Benedict Stone met a lovely woman, Estelle, on a hike. They married, planning to have a family but the children never happened. Visits to fertility doctors, stress, and heartache ensued. Estelle was ready to move on; they had a nice life, Benedict ran the jewelry store established by his parents in their village, Estelle is an artist, and they adored each other. But Benedict just could not let go of his dream, could not resign himself to a life with Estelle unencumbered with children. Food was his comfort, never slim, he grew larger. Finally his obsession with having a child became too much for Estelle, she moved out. As the story opens, Benedict retreats for sanctuary to the gem tree in his backyard; it is a lovely tree festooned with gem stones brought back from his parent’s various journeys. He is desperate to repair his relationship with his wife and unsure how to go about it, so he sits and thinks beneath the cherished tree. What he doesn’t realize he needs is something to shake up the status quo and he is just about to get exactly that. Sleeping badly that night he is jolted awake by determined banging on the door, the wet, bedraggled creature standing on his stoop is his niece Gemma from America. Benedict was heretofore unaware of her existence. He has not spoken with his brother Charlie since he left England about two decades ago. They were tight when they were younger; in fact after the tragic death of their parents Benedict raised Charlie. Now here stands Gemma; a rain soaked teenaged, intent on staying with her uncle. Boy howdy does this exasperating, intuitive, bright, volatile young woman shake up the life in a rut her uncle has been living. They unearth the journal of Benedict’s father with the description and uses of gem stones, and Gemma gets busy jazzing up the jewelry store, offering advice (wanted or not) she reinvigorates Uncle Benedict with life. Before they can move on, both Benedict and Gemma will have to confront their secrets and make peace with the past in order to appreciate the present. This feel good story is full of endearing characters and charm. Each chapter opens with a gem stone, starting with White Opal for hope, desire, fidelity. Such fun to read.— Deon Stonehouse
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.