The Secrets of Lost Stones by Melissa Payne
Publication Date: September 1st 2019
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Genre: General Fiction / Women’s Fiction
A soul-stirring novel about the bonds between mother and child and the redemption that comes with facing the past and letting it go.
Thirty-two-year-old Jess Abbot has lost everything: her job, her apartment, and—most heart-wrenching—her eight-year-old son, Chance, to a tragic accident. Haunted by memories and grief, Jess packs what’s left and heads for the small mountain town of Pine Lake, where she takes a position as caregiver to an eccentric old woman.
A rumored clairvoyant, Lucy is strange but welcoming and immediately intuits Jess as a “loose end” in need of closure. But Jess isn’t the only guest in Lucy’s large Victorian home. There’s also Star, a teenage runaway with a secret too painful to share. And the little boy with heart-shaped stones, who comes with a hope for reconciliation—and a warning.
Soon Jess learns that she’s not the only lost soul running from the ghosts of the past. She and Star have been brought together for a reason: to be saved by the very thing that destroyed them
*** Note: I received e-copy of this book from the author via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. ***
The Secrets of Lost Stones was emotional and intriguing women’s fiction with mystery, drama and spirits that revolved around Jess and Star, two loose ends tied up in picturesque setting of Pine Lake. It was about getting over loss, grief and haunted memories, giving life a second chance, friendship and bonding with new people and place, hope, justice, and redemption.
“World is not just round, it’s small too.” That fits so right here.
Jess, in early 30s, was broken wondering soul until she found Lucy and worked as her caregiver. She was fragile, deeply suffering from loss of her son. I had mixed feeling about her reaction towards Star, initially. I understood it was tough for her to care for another child who was of her son’s age but she insisting Star should not live at Lucy’s house little ticked me off. Her intentions were right and I could hear her point but at some time I felt she was being unfair. But overall, I liked her. She was not perfect, just hurt. She was realistic and amazing character in the book.
Star was 15yr old teenage foster kid who ran away from her foster home and was living on streets until Lucy found her, invited her with a curious letter. She was tough, strong, smart-ass, and clever girl. She was real fast at understanding signs, opposite of Jess who took eternity to understand what was going on. I liked her reaction towards Lucy, her big home and niceness of people at Pine Lake, her feeling of hope, the way her shell melted during her stay at Lucy’s place. She was mature for her age, helped Jess and Lucy, bonded nicely with all characters, and appreciated Lucy’s help. I understood her fear and emotions. She turned out such beautiful character in the book who deserved all the love.
Lucy– Here comes my favorite character. She was around 80yr old, peculiar, gifted, and unbelievably strong and tough witch of the Pine Lake who made me smile every time I read about her and her conversation with characters. I loved her sticky notes, and crossword puzzles, and calendar.
All characters were developed, sensible, lovable, and realistic. Okay, not all! Villain was such deceiving and heartless but I liked the way character was presented.
What I liked-
First of all loved writing style. It was flawless, descriptive, beautiful, and also emotive. I loved the small town setting. Pine Lake, people of the town, their stories and their love for Lucy was great in this book. What I wouldn’t give to have house like Lucy’s. Lucy’s big, old Victorian house and the ghost town gave the haunting feel to the book.
Story was told in dual perspective. Star and Jess both had intense voice that drew me right into their world of grief, loss and ocean of memories. They both told their story, their thought about other characters brilliantly.
It started with Jess arriving Pine Lake, broke, jobless and homeless without any aim, who stumbled upon Lucy’s shop where she found a job and opportunity to start over. Star, a teenage foster kid, living on streets also found an opportunity to live better life when she accidently met Lucy and Jess. Accidents don’t just happen when Lucy is mediator. She called these two ‘loose ends’ who needed to be at one place, destined to tie up, but why? What was connecting these loose ends, and how Lucy knew about it, what she was seeing and how she was helping them by bringing them together? And then there was other mysteries, how Star lost her best friend, how Jess lost her son and what he was doing outside of their apartment on the road? It made me intrigued and story so interesting and gripping.
When Jess and Star gathered at one place, things started to take shape. Like Lucy’s cross-word puzzle, one by one gates of their memory and secrets opened, their connection started to make sense. At around 60% I figured out who was the cause of their loss. Sounds predictable, huh? But no, here is what impressed me most. Even though I made the story sound simple, it was not, it was complex and dramatic. Author opened the cards of mystery one at a time, revealing the right card at right time keeping enough suspense that made me read story till the end.
Emotions ruled the characters’ life and story. Their grief, anger, loneliness, hopelessness, fear were deep, I could feel what they were going through and I could easily put myself in their situation. I bet most of the readers will feel connected to them. Jess thought she couldn’t be mother again but oh, how wrong she was. Her motherly nature, her care for Star was just right and enough to make Star feel wanted, to remind her of her own mother. Bond between these ladies from three different generation was mesmerizing.
The mix of realistic and supernatural elements was seamless and well presented. I liked the theme of the book- justice and redemption, second chance to life, letting go of past, and freeing the taught pent up emotions and energy.
Climax was most interesting. I was waiting for this moment so long. Even though I saw it coming, I couldn’t figure ‘how’ until I read it. The events between climax and end were tight and tense. That supernatural part in the end gave the story perfect end.
Overall, I just loved everything about this book. Great plot and setting, emotions and drama, perfect blend of realistic and supernatural world, wonderful characterization, and intriguing mystery. It was wow.
What do you think about the book and my review? Have you read this book already? Are you going to add it to TBR? Have you read a book with mix of realistic and supernatural elements? Recommend me your favorite book in this genre?
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