**Laura Knight is the winner of the give-away!**
Stone Creek by Victoria Lustbader
Finished on 5/18/08
Rating: 3.5/5 (Good)
In a small town in upstate New York, a random meeting will offer hope and the chance of love for two lonely people.
Though he still grieves for the young wife he loved and lost, Danny, a widower, knows he must move on for the sake of Caleb, his five-year-old son. Lily has arrived at her summer house, determined to forget her yearning for a child while her high-powered workaholic husband, Paul, remains in New York.
When Lily and Danny meet while volunteering for a local charity, something immediate and undeniable happens between them. Neither one can ignore that Lily is married and ten years older than Danny, but it is Danny's son, Caleb, who continues to bring them together. Missing his mother, Caleb is growing attached to Lily, and neither Danny nor she wants to upset the delicate balance that holds the boy's happiness. But Danny and Lily find themselves, too, balancing on a high-wire act between happiness and despair.
Stone Creek is a novel of tremendous emotional impact that illuminates the power of love and loss to transform — and break — the human heart.
I'd never heard of Victoria Lustbader until I stumbled upon the ARC for Stone Creek. After reading the publisher's blurb on the back cover, I decided to give it a try, thinking it might be a good summer read. Having recently read Keeper and Kid (which also centers around a father raising a young son after the death of his wife), I was curious to see how this author would handle the issue of a husband's grief. While the plot had the potential of becoming quite sappy (say, along the lines of Danielle Steel or Nicholas Sparks), I was pleasantly surprised, deciding that it actually had more depth and style than I had expected, more like one of Anne Rivers Siddons' or Elizabeth Berg's works than something by Steel or Sparks. As with Berg's domestic descriptions, Lustbader's attention to detail enabled me to easily picture the characters and their individual settings, and I was immediately pulled into the story, finding myself looking for a free afternoon to get back to my reading (rather than pulling weeds or washing my filthy car!).
Lustbader is definitely an author I'll read again. Her previous novel, Hidden, sounds interesting, as does her work-in-progress, currently titled Approaching The Speed of Light. Stone Creek is sure to be a popular beach read and I plan to include it on my upcoming "What's In Your Beach Bag?" end cap at work. And, to help kick off the beginning of summer, I'm offering my Advanced Reader's Copy to one of you lucky blogophiles. Leave me a comment and I'll throw your name in the hat.