element of the story that doesn’t always get a lot of focus. It doesn’t change things overall, it just gives a different angle to the story.
Catherine’s passion and urgency is so very much alive in Catrina and alive in Lenzi’s words. Some of the passages are so well written I actually felt an ache in my chest. This is why I read books, for moments like this, to be so moved by stringing together a few words. If I were to list everything I liked about this book, I’d almost be rewriting it line for line. Honestly, I loved everything. Every. Single. Word.
Originally posted on citygirlscapes.com
Most recent customer reviews
I loved the drama and the tension that escalated within this novel. Catrina wanted to be her own person while the world was pressing down on her to conform.Read more
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