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Crossing Stones

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  • Posted May 12, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Helen Frost’s Crossing Stones presents the paradox of a na

    Helen Frost’s Crossing Stones presents the paradox of a nation fighting for democracy abroad while denying the vote for half its own citizenry during World War I. Eighteen-year-old Muriel and her brother Ollie Jorgensen live just across the creek from their closest friends, Frank and Emma Norman. The story takes place over nine months, during which Frank and Ollie enlist and fight oversees, and Muriel travels to Washington D.C. to help her suffragist aunt return to her home in Chicago after having been imprisoned for demonstrating outside the White House. The characters each make their own way through the suffering of war, the deadly flu epidemic and the belief that it was unwomanly and unpatriotic to support the Nineteenth Amendment to our Constitution. Muriel’s courage shines through in asking tough questions, finding her own answers, refusing to accept the unacceptable, and following her heart. The novel culminates with the hope of rebirth for the survivors, their families and the nation.

    Frost does with language what Michelangelo did with marble. She recognizes the true story and strips away all unnecessary words to sculpt a poetic novel of epic proportion in three voices. Emma and Ollie speak in “cupped-hand sonnets” with a subtle rhyming form that both connects them and resonates with the reader. Muriel’s voice is free verse, flowing down the pages, making its way through the stone-shaped sonnets. The symbols and imagery bring an emotional depth to this unforgettably moving piece of historical fiction.

    Laurie A. Gray
    Reprinted from the Christian Library Journal (Vol. XIII, No. 4/5, October December 2009); used with permission.

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