Title: The Pope’s Stone
Author: Marc Kuhn
Published: October 9, 2012
Paperback: 242 pages
Kindle Edition: 229 pages
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.
About the Author
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.
Contact the Author
A good friend and my “cyber-sister” Monica of Impressions of a Princess emailed me asking if I could review Mr. Marc Kuhn’s book. I’ve never read a single novel on historical fiction before but I decided to give The Pope’s Stone a shot. And yes, it did not disappoint.
One thing I realized while reading the novel is that, even for a first time reader of a historical novel like me, Mr Marc’s writing was easy to understand and incredibly fast paced. I may have grown a new found love for history after leafing through the first few pages. Chapters are dated, making it easier to follow which era you’re in. It begins with a brief introduction about John Henry Barrington, the Washington Monument construction, how the Pope’s Stone got there and why a lot of people were outraged and wanted to destroy it.
Chapter 2 dated April 1875, introduces us to Nathaniel Henry Barrington who was celebrating his 14th birthday. With his curious mind full of “worldly ideas and ponderings”, I can relate to this kid at some point. His friend, Elizabeth, whom he denies any flings with calling it as a brother-sister relationship, gifted him a leather journal for his special day, and on that journal, he intended to record his life experiences. On his very first journal entry, He mentioned he was only a year old when his father, Louis Barrington, died.
In Chapter 3 dated April 1981, we meet another Barrington who also turned 14, Nicholas Barrington. His interests lie on books, current events and science and technology. On his birthday, he received a journal which he decided to keep to write about his life. Just like Nathaniel, a girl gave it to him. Really, the similarities between the two boys are highly recognizable.
One thing I couldn’t keep track of was the ever changing eras and perspectives. It made me confused at first but I adjusted after awhile. I was totally drawn in when I got to the next chapters. The author did a great job in keeping me intrigued as I get to the best parts. The whole story had my mind working and guessing. The Stone was passed down through generations of the Barringtons and though the two boys, Nathaniel and Nicholas, lived centuries apart, they share the same fate.
I only had little time to read the whole novel as I needed to post this review up. I honestly thought I was not gonna finish reading it in time but my eyes were glued onto the computer screen, page after page. The stone played a huge role in the lives of the two boys and their families. I was caught in a whirlpool of emotions with all the tragedies because I can get really attached to fictional characters after getting to know them.
“Time and place, I have concluded, no matter how brief and no matter how small, can have infinite influence on one’s well being.” Nathaniel said this on one of his entries and it struck me. Mr. Marc Kuhn indeed has captured me with his writing abilities. I love how well-researched and straight up the facts are with this book. The author turned those historical events and made it into his own. All in all, a highly recommended book not only for bookworms and fans of historical fiction but for everyone. Mr. Marc Kuhn, you have earned yourself another fan. I’m starting to love historical novels because of this. Expect that I’ll be reading more of your works in the future!
Coffee Ratings: 4 cups out of 5!
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, four winners can totally get this awesome gift. Awesome? Two US residents and two international participants will be chosen by an electronic raffle after the giveaway ends. So what are you guys waiting for? Kindly check the rafflecopter links below. The first one is for International giveaway and the next is for US only.
Hop into the fun!
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.
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 – Nazninazeez
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
I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange of an honest review. This review is also available in Goodreads.
P.S. A big thank you to Monica of Impressions of a Princess for introducing me to this novel and to Mr. Marc Kuhn for a great read!