Books by Laura Chester

Excerpt from STORY OF THE LAKE

Because I was the oldest granddaughter, I had certain unspoken privileges -- my grandmother took me into her confidence and told me the stories of the lake. But sometimes it was even better when we were very quiet, when she would do her work and I'd do mine. I didn't have to ask her to unlock the middle drawer of her desk or to remove the flat leather box. She simply handed it to me without admonishment, and I carried it over to the rose colored love seat, then pressed the brass button that opened it up.

The box was lined with a dark purple velvet, and the seven precious gems were each sunk into place. Gazing at the glitter of the gems all together put me in another world, as if an essence had been released and I was under its spell, as if I could hear the planets revolving, each one on a different note in the cosmos, like the sound of our glasses filled with water -- rubbing round the rim, making the crystal sing out at each level.

I took up each gemstone and held it to the light, entranced by the individual color and cut -- amethyst, citrine, garnet, alexandrite. My grandmother taught me their names, just as she taught me each leaf as we rode -- black oak, elm, maple and poplar. I liked the splashy aquamarine best, then the tourmaline and smoky topaz. Holding each one I felt a different sense of mystery, and sometimes when I dared hold all the gemstones together, listening to the sound of her pen as she wrote, I became as quiet as if we were in church.