"The Stone Carvers"

The Stone Carvers by Jane Urquhart

In the opening years of the twentieth century, Klara Becker and her brother, Tilman, are growing up on a farm in Ontario, Canada. Klara is learning tailoring skills from her mother and carving skills from her Grandfather, Joseph, and Tilman is a wanderer who can't resist the urge to follow the road wherever it leads.

Decades earlier, a priest in Bavaria, Father Gstir, receives a letter telling him he is being sent to a remote Canadian village to establish a church. There he will meet the young Joseph and enlist his help carving statues for the new church.

When Klara becomes a young woman, she is courted by local boy, Eamon O'Sullivan. By this point, her brother is long missing and her mother has never recovered from the trauma of losing him. Then WWI breaks out and Eamon goes off to fight for his country.

Now fast forward several years to Europe, where Toronto sculptor, Walter Allward, has been comissioned to carve a massive stone war memorial at Vimy, France. Klara has been reunited with Tilman and has convinced him to take her to France to take part in the memorial project.

It sounds a bit convoluted but it isn't when you read it. It's a good story, well told, with each piece fitting perfectly into the bigger picture. The human need to commemorate, to remember the people, places and events that shape our lives is the thread that runs through it all and gathers it together into a moving tale of love, loss and art.

The characters are convincingly human. They experience life deeply but are refreshingly reserved in expressing their feelings. The writing is clean and intelligent, moving along at a comfortable pace. Altogether an enjoyable read that will have me seeking out the authour's other novels and adding them to my TBR. I recommend this one.


Post a Comment