Infidelity and sexual obsession, birth and loss – these are the themes of Laura Chester’s frank and powerful novel The Stone Baby.
Julia Chapin is an aspiring painter in her mid-thirties, blessed with three sons and a circle of good women-friends. She is also bored with her marriage, and finds escape, release, and a kind of controlled recklessness through riding horses. Her weekend afternoons at a Western Massachusetts stable bring an encounter with Philip Mercato, a smooth-talking divorced Manhattan stockbroker. Julia is swept away on the wings of money and charm to a world of compulsive sensuality––a world that comes to a sudden, sobering end when she finds that she is pregnant.
Laura Chester precisely charts the evolution of a doomed relationship, from first erotic rush to shattering disillusionment. Along the way, she explores the ways that women support one another in difficult times.
The best thing of its kind since Elizabeth Bowen. If Bowen were still alive, she might envy the frankness with which Chester is able to write about sex, childbirth, and the gut-tugging bond between mother and child.
—San Francisco Chronicle