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Water, Stone, Heart

3.51 of 5 stars 3.51  ·  rating details  ·  462 ratings  ·  112 reviews
Newly divorced, Andrew Stratton lives in his head and not with his heart. He teaches architectural theory but has never built a building. He writes about “The Anatomy of Livable Places”– communities where form and material are in harmony–but has no sense of where he belongs. He is capable of deep, tender emotions but is unable to express them. When his wife leaves him for ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published April 28th 2009 by Crown (first published April 24th 2009)
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First I loved the title; next I loved the cover art; most importantly, I loved the story and the characters and the setting. This was published in 2009 so I'm not sure how I missed such a great book. Andrew Stratton is a professor of architecture who's never built a building. He goes to a small town in England to learn stone hedging (stone wall building) to reconect to the land after his wife leaves him for another man. He meets Nicola Rhys-Jones, an artist still recovering from an abusive relat ...more
Kiera Healy
Sadly, I didn't see the Nicholas Sparks comparisons until it was too late. This is a pretty dreadful book about a pair of Americans who meet in a horrifically twee version of Cornwall, exchange twenty words, fall madly in love and then experience a flash flood. It's even worse than it sounds. There is a poorly-written subplot about sexual abuse, a dreary dip into witchcraft, and a magical pixie of a 12 year-old who brings the two adults together.

Spoilers ahead in my laundry list of complaints:

I started reading this book for the Cornwall setting and wasn't disappointed with the major part the setting played. The historical aspect of the actual flood that occurred in Boscastle, the descriptions of the countryside, and the characters' relationships to the setting created a dominant (in a good way) character out of the setting itself. Two elements I most enjoy about a book are the historical aspects of a story and the setting coming alive, so this book definitely fulfilled both of those ...more
Hard to believe that the author did not live through the flood in Boscastle himself. After reading the sample I just had to buy and carry on reading. The characters all came alive and I was almost holding my breath until I knew how they had fared through that day. Remembering watching on television, almost disbelieving our eyes at the time, this tale by Will North brought it all back. I will certainly read more by this author.
Most books I rate 4 stars. This story was interesting from page one to the end. Will North writes a heart warming story indeed. I enjoyed both of his books so I've read so far.
Katherine Kirkpatrick
Escaping from the tedium of his life, the protagonist of Water, Stone, Heart, Andrew Stratton, a newly divorced architecture professor from Philadelphia, journeys to the remote village of Boscastle in Cornwall, England to learn how to build stone and turf walls. There Andrew falls in love with Nicola, a beautiful artist who suffers from a secret, tragic past, and is befriended by a variety of quirky characters including a precocious nine-year-old who communes with nature, a wizened old stonemas ...more
Sirpa Grierson
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Julia A. McDonald
A charming little novel set in a beautiful spot.

A charming little novel set in a beautiful spot.

In my travels I have been fortunate enough to have been to Cornwall. It is truly beautiful with just a hint of mystery about it. The main characters in the book are both adults who are searching for something and find it finally in each other. The other main character is a precocious little girl who is wise beyond her years with just a hint of the " fairies " about her. The books last part is about a
When I saw this book compared to books by Nicholas Sparks, I was worried. I'm not really a fan of the touchy feely man-feelings kind of book. But I was surprised. While early in the book, my fears seemed to be justified as the main character was so wishy washy when confronted with his divorce, he seemed to grow a pair toward the end and became quite a heroic character. So I'd like to recommend this to any manly men who shun the Nick Sparks books. Will North is not a bad author. A bit too many "f ...more
Maria Carmo
A touching, interesting story in a breathtaking scenery. Two very different people in search for themselves and for peace. Architecture in a new angle, the one of a ZEN Builder, someone who can "relate" to the stones and enter into a state of quasi meditation... A wild and enchanting little girl, forever roaming the countryside in her "exploration" of nature and the human mind, sometimes retreating into her magic tree, one of her closest friends. And, every now and then, a single woof from Randy ...more
Okay, I guess I'm stuck on 2.5-kind of books, but I think that's a fairly generous rating for this one. The romantic premise behind this book was entertaining enough, but why oh why did North decide to treat one of his main character's severe sexual abuse problems with a spell/incantation from the local witch doctor? Not only does he describe her incestual abuse in some sordid detail (if you're going to provide the gory details, at least create a more nuanced bad guy, for Lord's sake!), but he ...more
I absolutely love Will North's writing. The Long Walk Home was a re-read as soon as I finished it and I'm sure I will feel likewise about this book. He is playful and fun and so very descriptive. I'm living the moment with him. Can't wait to finish this book Water, Stone, Heart

I read this book in a few days. A page-turner for me. Having vacationed in the landscape of the U.K. The authors's descriptive depiction and playful musing of his character's drew me in. Their was so much to learn about he
This is a story set in England around a village that has many colorful characters in the book. It brings a delightful little girl, a university professor, an artist who has been abused into the mix in a wonderful way. The village suffers a unbelieveable natural devastation that is based on a true occurrance. (There is a video on YouTube about the disaster.)
I enjoyed this a lot more than I expected to. More descriptive writing than I normally enjoy but wasn't overly wordy. I enjoyed the characters also. Good quick read.
Loved it! Been to Boscastle and could see all of the settings in my mind as I read. North did a great job capturing the place and told a good story at the same time!
Feb 27, 2014 Jewett rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: nook
At first I wasn't too sure about this book, but as I read on, I really enjoyed it. It is a love story but much more than that.
Beth Gosser
very interesting read and way more story line that I originally thought
Diana Petty-stone
A trip to Cornwall changes a teachers life for the better.
This is one of those books where I'm not quite sure what to say, so first I'll tell you WHY I read it:

When I went to buy Kelley Armstrong's The Reckoning (awesome book, by the way!), another book pricing sticker (surely there's a better name than that?) was stuck to my book. It was for Water, Stone, Heart. Now, I'm not really a superstitious person, but I decided I should check out the book. (Literally check out, from the library. I buy a lot of books, but wasn't going to take a chance on one in
Will North mentioned in his conclusion to Water, Stone, Heart that he originally began his career as a non-fiction writer, and was persuaded by his agent to consider writing fiction. "Water, Stone, Heart," is his second novel. In many ways, it still reads like a non-fiction book, with involved, explanatory asides about the local culture and extensive forays into characters' backstories. The novel is set in a remote village in Cornwall, and features lush descriptions of the village, the landscape ...more
This story is written by an American about two yanks in Cornwell, U.K. who fall in love.

An Architect from the Boston area, has been unaware his wife has been cheating on him for months, and is taken by surprise when she leaves him. Devastated he decides to do something different and signs up for a class in Cornwall, (where his ancestor have come from)on how to build stone hedges. Off he goes, and strikes up a friendship with a young lass of 9, who takes a shine to the yank, and shows him the co
Carolyn Hill
I was drawn to this story because it's set in a small seaside Cornwall village, is basically romantic at heart, but not in a genre way, has a real natural disaster in the plot, and the main character, Andrew Stratton, is an architect who travels there to study dry stone wall building. Doesn't sound scintillating, and it's not, but, hey,I happen to like stone walls and old buildings. And as an architect Andrew's interested in what makes old vernacular buildings and long settled villages so livabl ...more
Shonna Froebel
A little romance is sometimes exactly what you need. Here we have Andrew Stratton, professor of architecture, recently divorced by his wife who derides his choice of profession. He decides to take a summer course in building dry stone hedges in England while he thinks about his passion for architecture linked to the earth.
Nicola, a painter, has been living a quiet life since she left her abusive husband.
Both are in Boscastle, a small village on the coast of England and they get to know each othe
Shellys♥ Journal
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
The blurbs for this book compare it to Nicholas Sparks. In the way that the author is so in touch with emotions that comparison is very accurate. This book doesn't leave me with that corny romance aftertaste however. I spent almost as much time pondering why I enjoyed it as I did actually reading it. In part it was because of the endearing characters such as the precocious little girl; Lee; wise beyond her years. The settings were vibrant and real partially because it is a fictional story set ar ...more
I want to say that I "mildly" enjoyed Water, Stone, Heart . A more specific rating by me would be somewhere between "OK" and "I liked it," but as I have no way of rating this book with two and a half stars, I've settled on "I liked it." That said, not one of my favorites, but a somewhat pleasing buffer in between what I previously read, Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri, and what I was intending to read after this, The Sacred and Profane Love Machine by Iris Murdoch. North writes a dece ...more
Following a painful divorce when his wife leaves him for another man, Andrew Stratton a middle-aged professor of architectural theory, decides he needs a change of pace from academic life in Philadelphia. He decides to go to Boscastle, England, to take a course in hedge and stone wall building. While in Boscastle, Andrew finds he loves the quaint countryside, sharp Cornish coastline friendly pubs, and people he meets along the way.

Several quirky characters, an impending disaster, based on actual
Maria João
8 de 10*

Andrew vai para a Cornualha tirar um curso de construção de muros em pedra, depois de sofrer um desgosto amoroso, ao ser abandonado pela sua mulher que o acusou de não ter ambições na vida e de achar que a sua profissão de professor universitário, com formação de arquitecto fica muito aquém das suas possibilidades.

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Compare to "Bartelby the Scribner" by Hermen Melville.
Walls in our lives.
Small town life in England.
People caring for people.
Witches and Witchcraft, lovers of Mother Earth and Healers?.
Love between Man and woman, animals, and young children.
Room for all faiths to abide together.
Assiting one another in need.
I like Will North's way of writing looking forward to reading more of his works.
Mary Liebetrau
Read this book in a day. Loved the setting in Cornwall and grew to enjoy the characters. Loved that Andrew Stratton was able to "get his hands dirty" and experience what he had previously taught and read. His touching the stones as he helped construct the hedge was a main plot line. I do not normally enjoy including witchcraft in my selections but this had just the right touch for the story line and location.
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I think we can safely blame it on Margaret D’Ascoli, though I suppose Henry Wadsworth Longfellow may bear some responsibility as well.

Mrs. D’Ascoli was my eighth grade English teacher, Longfellow was the author of—among other things—the epic poem, Evangeline, about which we had to write a critical essay. When the day came for the papers to be handed back, the class was awash in anxiety. Mrs. D’Asc
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