December 6, 2012

Living amidst change

Crossing Stones
by Helen Frost

Muriel Jorgensen lives on one side of Crabapple Creek and Emma Norman lives on the other. Their families have been intertwined for as long as they can remember, connected by the crossing stones that span the water. 

It is the beginning of the First World War and Frank Norman, Emma's brother, has enlisted. Muriel's underage brother, Ollie, enlists too. In this carefully structured novel in verse, Helen Frost captures nine months in the lives of two families as they struggle to stay together while the world changes around them.

Muriel's poems flow like a creek, mirroring the uncertainty she feels about her future and that of other women. Her Aunt Vera plays a key part in the American women's suffrage movement, a cause that Muriel begins to support. Other voices are also heard: Frank and Ollie in letters home and Emma as she waits for war's end. Ollie's and Emma's poems represent the crossing stones, linked by a rhyming scheme that represents their growing love.

Moving and romantic.

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