What do a writer for a steamy soap opera and a hedge fund manager have in common? To begin with, in Stumble Stones by Marilyn Baron, both are coming out of unhappy relationships. Hallelujah Weiss has just divorced her cheating husband and decides she will exact her revenge by maxing out her ex’s credit card. Modeling the “new” Hallelujah on the character Polly she writes about, she is off to Florence, Italy for a dream high end holiday. It’s her chance meeting with Alexander Stone, a Berlin man whose life is consumed by numbers, that turns her plans upside down and throws her into an unforgettable adventure.
In spite of Alexander’s exacting profession, he has a soft side. Recently betrayed and dumped by his fiancée, he gathers himself together and sets forth on a dangerous journey. When he catches sight of Hallelujah on a flight to Rome he is almost immediately smitten. But more than that, he sees in her a potential ally in his quest. Alexander was restoring an old house in Berlin he had purchased when he came upon a hidden cache of diamonds. Determined to find the rightful owner and return the jewels, he finds himself pursued by strangers who seem intent on preventing him from doing the right thing.
As the story progresses Hallelujah, daughter of a rabbi, and Alexander, of German descent, begin a romantic journey of their own. Acquiring her assistance through somewhat devious means, Alexander carries her along on his wild ride to make things right.
Perhaps the most fascinating part of this book is the story of “stumble stones” which do exist. These stones are actually plaques set into the sidewalks in front of properties belonging to victims of the Holocaust. Four of these stones are positioned on Alexander’s property and they hold the biggest clue to the owner of the diamonds.
While the romance is a tad fast paced, the encounters slightly predictable, Stumble Stones is a good story. It has enough suspense to keep the reader engaged, enough romance to tease the reader along, and a satisfying conclusion. The story is creatively built fiction surrounding real life history. Baron does it well, keeping it light enough to entertain while imparting interesting details about the past.
The Story of “Stumble Stones”