14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 9 March 2007
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.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on 5 June 2006
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.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
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.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 6 June 2006
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.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 19 May 2011
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.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
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!
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 30 May 2007
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.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 30 September 2011
Once again I was delighted with the service received in the processing of this order. I will be very happy to use the services again in the future.