by Christy Lenzi
Summary: In a small town on the brink of the Civil War, Catrina finds a man making strange patterns in her family’s sorghum crop. He’s mad with fever, naked, and strikingly beautiful. He has no memory of who he is or what he’s done before Catrina found him in Stone Field. But that doesn’t bother Catrina because she doesn’t like thinking about the things she’s done before either.
Catrina and Stonefield fall passionately, dangerously, in love. All they want is to live with each other, in harmony with the land and away from Cat’s protective brother, the new fanatical preacher, and the neighbors who are scandalized by their relationship. But Stonefield can’t escape the truth about who he is, and the conflict tearing apart the country demands that everyone take a side before the bloodbath reaches their doorstep.
Inspired by Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights.
Source: I received a digital copy from NetGalley
I liked Stone Field and it was a quick, enjoyable read. It was a retelling of sorts of Wuthering Heights, where Catrina is Cathy and Stonefield is Heathcliff. It was a story in which Catrina was forced to be in the “box” of her station. She should do housework, marry young, not embarrass her family, be a good little church mouse, and leave the wildness to the men. By her nature, Catrina was very wild. She spent time in the woods, felt comfortable outside doing men’s work, and felt stifled by the expectations set by society. Her father wasn’t one to discipline her, but her brother vocalized his issues with her behavior.
Catrina met Stonefield (and named him Stonefield as he lost his memories and she found him in a stone field) and felt immediately connected to him. Together, they were one. They both felt the same way about nature and love and feeling connected. Of course, it threw a wrench into everyone’s plans for her and things just got progressively worse. Stonefield and Catrina hurt each other based on miscommunication and they were both hurt by society and their roles in it. What should have been about finding your other half turned into a tragic story of pain and suffering.. which is exactly how I remembered Wuthering Heights being when I read it in high school, so I guess that part was right. ha.
I loved the themes and Catrina’s desire to be free. However, Catrina and Stonefield had a hippie millennial love in a Civil War era time. In today’s world, they would just be two weirdos who fell into mutual weirdness and got naked in the woods. In their time, they were obviously out of place and I couldn’t understand why Catrina, knowing the issues with the devil and witchcraft, would totally just be naked, dance, and put weird symbols on her body. I understand that society was certainly awful to people who truly felt connected to nature and more “pagan” than they “should” have been, but it seemed a little too much to have her be quite so crazy and wild. Instead of showing me the horror of the exorcism and the Reverend’s opinion, part of me kind of wondered if she DID need to at least be examined. She had some of what seemed like total breakdowns, so, while I was horrified by how people treated her, I kind of felt like maybe she wasn’t completely sane.
The lyrical narrative when Catrina and Stonefield were together was a little bit strange, so even I thought maybe they both had some issues, what with him losing his memory and her dancing around in twigs. If set in today’s time period, I would have just chalked it up to being a lyrical narrative, but set in the Civil War, it just didn’t work. I think the book lost some ground by trying to fit a modern day type of narrative into the time period, as it didn’t fit and took away from the themes a little bit.
However, the book was definitely unique and beautifully written, albeit a bit strange. I do recommend reading it if the synopsis intrigues you and you enjoy stories that don’t have such a clear cut happy ever after kind of ending. I absolutely love the cover, too, and think it fits the book quite well.