Today I am reviewing an American historical novel by Marc Kuhn. First let me introduce the author to you:
Author Marc Kuhn has worked in radio broadcasting most of his life as a journalist, a program director and a marketing executive. He has held positions at major radio stations in Philadelphia, Washington, D.C. and Miami.
Now retired, he has turned his attention to writing. His first book, NEVER GOOSE A MOOSE! is a collection of whimsical verse for young children.
ABOUT A FARM is his second children’s book. It features lessons in life beyond the barnyard.
A third book, THE POPE’S STONE, is Kuhn’s first adult novel. It is a fascinating historical novel about two descendants of the same family who live parallel lives, but a century apart!
Kuhn lives in South Florida with his wife, Rosemarie, and seven grandchildren.
THE POPE’S STONE is a fascinating historical novel that follows the lives of Nathaniel and Nicholas, descendants of the Barrington family of Virginia. Each young man keeps life-long journals which eventually reveal their parallel lives; lives that are mirrored by similar events and experiences, similar relationships and consequences. The two, however, lived a century apart. The only connections between them are their family heritage, their journals…and the Pope’s Stone.
The Pope’s Stone was a slab of engraved marble given to America in 1854 by Pope Pius IX. It was to be embedded within the walls of the Washington Monument, then under construction in the nation’s capital. John Henry Barrington, a stonemason working at the Monument site, was persuaded to assist a small party of anti-Catholic activists in stealing the Pope’s Stone, smashing it to pieces and tossing them into the Potomac River. The Pope’s Stone was never to be seen again, except for a fragment that John Henry secretly kept for himself. This small piece of the stone passes down through generations of Barringtons, leaving a path of hardship and unexpected tragedy for those who possess it. Coincidence? Bad karma, as Cousin Sarah calls it? Or is it more than that? And, what role does the stone play in the lives of Nathaniel and Nicholas? These are some of the questions you’ll be asking…discover the answers in THE POPE’S STONE.
I have got to say. I don’t like historical fictions. It’s not like I have had a bad experience reading the likes of it before. But I tend to link history with the word ‘boring’, probably because of my boring history classes from school!
However, imagine my surprise when I found The Pope’s Stone, an American historical novel, to be anything but ‘boring’. It was my good friend, Monica of Impressions of a Princess who brought my attention to this book. The summary caught my fancy immediately. It’s not the usual kind of plot. Two people keeping identical journals and leading identical parallel lives but yet having lived a century apart is definitely intriguing. I was introduced right into the heart of the story but it never was too soon or too slow. The book moves back and forth between the journal entries of Nathaniel from the mid – late 18th century and Nicholas from mid- late 19th century. Sometimes, I don’t quite like the jumping from time to time part however, in this book, everything has a well denoted year to it, so it never was confusing.
The lives of Nathaniel and Nicholas are very well described. There were many profoundly touching and moving scenes described throughout the book. Also, one question propelled me quickly through the pages and that was, how exactly does The Pope’s stone fit into these two people’s lives. I like the author’s choice of words at times. Simple yet packed with such an impact!. I love how the twists of fate are explained in the book. There are tragedies in the book. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. But it makes you ponder more about our life, death and the timing of everything.
The plot is very well thought of. Everything is linked seamlessly. The author has captured the bonds shared by family, very beautifully. I understand that writing about history is not very easy. Not everyone can do it, because it’s not like you can simple tap into your imagination and write about your thoughts and fantasies!. Actual historical events play major role in such books and that means you need to know your history well. That’s exactly what I found here. The author has very well researched everything, obviously with the help of many people to whom he wrote a beautiful acknowledgement at the end of the book.
He also thanks his wife, to whom he has been happily married to for 45 years, for her constant support, in such a way that it really moved me to tears!. Familial bonds move me a lot. Believe me!!. I think the cover of this book is very nice by the way. The light from the top, emphasizes the title of the book beautifully, as is the open journal and a part of the Pope’s Stone.
I would highly suggest this book to just about anyone. I give this book a 4/5, which by Goodreads standards means that I really liked it!
Contact the author
How I received a copy!
I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange of an honest review.
Marc Kuhn, the author of the historical novel The Pope’s Stone, is very generous to offer a combo prize package of a signed paperback of his book plus a simple black journal. To sweeten the deal, there will be four winners!!. Two US residents and two international participants will be chosen by an electronic raffle after the giveaway ends. Kindly check the rafflecopter links below. The first one is for International giveaway and the next is for US only.
Note: Both giveaways are open until Friday, March 22. All entries will be checked for validity. On or before March 25, two international and two US residents will be randomly chosen by Rafflecopter. These four winners will be announced in this blog and they will have 48 hours to respond/comment on the announcement post. I am not responsible for the shipment of the prize. The author will be handling the shipment.
FOLLOW THE REST OF THE TOUR
The Pope’s Stone Tour Schedule (March 8-19)
March 8 – Impressions of a Princess
March 10 – YA Big BOOKworm
March 11- Book Adoration
March 12 – For the Love of Books
March 13 – Naznin Azeez
March 14 – Amidst Books
March 15 – Lollipops and Rainbows
March 16 – Emma Snow
March 17 – Prisailurophile Blog
March 18 – Pretty Little Dreamer
March 19 – Edge of Jade