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11 Reviews
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning writing with a sinister twist, 9 Mar 2007
By 
This review is from: Set in Stone (Hardcover)
This book won the Costa Children's book of the year, and it's not hard to see why. The writing is lyrical and so beautifully expressed, and the story packs a real punch.

At the beginning, the style reminded me of Emily Bronte because the story is told from the point of view of two servants to a grand family. Set at the turn of the century, the book follows the fortunes of Samuel Godwin, a young aspiring artist, who is placed as art tutor to two teenage girls. Charlotte Agnew, the girls' governess and confidante, is the other narrator, and through their eyes we watch the events at `Fourwinds' unfold with growing horror. For although everything on the surface is fine, there is a terrible secret at the root of the family. I can't possibly say what it is, because that would give the book away, but suffice it to say that although the secret is indeed very nasty, the strength of the book lies in its beautiful writing.

The use of first person narrator tells us so much about Samuel and Charlotte - their naiveties and affections, their roles and personalities. I had wondered whether I would find the style too `old-fashioned' and thus become detached from rather than drawn into the story. Not so - this is such a brilliantly written book that I found myself going to bed early just so I could read a bit more! Highly recommended.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a spell-binding, suspenseful read, 5 Jun 2006
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This review is from: Set in Stone (Hardcover)
This is a book I couldn't put down, a strange house with a half-crazed, beautiful girl living in it, a domineering, sinister father and the young artist who discovers the secrets behind the stone carvings on the outside of the house. It haunted me long after I'd put it down. Linda Newbery always deals superbly with things other writers for teens are often scared to mention. You have to read it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful pastiche of Victorian literature, 7 May 2007
By 
Star_Sea "Xing" (Salisbury, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Set in Stone (Paperback)
Samuel Godwin is a young man with artistic talent who is looking for his purpose in life; he is hired by Ernest Farrow as an art tutor for his two daughters, Juliana and Marianne, who have recently lost their mother. Samuel is enchanted both by the Farrows' house, Fourwinds, and the beautiful Marianne, while discovering a sort of kindred spirit in the girls' companion, Charlotte Agnew. However, both Samuel and Charlotte are unaware of the dark secrets that lurk beneath the respectable surface, secrets that will eventually come to light in a shocking climax.

Those who've already read some Austen and Brontė will enjoy Newbery's nods to the great authors of the age, with her two contrasting sisters, the elder calm and reserved, the younger wild and emotional. Her story, however, is very modern, seeing the Victorian family from the two perspectives of Samuel and Charlotte. Newbery gradually peels back the family's respectable exterior to reveal the shame and anguish in both girls, as well as the flaws of their supposedly enlightened father.

In her previous two books for the Distinctions series, Newbery displayed a talent for interweaving themes and ideas that she uses to excellent effect here: art imitating life, the occult, family secrets, the difference between talent and genius, the preoccupations of late Victorian England. Fans of her previous novels will find this one very satisfying and those new to her writing could not have a better introduction.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Touching & tactful - a riveting read., 6 Jun 2006
By 
Mrs. K. A. Smurthwaite "Kell" (Aberdeen, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Set in Stone (Hardcover)
Set in Stone is incredibly intense and deals with some very adult themes (which are dealt with tactfully and sympathetically) therefore it's aimed more at the young adult market rather than younger teens. Very well-written and told from the viewpoint of two characters looking in at the family on the brink of madness that employs them. It's incredibly heady stuff! Love and possession; art and immortality; convention and defiance; ambition and desire: There's mystery and drama in equal measures which makes for a winning combination, with strong characters, clever plot twists and shocking revelations.

Very highly recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "To handle stone is to handle the stuff of life and death...", 6 April 2009
By 
Brida "izumi" (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: Set in Stone (Hardcover)
SET IN STONE is about a house, Fourwinds, and the people who live there during the late 1800s. Within the beautiful architecture and seemingly idyllic location, Fourwinds hides many secrets. Dark and disturbing, these secrets illustrate just how we can never assume to know all that goes on behind closed doors.
Although this novel is aimed at young adults, older readers should easily enjoy it too - Newbery's wiriting is brilliant and the themes of the book certainly pack a punch. Love, lust, obsession, art, betrayal, immortality and madness are just some of the themes put under the microscope to varying degrees within the pages.
By writing the novel through the perspective of not one but twon of the characters, you are able to get alternative views of what is happening; you also get to 'know' these two characters intimately - their complexities, their thinking and their fears. This adds to the whole reading experience.
If Newbery's other books are half as good, they should be well worth checking out.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A pleasant read, 11 May 2008
By 
H. Lacroix (France) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Set In Stone (Paperback)
When young artist Samuel finds himself at Fourwinds, the impressive house of wealthy Mr Farrow, engaged to teach his two daughters, he is unaware he is stepping into a trap or that the house's sleek exterior hides many secrets.What of the missing west wind statue? And what of its sculptor, the talented Gideon Waring? Why was the last governess fired and why is the new one, Charlotte Agnew,so secretive?
'Set in stone' is not challenging as a book but I agree with those readers who write it can't be dismissed just as a children's book.It is well written, truly atmospheric and though some of the secrets and twists in the story, are easy to guess at, it still remains a very enjoyable read. If you choose to read it your brain won't be taxed but nor will you be bored.It entertained me for a good many hours and I certainly don't regret reading it nor would I hesitate ro recommend it!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A book for all age groups, 8 Mar 2007
By 
Z. OConnor "tantezoe" (Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Set in Stone (Hardcover)
I picked up this book because of the intriguing cover - I initially thought I would buy it for my bookworm god-daughter. However I soon figured that it was a little too advanced for her years - but the first couple of pages had me hooked so I ended up purchasing it for myself (I'm in my mid-30s!)

I thought this was a compulsive and atmospheric read - and would recommend it to anyone of any age. Its marketing as a teen novel does not do it justice. I'm keeping it on the shelf until my god-daughter is a few years older. It's gothic romanticism will have her hooked!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely stunning, 19 May 2011
By 
M CABARET "Jill Cabaret" (Douchy, France) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Set in Stone (Paperback)
Absoultely loved this book, it is beautifully written. You are drawn into the story by the strange & intriguing characters & the details of art & architecture are amazing. In my opinion this book is certainly also for adults. C'ant wait for Linda Newbery next adult book.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A MUST BUY!!!, 10 July 2007
By 
FAMOUS NAME (UNITED KINGDOM) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Set In Stone (Paperback)
When I purchased this book, I could not have known it would become one of the greatest novels I have ever read! From the very first page and opening lines, one is embraced into the circle of a handful of characters whose lives and experiences are so vivid, one is apt to think that this is all real! In this, nobody is what they seem - everyone's identity is somewhat concealed for various reasons. As the story unfolds, everything is explained and becomes clear - despite being one of the most complex plots I can recall ever having read! This would make a tremendous film, if (not being a fan of modern films) it has not already been done. Linda Newbery's style of writing flows like running water, and you will find yourself reading so quickly, the pages will turn like leaves blowing in the wind! All too often it is said that one can not put a book down it is so riveting, but literally, I found myself retrieving this, and reading it upon every single opportunity I could get!

Not having read anything by this author before, I was absolutely puzzled to discover from the internet that Linda Newbery is known for writing books for children and young adults!? I cannot for the life of me comprehend why this book should fall into this category, since there seems little for children in this, as the story deals with so many adult topics. The story is full of both mystery and intrigue, and each disclosure subtly leads to another. Every character is so enriched with individual personality, that unlike many other reads, it is absolutely impossible to confuse any of them - they live and breathe and rise from the pages in a way that is quite startling!

Being a very slow reader, yet having finished this book in only a couple of days I was so glued, I was bitterly disappointed, and was left feeling very sad indeed having reached the end of it. Though I have more than 150 books new and unread awaiting me, this is going to be a VERY hard one to follow indeed!

You NEED to read this book!

FIFTY stars!!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why Judy Bloom Should Be Worried, 30 May 2007
This review is from: Set In Stone (Paperback)
Writing of this high quality is rare. It's rarer to find a 'children's book' (what ever that is) written so engagingly and with such care. So much writing for teens is disposable: this is a classic that repays re-reading for wisdom and pleasure. Dump the junk: go for quality! And your parents will like it too.
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Set In Stone
Set In Stone by Linda Newbery (Paperback - 2 Feb 2007)
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