Phaedra Patrick’s debut novel, The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper, was hailed as “poignant” and “utterly endearing.” Now she returns with Rise and Shine, Benedict Stone, a gem of a novel about family, forgiveness and one man’s second chance at happiness.
Moonstone for empathy. Azurite for memories. Lapis lazuli for truth… In the quiet village of Noon Sun, Benedict Stone has settled into a complacent and predictable routine. Business at his jewelry shop has dried up; his marriage is on the rocks. His life is in desperate need of a jump start…
And then a surprise arrives at his door.
Gemma is Benedict’s audacious teenage niece—the daughter of his estranged brother, Charlie. The two Stone brothers had a falling out and haven’t spoken in almost two decades, since Charlie left for America. Reckless and stubborn, Gemma invites herself into Benedict’s world and turns his orderly life upside down. But she might just be exactly what he needs to get his life back on track…
Filled with colorful characters and irresistible charm, Rise and Shine, Benedict Stone is a luminous reminder of the unbreakable bonds of family, and shows that having someone to embrace life with is always better than standing on your own.
In her delightful second novel, Patrick once again imbues objects with magic. In her first book, The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper, bracelet charms transform a widower's life. Here, gemstones their singular qualities head every chapter take on special meaning for jeweler Benedict Stone (yes, "Stone"). His bleak life Estelle, his wife of nearly 10 years, is taking a "time out" from their marriage is upturned when Gemma (yes, "Gemma") the teenage daughter of his estranged brother, Charles, shows up from America on the doorstep of his home in Noon Sun, a small English village. Although instinct tells him Gemma may be running from something, Benedict allows her to stay and shows her something dear to him: his late father's notebook about gems and their meanings, to which Gemma adds additional comments. It's particularly poignant for Benedict to connect with his niece because his temporary separation from Estelle was provoked by their being unable to have children of their own. Gemma comes up with some ideas for him to win Estelle back ("WEB") and, in the process, gets him on an exercise and better eating routine, helps renovate his tired store, rejuvenates his passion for work, and alters the lives of countless Noon Sun villagers. More importantly, a long-held secret is divulged, a feud ended, and the varied meanings of family explored.
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I love this story, the strong sense of place and characters. Truly an enjoyable book.