By: E.B. Moore
Publisher: New American Library
Publication Date: October 2015
Reviewed by: Anita Lock
Review Date: January 7, 2016
Moore's latest takes readers into the worlds of a mother's unrelenting desire for her lost son and a young boy's incredible adventure into unfamiliar territory and spiritual awakening.
An unexpected fire gives Joshua the opportunity to run away from his overbearing father. But the year is 1867 and Joshua, eleven years old at the time, is now outside his Amish Pennsylvanian sphere and has nowhere else to turn except to the supposed ungodly community—better known as the English. Ten years later, Joshua returns to his family, unaware of what the future holds. Espying a grave marker that bears a reminder of his lost youth, Joshua thinks back to the journey that changed his life forever. Never forgetting his schoolteacher's geography lesson about a land that is always sunny and warm, Joshua sets his sites for Monte Ray, California. But fulfilling his goal is not as easy as it seems. Indeed, Joshua's travels are precarious at best.
Joshua's faith and upbringing is challenged when he finds himself surrounded by a host of colorful people-a mix of the good, bad, and the downright ugly-amid a flurry of uncomfortable situations. Yet while Joshua's life is evolving, so too is his mother's life. Miriam resolves not to let go of hope that Joshua may be alive. Aside of her determination, Miriam is on her own spiritual journey, and as a result her perspectives and attitudes about non-Amish people begin to change. Better defined as self-awareness, Miriam recognizes that the wickedness associated with those outside of the Flock does not hold true, especially when she befriends a kind English woman. It happens again when she breaks the norm by lovingly but firmly standing up to her flawed husband.
Mistress storyteller, Moore connects readers with common personal and familial themes in her latest read. Divided into three sections, Moore opens with Joshua's return before probing deeply into backstories. Written in split third person narratives, Moore alternates between Joshua's and Miriam's experiences and spiritual journeys. Aside of Joshua and Miriam, Moore has sculpted a well-defined cast, perfectly foiled to force her principle characters to see themselves for who they really are.
While introspection is one aspect that readers can quickly relate to, Moore also zeroes in on other modern-day themes, such as the tension that normally arises within married life and parent-child relationships, as well as the nagging hope that healing and forgiveness will follow. Combining all the above-mentioned literary tools, Moore seamlessly moves from chapter to chapter, weaving into the split narratives rich and oft time lilting poetic descriptions of character's moods, scenarios, and various landscapes that together slowly coalesce in one unforgettable ending.
Quill says: A poignant and compelling story from beginning to end, Stones in the Road is guaranteed to become a bestseller!