Shameless About A Few Of My Favorite Things

Posted on March 8, 2010. Filed under: Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Romance | Tags: , , , , , , , |

I have a wee bit of news before I get into the meat of my post for the day.

First, I have to thank Stacy of The Cat’s Meow for sending me Alice I Have Been. I follow Stacy’s blog, and through that, I won a copy of this book by Melanie Benjamin. Benjamin’s debut novel tells the story of Alice Liddell Hargreaves, the inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s book Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland. Carroll was a pseudonym for Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, and he shows up as a character in Benjamin’s book. Ironically enough, Melanie Benjamin is also a pseudonym for author Melanie Hauser, who has written two contemporary novels.

Because I’ve never actually read Carroll’s classic, I went out and bought it today. So now I own my own copy of Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass. I plan to begin reading it tonight.

That said, I finished reading Kathy Tyers’ Crown of Fire tonight, so I’m officially done with that particular series. It’s lovely and well done, but I believe I’ve had my fill of sci-fi for a while. Although I have learned that I tend to increase my book list by two books for each book I finish reading. That, of course, means I won’t be finishing my book list anytime soon. I believe it’s numbering upwards of 40 books now. Granted, I’ve read some, but still–it’s a little excessive to have that many books piled up against the wall of your bedroom.

All right, onto something more interesting!

A Few Of My Favorite Things:

I’m a romance fan. I have been ever since I read my first romance novel back in middle school. Not that I was really emotionally ready for an actual romance novel back then, but my hormones being what they were, I felt like I could take on the world. So I ditched my childish stories that wouldn’t even classify as YA or teen novels in today’s bookstores and began searching for something more along my reading level.

I found Lori Wick. To elaborate, I was searching through my church’s library for some new material because the church library doubled as a school library for the private Christian academy I attended. I’m pretty sure I was supposed to be writing a book report (those were the days!) on a book of my choice, so I began looking through the library for something interesting to read. It might have been seventh or eighth grade, but I was attracted to the adult books.

The book I picked was a standalone book of Wick’s titled The Princess, a heartwarming tale of a couple set in a country very much like the United States or England but very much a made-up country. Let me clarify that by saying that this was not anything like sci-fi or fantasy. Wick just chose to create her own country that could have been an island nation set off from the Western United States. In fact, her character mentions visiting New York on a school trip, so perhaps it’s set to the east. Either way, it’s a ‘what-if’ type of story.

Pendaran is a humble kingdom where the prince or princess is required to marry before he or she can assume the throne. There is, of course, a cut-off date for marriage; in this particular story, Prince Nikolai is a widower, having lost his wife two years after marrying her. He mourns her several years after her death.

Unfortunately for Nikolai, the time is rapidly approaching for the fated birthday by which he must be married. Unwilling to go searching for a princess of his own, Nikolai entrusts the task of finding a suitable woman to his parents. They make a request of a good friend to send out feelers among his own web of friends, and lo and behold, they find Shelby Parker.

The daughter of a deaf father and a very capable mother, Shelby knows sign language and regularly translates for her father, who gives motivational speeches about disabilities. Shelby has one brother who is in college, graduated with a nursing degree, leads a ladies’ Bible study, and is an all-around sweetheart.

Running out of time and unable to pursue the topic under any normal circumstances, the king and queen make a decision to approach Shelby directly. After a bit of time and a few letters pass between Shelby and Nikolai, Shelby decides to accept this unusual proposal of marriage. In a very quiet ceremony, the two wed, and Shelby begins a totally new life as princess of Pendaran.

Meanwhile Nikolai, overwhelmed by his grief and the newness of another woman, retreats in the only way he knows how: by making himself unavailable and taking on added appointments to his already busy schedule. The result? A comic moment in the kitchen of the couple’s suite in the palace a few weeks after their marriage.

When he doesn’t even recognize his own wife dining in the kitchen, Nikolai realizes his own grief has driven him too far from someone he should be making an effort with. Thus, he begins attempting to court his lovely, red-headed wife, whose innocence is both touching and refreshing.

I won’t spoil the rest of the story, but Shelby and Nikolai suffer their fair share of heartache and tragedy before realizing that love can transcend loss and lack of trust.

After having read quite a few romances in my day, I’ll admit it’s the picture-perfect formulaic romance. It follows the regular pattern from a Christian point of view, but it was the first romance novel I ever read, and as such, I have a certain fondness for the book. I’ve read it multiple times over the years, and I’ll probably read it again.

Perhaps it’s the fact that I know this is the happy ending story, but I usually pick up The Princess when I’m feeling a little down and don’t want to read anything new. I crave the comfort of an old friend, and this is, indeed, an old friend.

What about you? Do you have any old friend books you return to time and time again for comfort or escape? Does it change depending on your mood? I know mine certainly does. Let me know what you think. And, of course, I don’t mind if you disagree with me on The Princess; it is, after all, targeted to a rather limited audience!


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7 Responses to “Shameless About A Few Of My Favorite Things”

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I actually read this post last night, before I went to bed. And in a strange coincidence it actually reminded me of my own story. But instead of the conflict being between time, age, and marriage. My story is about time, age, and death.

Honestly, I can’t say I’ve ever read a romance novel, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t wanted to. The book I’m writing now has an intesne love arc between three characters all caught in a knotted predicament.

My ideal romance novel would be similar to Wick’s where two people have to learn to love, because what it means for each of them is completely different.

Oooh, I like that! Your story sounds interesting. Time, age, and death, eh? That’s always a fun theme to work out, and it’s always intriguing to read different authors’ perspectives on it.

And I do like your last comment. “What it means for each of them is completely different” – you see that a lot in romance novels, but in my opinion, that theme isn’t played out very well in most of them. It takes a very good writer to make it believable that love truly does look different to two different people because most romance writers subscribe to the theory that “love is universal” and thus their characters end up reflecting this in some way or another. But it’s true: what makes me feel loved doesn’t necessarily make someone else feel loved – that’s why there’s a whole book series digging into the concepts of love languages and why C.S. Lewis wrote a book titled The Four Loves.

Anyway, just my two cents. 🙂

Thank you for the suggestions, I have all of C.S. Lewis’ Narnia collection, so he’s definitely s good recommendation.

I was describing the story for my manuscript in ABNA. Fig, my main character, will only live for 27 days. He’s an insect, and like most creepy crawlers, he will live a short life. It’s distressing to him.

In the manuscript I’m working with now, The Cartoonist (working title), There are three characters who are so wrapped up with circumstances, they don’t know how to talk honestly with each other.

Oh, don’t worry Rae. I’ll take your two cents anytime. Really, I’ll take all the change you have…



I’m definitely not so much of a romantic. I liked The Princess so-so, Lori Wick is nice but just not my favorite.

This is going to sound kiddy, but if there’s a book I go back to more than any other it’s Into the Land of the Unicorns. And I can’t remember the author off the top of my head now, but it’s a book I’ve read so many times. And even though I’m no longer in the target audience, I still enjoy it. 😀

Haha – like I said, I know Wick’s writing isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. And I’m pretty sure I already knew you weren’t too enthused by it! LOL.

I’ve never heard of that book. What’s it about? And who cares if you’re not the target audience? 😛 Everyone knows audiences shift. (It’s kind of like Twilight in a way! Look how many “Twihards” are moms and older women!)

Well… that’s quiet interessting but honestly i have a hard time seeing it… wonder how others think about this..

What do you mean? I’m a bit confused by your comment.

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