Rise & Shine, Benedict Stone: A Novel by Phaedra Patrick (Park Row Books, $24.99, 368 pages)
Fans of Phaedra Patrick’s debut novel, The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper, will be delighted with her next heartfelt novel, Rise & Shine, Benedict Stone. Ms. Patrick has created a signature theme that permeates the tales. The main character is a man adrift in life, not connecting with reality. The setting is a small village in Yorkshire, England.
Benedict Stone is a jeweler, as was his father before him. Stone’s wife, Estelle, has decamped from their home, ostensibly to look after the apartment of a friend who is working in New York. Benedict knows that Estelle has tired of his obsession with having children. So far that hasn’t happened for them. He’s proposed adoption and Estelle has rebuffed this alternative. The emotional distance between them is growing, much to Benedict’s horror. He relies on food to calm his nerves and we all know where that leads.
Stone’s jewelry store is fading into oblivion, due in no small part to Benedict’s insistence on making simple pieces that aren’t on trend with popular styles. He is stubborn and resists change, especially when it comes to his trade. Cecil, his salesman, offers advice on how to win back Estelle and Benedict considers it.
One dark and stormy night, there is a knock at the front door. Benedict imagines it is Estelle returned home. But, no, instead there’s a teenage girl on the front porch and she is dripping wet. She introduces herself – Gemma Stone, his estranged brother Charlie’s daughter. Gemma has traveled alone from the United State and invites herself in for a stay. She may or may not have her father’s permission to make the journey!
And that is the beginning of a wonderful tale of redemption and awakening for everyone. Ms. Patrick infuses her chapters with fascinating information about the gemstones contained in a bag that Gemma has brought on her trip. Each has historically associated attributes. Together, Benedict and Gemma make these gemstones part of their strategy for creating a better life for both of them.
Ms. Patrick enlivens her characters with foibles and quirks. Her scenes are full of color and details that will delight the reader. It’s not often that an equally engaging novel follows a marvelous debut. Happily, this author has succeeded with Rise & Shine, Benedict Stone. Look for Benedict Stone in mid-May.
A review copy was provided by the publisher. Rise & Shine, Benedict Stone will be released on May 16, 2017.
“Phaedra Patrick understands the soul.” Nina George, New York Times bestselling author of The Little Paris Bookshop.