Tuesday, May 2, 2017

The Stone Necklace--A Good Read


When I attended the writing conference recently, I purchased a couple of published  books written by members of my online writing group. One is a novel written by Carla Damron.  Carla is the author of the Caleb Knowles mystery novels Keeping Silent, Spider Blue, and Death In Zooville. In each of these books, she writes about several social issues. Who better to do this than a clinical social worker like Carla? Especially since she won the 2014 South Carolina Social Worker of the Year award.

She turned away from mystery with this latest novel but social issues are again involved in the story. Author Pat Conroy said "Damron's masterful portrayal of misery giving way to sympathy leads us toward a glimmering hope of redemption for families and a community on the cusp of bold rebirth. This is a novelist to be read again and again."

Carla Damron
Carla Damron

I had a particular interest in reading Carla's latest book as I had been one of several who critiqued a few parts of it when she submitted chapters to our online writing group.

The Stone Necklace begins with a heart attack and an accident on a regular morning. A man is dead, a woman and her child in another car injured, and a family changed forever. The story revolves around 5 main characters, Lena, the widow, Tonya, the woman whose car was hit, Sandy, a nurse addicted to drugs, now in rehab and trying to regain her life, and Joe, a homeless man. Add to this mix an anorexic teen-age daughter that Lena has to deal with and the book becomes a page turner.

Lena has survived leaving her family for a short affair and breast cancer treatment after she returned home, supported by her husband. Losing him so suddenly turns her world upside down. She deals with her troubled teen-aged daughter, adult sons who return home to help her through the beginning days, her husband's business partner and a sister who has been out of her life for many years.

Tonya, the woman injured in the crash has plenty of her own problems to deal with. Her marriage is in trouble, she dislikes her job and she fears for her small son if things stay as they are.

Sandy, the nurse who became addicted to drugs, fights every day to stay clean. She befriends Becca, Lena's daughter, as she recognizes the girl's need for help.

Joe is a homeless man who sleeps in a graveyard. He does odd jobs to survive and had been treated with great kindness by Lena's husband, Mitch, prior to the accident. Joe fights is own demons on a daily basis.

Becca, Mitch and Lena's daughter, deals with anorexia and losing her dearly loved father and more.

Carla Damron intertwines the stories of these characters with excellent character development and beautiful writing.  

What happens to each character, how their lives intertwine and how each situation works out makes for a good read. The author made me care about the characters. To me, that is the sign of a good writer. 

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