Rise and Shine, Benedict Stone: A Novel
Rise and Shine, Benedict Stone is a story of broken dreams, fractured family, and the power of belief. One lonely night, Benedict Stone is woken by banging on his door. On the other side is a young woman named Gemma, who claims to be his niece from America. Gemma is traveling alone and says her purse with phone and passport were stolen at the airport. Grudgingly, Benedict lets Gemma stay with him while he attempts to reach his estranged brother, Charlie.
As the days turn first to one week, then another, Benedict begins to change under Gemma’s influence. He begins to eat healthier, exercise more, and do spontaneous things. She drags several of his earliest jewelry-crafting pieces to his jewelry shop, where he’s long since settled into a boring routine of crafting plain jewelry on autopilot. As Gemma begins to recommend custom-designed pieces to customers who come in, trying to find gemstones that will be most beneficial to them, Benedict begins designing and crafting again. In doing so, he wakens his dormant creative passion. Through all of this, Gemma also helps her uncle try to win back the heart of his wife, Estelle.
A chance discovery that Gemma has been, in part, lying to him prompts Benedict to finally track down Charlie’s number and let him know where Gemma is. It also leads to Benedict sharing with Estelle the reason the brothers are estranged and to Charlie showing up in sleepy little Noon Sun. Gemma flees her father and it takes Benedict, Charlie, and Estelle working together to find her, setting into motion healing on all fronts.
This was an amazing story, at times funny and at others poignantly sad. Above all, it is relatable. Who doesn’t have secrets in their families or familial strife? Who wouldn’t benefit from being shaken out of a rut in some aspect of their life? I love how the thread of magickal/emotional uses of gemstones is woven all throughout the novel, especially with the chapter headings.
This is a story of family and the many ways “family” can be defined. Despite being estranged for nearly two decades, Benedict and Charlie are brought back together by a mutual love for Gemma. Benedict learns that he doesn’t need children of his own to have a family. He and Estelle can become a great aunt and uncle instead of great parents. He even learns that Cecil and Puss are part of his family and that the village of Noon Sun creates a unique version of family as well. Highly recommended.
Park Row Books