The Pope’s Stone by Marc Kuhn: review

The Pope's StoneThe Pope’s Stone by Marc Kuhn

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My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

Age Group: Adult/Young Adult

Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery

Publisher: Self Published

Release Date: October 9, 2012

Synopsis: 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.

My Thoughts:

Reading The Pope’s Stone was a big step out of my comfort zone. I rarely read historical fiction. There is no reason why I don’t read historical fiction much. It is just not my type of prefered reading. But when Monica who is one of my bloggy friends recommended this book to me with much ethusiasm I decided that I should just dive head-first into The Pope’s Stone‘s fascinating story.

I don’t regret doing so at all.

With an introduction that starts with a crime that involves a stone it is not at all hard to get interested in the story of The Pope’s Stone. And then there are the two following chapters; one chapter introducing Nathaniel Henry Barrington and the other introducing Nicholas Henry Barrington. The reader soon starts to notice that even though Nathaniel and Nicholas’ lives are separated by a century, their lives are very similar. Every good event, every bad event, and every tragic these two boys both experience. The reader must follow the story and find out what is happening.

As you can see this novel has a great story. Not only was it a great story it was executed well. And it was thought-provoking. I found myself recording all the clues in my head. I wanted to find the clues, piece them together, and solve the mystery. I was flipping the pages with excitement. And to be able to be excited by a story is all one can really ask for when reading a book. The pacing is a bit slow but I thought that it worked really well. In fact, the slowness made me want to read faster.

Kuhn’s prose is nothing short of excellent. It is clear, easy to read and never becomes flowery. The delivering of information was done with finesse and helped me understand the story better. The only problem I had with the writing was the constant switching of POVs. It made my head down at first, however, I did get used to it later on.

Both the main characters and the minor characters were easy to get attached to. Nicholas and Nathaniel were such friendly and polite people. They were also very tragic characters. I just wanted to jump in the story and whisper a hint to them and then discreetly pop back into the real world. I just wanted the two boys to be safe. We don’t always get what we want though. Kuhn puts his characters through a lot. *sniffles*

I am not by any means a knowledgeable person but the information that Kuhn presented in his novel seemed accurate and real. He is also able to insert the information in the story in such a way that I was able to quickly understand. Fun fact: the Pope’s Stone is real–well, in the past anyways. Still an interesting piece of information to know.

The ending broke my heart and made me tear up a bit. It was haunting because of its promise that nothing was over and that things will still continue. It was an open ending and that might be why I didn’t feel satisfied with it. Even thought the ending was heartbreaking it was stilled flawed. There is a lot questions that go unanswered and it kind if irked me.

The Pope’s Stone does have its flaws but overall it is a compelling mystery that will make a person think. The slow pacing might not be for everyone but I would definitely recommend this book to history and mystery lovers. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and I am grateful that I got the chance to read it.

*A complimentary copy of this book was provided in return for a honest review.


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