Petals and Stones

Petals and Stones by Joanne Burn

Petals and Stones is the debut novel from author Joanne Burn.

Ahead of our live webinar with DKW Literary Agency we review a book by one of their authors, Joanne Burn. And what a book!

Petals and Stones is a powerful debut that urges you to speak your truth.


“Once you get used to it, a secret isn’t that difficult to keep.”

On the night that Uma discovers her husband, Daniel, has been having an affair three short, sharp knocks on the door bring more devastating news – Daniel has been killed in a road accident. Now Uma has to untangle their lives and the mess that Daniel left behind. Yet while she is preparing to bury him, how many secrets of Uma’s will bubble to the surface?

“Once you’ve made a decision, you stick to it.”

Friends since their teens, Uma and Daniel shared everything: a home, a business, a terrible sense of direction. Daniel, his mother and his sisters welcomed Uma into their unit with open arms from the outset. But was being together the right choice for everyone involved? And, if so, why was Daniel having an affair?

‘Regret is a terrible feeling, so pointless, and so painful.’

Petals and stones feature with sheer poignancy: Flowers dried and pressed. Stones polished with time. Author Joanne Burn has taken great care with Uma and her cherished memories, unwrapping them gently from their safe place for us to inspect. We are embraced by generous layers of warm woollens, soft tunics and a coat that holds a moment so dear as Uma’s fragility is revealed.

Fragrance, too, soothes the reader; the kitchen feast of Keralan comfort from piquant curry leaves, warm almonds or crumbled lavender; and the bathroom aromas of sandalwood or woody bergamot and black pepper soap, perfect for alleviating the perennial aches and pains of Uma’s story. The author massages our senses with relatability, making this book so special, so real.


“Keep changing. You just become more who you really are.”

Petals and Stones carries with it an ache so deep that you disappear into it, pining for moments lost, yearning to hear things unsaid. This book explores grief, teenage friendship that lasts a lifetime, and how change is necessary for any of us to find our place in the world. Journey with Uma as she learns that life is about being brave enough to walk through trees, silent as ghosts, to the view beyond.