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General Fiction Review    


The Stone Flower Garden
By Deborah Smith
Little, Brown and Company, 2002
ISBN: 0-316-80094-5



Set in a small town near Ashville, North Carolina, The Stone Flower Garden explores three generations of two intertwined families burying their secrets. 

Darl Union's grandmother owns everything, and by implication, everybody, in her hometown of Burnt Stand. There may be questions as to how Darl's great-grandmother came to own the Hardigee Marble Company but she insisted that her daughters act like ladies. At ten, Darl doesn't want to act like a lady or be treated differently because her family has money. She wants the freedom to spend time with Karen, the daughter of the family's maid, and Eli Wade, the son of the head stonecutter at the quarry. 

Eli's family, banished for a generation after rumors of an unsuitable romantic dalliance with the quarry owner's daughter, has returned to town. His father, who has fought hard to reestablish the family's good reputation, was recently named as the company's manager and is raising some eyebrows by treating the blacks in his employ equally. 

When Darl's Aunt Clara returns to Burnt Stand after years in exile, she reopens old wounds, revives old rumors, and splits her own family while destroying the Wade family's tentative foothold in the middle class. 

In The Stone Flower Garden four generations of Wade men and Hardigee women repeat mistakes and destiny until, as adults, Eli and Darl unearth the truth. A story about class distinctions and great love, Deborah Smith has written a richly textured Southern Gothic novel destined to be a best-seller.


Pam Kingsbury
Southern Scribe Review

2002 Southern Scribe Reviews, All Rights Reserved