Thursday, March 24, 2016

Stone Field ~ Christy Lenzi (earc) review [@MacKidsBooks]

Stone Field
Roaring Brook Press
March 29, 2016
320 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

In a small town on the brink of the Civil War, Catrina finds a man making strange patterns in her family’s sorghum crop. He’s mad with fever, naked, and strikingly beautiful. He has no memory of who he is or what he’s done before Catrina found him in Stone Field. But that doesn’t bother Catrina because she doesn’t like thinking about the things she’s done before either.

Catrina and Stonefield fall passionately, dangerously, in love. All they want is to live with each other, in harmony with the land and away from Cat’s protective brother, the new fanatical preacher, and the neighbors who are scandalized by their relationship. But Stonefield can’t escape the truth about who he is, and the conflict tearing apart the country demands that everyone take a side before the bloodbath reaches their doorstep.

Inspired by Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights.

I feel the need to say, first thing, that Stone Field was not the book for me. I had too many problems with the characters - well, Catrina and Stonefield, specifically - and the romance to enjoy this one.

The romance between Stonefield and Catrina is largely what Stone Field is about and it got off to a bad start for me and never got much better. It was not the two of them, "fall(ing) passionately, dangerously, in love," as the description states, it was instalove through and through. Before they've even really spoken to each other, they're in love.

Following that, I never felt like there were enough scenes between them, enough interaction for me to see or feel this monumental, epic love they supposedly had. Catrina seemed to be constantly telling us how much she need, loved, adored, thought about, longed for, etc Stonefield . . . but it felt more like telling than showing to me.

I did like some of Lenzi's writing when it came to Catrina's thousand ways of describing how much her soul needed Stonefield's soul. It was hard for me to get past some of the 'what' that was being said to appreciate the 'how' but the author had some great metaphors.

By far my biggest issue with Stone Field was Catrina. I couldn't figure out if she was incredibly selfish and self-centered, naive, flighty, oblivious to the world around her - and the people around her - stupid or some combination. Objectively I understood that she was depressed and troubled (her 'darkness' was almost overdone) but I (sorry!) couldn't stand her. She just wants to run around in the woods (in boy's clothing), make her 'wild work,' and, then, love Stonefield. Her lack of a purpose, complete obliviousness to the world around her (in 1861 on the brink of the Civil War, in a border state, with a best friend who's mother was Liberian and with a brother of enlistment age) stopped me from liking her desire not to be what society expected (even a little).

When you add in her propensity for getting naked, I just didn't think her character fit with the time period - even as someone who was unconventional.

I don't know what to say about Stonefield's character because I never really got a feel for him. First with his amnesia and the very few conversations of depth they seemed to have. Then, when he did begin to remember, Catrina shut him down so quickly (he was with her now, what did before matter?). I never got a sense of who he was.

I know that Henry is supposed to come across as her overbearing and over-zealous older brother, but I kind of understood where he was coming from. With their mother gone, their father getting older, a sorghum farm to run and the war coming, they can't handle Catrina not contributing and/or causing trouble.  I really do think I would have liked to read a book about Henry and about Effie. Henry had a lot to deal with and really seemed concerned about the approaching war and with the issues at stake. Effie was someone who challenged the norms (with her doctoring, being biracial but raised by her white father who expected her to be treated as though she were white) in ways I found intriguing.

As Catrina was so not my kind of character and the romance felt more instalove, Stone Field was not for me. I did appreciate some of the author's descriptions and metaphors; I will pay attention to what her next book is about.

review copy received, from publisher, via NetGalley

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