Romantic Fiction, Reality Shaping and The Work

PERLOU

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
J'ai terminé hier soir "la Première Valse" d'Anne Gracie - Série "Les Soeurs Merridew" Tome 2
Il m'a beaucoup plu aussi, il faut dire que ces soeurs sont très attachantes et leurs aventures très intéressantes...
Les sourires et les larmes apparaissent souvent...
Je suis déjà à la moitié du tome 3 de la même série qui est tout aussi passionnant et tous toujours très différents...
Il ne me reste qu'un seul livre d'avance et j'ai peur d'être en manque...
J'ai l'impression que ces romans sont comme une drogue et me détourne complètement de la vie réelle, ce qui est merveilleux...

I finished last night "The First Waltz" by Anne Gracie - "The Merridew Sisters" series Volume 2
I really enjoyed it too, I must say that these sisters are very endearing and their adventures very interesting...
Smiles and tears often appear...
I am already halfway through volume 3 of the same series which is just as exciting and all still very different...
I only have one book left and I'm afraid I'm running out...
I feel like these novels are like a drug and take me away from real life, which is wonderful...

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)
 

Don Cesar

Jedi Master
I have a small request ... Can someone recommend some books to read in French? I saw that there was a list of books in French but I can't decide which ones (difficult to make a link with the books discussed in English and the titles in French) ... Follow some reading tips. If possible not a saga, books with a beginning and an end. Thank you in advance for your advice to get me started as soon as possible ... 😉
 

PERLOU

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Sur cette page Don Cesar vous avez les titres en Français dans la colonne H
Dans la colonne A le nom des auteurs
Dans la colonne B les Séries
Cependant dans les séries même si se sont des suites chaque livre a un début et une fin et peut être lu seul
Je vous recommanderai de prendre le premier livre d'une série et si l'histoire vous plait vous pourrez la continuer
Par exemple les Soeurs Merridew d'Anne Gracie commencez par le tome 1 et voyez d'après votre ressenti...
Bonne Lecture...


On this page Don Cesar you have the titles in French in column H
In column A the name of the authors
In column B the series
However in the series even if they are sequels each book has a beginning and an end and can be read alone
I would recommend you to take the first book of a series and if you like the story you can continue it
For example the Merridew Sisters by Anne Gracie start with volume 1 and see how you feel...
Enjoy your reading...

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)
 

PERLOU

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Don Cesar je vous donne aussi le lien de MOMOX qui fait des livres d'occasion, je les achète chez lui :

Don Cesar I also give you the link of MOMOX which makes second hand books, I buy them from him :
 

JeanneT

Jedi
FOTCM Member
J'ai terminé hier soir "la Première Valse" d'Anne Gracie - Série "Les Soeurs Merridew" Tome 2
Il m'a beaucoup plu aussi, il faut dire que ces soeurs sont très attachantes et leurs aventures très intéressantes...
Les sourires et les larmes apparaissent souvent...
Je suis déjà à la moitié du tome 3 de la même série qui est tout aussi passionnant et tous toujours très différents...
Il ne me reste qu'un seul livre d'avance et j'ai peur d'être en manque...
J'ai l'impression que ces romans sont comme une drogue et me détourne complètement de la vie réelle, ce qui est merveilleux...

I finished last night "The First Waltz" by Anne Gracie - "The Merridew Sisters" series Volume 2
I really enjoyed it too, I must say that these sisters are very endearing and their adventures very interesting...
Smiles and tears often appear...
I am already halfway through volume 3 of the same series which is just as exciting and all still very different...
I only have one book left and I'm afraid I'm running out...
I feel like these novels are like a drug and take me away from real life, which is wonderful...

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)
Yes, PERLOU, I also really enjoyed this volume by Anne Gracie and is my favorite so far. I think it is because unlike some of the stories I have read, it brings us a bit out of the realm of the mainly privileged group and their challenges of wealth, legitimate social ranking and feminine suppression and introduces another type of conflict as well. It was heartbreaking to be reminded through story of the stark reality of the times where children were betrayed, lost, abandoned or abused with no recourse but to put on the armor and develop coping mechanisms in order to survive. This goes on today as well, which I witnessed first hand during my days as a social worker. In that case, despite the attempts of the system to intervene with all kinds of money and support, there is rarely a happy ending as in the novels we read. However, I love the happy endings and it helps to heal some of the trauma we live through not only in our own lives but vicariously through the characters.
 

loreta

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Some are probably prepared for their particular mission. If one takes the example of Mary Balogh, her biography reads, as if her work as a writer was well set from childhood. She lives by the way in Saskatchewan, during winter in the city of Regina (also the Latin word for queen) which I find rather amusing considering that she is a queen of Regency romance novels.
If you look at the covers of her books, they are beautiful and delicate, like her writing. I love to look at them. I love to read her, also. She is a good writer, yes indeed.

Here are the list of her books and the covers of the books.
 

Laura

Administrator
Administrator
Moderator
FOTCM Member
From Mary Balogh's blog: Blog | Mary Balogh | 35 Time New York Times Bestselling Author

By marybalogh
In Blog
Posted February 12, 2021

THE EMOTIONAL BOND BETWEEN READER AND CHARACTER



A good novel of any genre will almost certainly have a compelling plot. Of greater importance for a romance novel, however, is the development of a relationship between two people, very often from indifference or even hostility through liking and friendship and attraction to falling in love and, ultimately, to the fullness of total and unconditional love itself. For a love story to be truly satisfying, the ending should leave the reader sighing with contentment (and perhaps also with a little sadness that it is over), convinced that these two people share the sort of unbreakable love bond that will last a lifetime and even forever. It should give the satisfaction of happily-ever-after yet the conviction too that these two people are going to have to work on their love every day for the rest of their lives if they are to remain happy.
In order to come to this conviction, the reader has to be drawn into the world of the story and into the minds and hearts and very souls of the two lovers. Readers need to be emotionally engaged in the journey to love of these two, to the degree that in their imagination they almost become these lovers. It is the writer’s job to make all this happen.
But how?
The characters have to seem very real. Whether the hero is tall, dark, handsome and charismatic or something quite different, whether the heroine is charming and beautiful or something else entirely, they must seem like real people with whom the reader can relate and empathize. They cannot simply be cardboard characters with little depth beyond some life history and personality traits the writer has created for them. They must give the illusion of being living, breathing humans with strengths and weaknesses, triumphs and defeats and problems, as full of flaws and contradictions as real people. But no matter what, the reader has to want to root for them in their struggles and must fall in love with them in their vulnerabilities. The reader must passionately want the love story to work and to end happily.
In order to make characters real, the writer has to know them soul deep. It is possible to know a great deal about other people without really knowing them to their very core. Sometimes we do not even fully know ourselves. Do you ever find yourself saying or doing something that takes even you by surprise? Do you really know exactly how you would behave in some unexpected circumstance, a life-or-death emergency for example? When I am writing a story, I find over and over again that I have to stop, go back, find out just who this character is, and rewrite certain episodes because I have learned more about her or him and need to adjust the story accordingly. Certain things I wanted them to do can no longer happen because they are no longer the people I thought they were. And never tell me that as the writer I am in control of who my characters are. Not true!
This deeper knowledge of my characters comes to me, however, only as they speak and think and react to one another in the unfolding story. I find it impossible to know everything in advance. Crafting a whole story never comes easily to me because I am not satisfied until I feel I have the hero and heroine absolutely right. They are rarely willing to give up any of their secrets early or all of them at once. Sometimes, if all else fails and the story (and the romance) is stalling, I end up asking them, often aloud, where their deepest pain lies hidden. There is always something. Once I know that, then I can set about bringing the character healing so that he/she can reach the point of being able to give love and to accept it and settle to a lasting, meaningful love relationship. And this must happen for both main characters. They must both be involved in the revelations and the healing. They must somehow help bring each other to completeness and love and ultimate happiness.
Merely knowing the characters as they are at the start is not enough, then. There has to be growth in the author’s understanding of them, and there has to be growth in the characters if the reader is going to invest time and emotion in their story. This is not necessarily true of all genres of fiction. In some, very little emotional involvement with the main characters is necessary. But it is essential in a love story. If the hero, for example, is gorgeous and sexy and does nothing but macho things throughout the story—well, the reader might enjoy reading about him but there will be little emotional empathy with him. There can be very little conviction that he will be capable of a lifelong love commitment.
One way to delve deep into heroes and heroines and pull the reader in emotionally is through a careful use of point of view. Point of view is the eyes and mind through which a particular episode of the story is being told. It is possible to narrate the whole story in the first person, told by one of the lovers, though in that case the events can be experienced only through the mind and emotions of that one character (just as happens in our own lives). Or the whole story can be told by the author as narrator. She can tell the reader what happens and what her characters are thinking and feeling. I prefer to use what I call third person deep interior point of view. I alternate between the hero and heroine, telling one episode from his point of view and another from hers. The reader gets to experience the story through the minds and hearts and viewpoints of both main characters, but not at the same time. If you think about it, everything that happens in our lives has an emotional component. We are the ones who experience everything that happens to us and in the world around us, and everything that happens is colored by our own character and values and experiences and emotions. Especially our emotions. Very little happens to us that does not carry some emotion with it. The aim of the writer should be to duplicate this reality with fictional characters. They must come across as living, emotional beings as they experience the events of the plot. If their story is told from deep within them, then the reader will be there too, experiencing everything with them and feeling what they feel—living and loving with them.
Creating this emotional connection of writer, character, and reader is one of the greatest challenges in the writing of a love story. It is also, I believe, the key to its success—or failure. The author must be able to make the reader laugh with the characters and cry with them and feel the whole gamut of human emotions with them—and fall in love with them, as individuals and as a couple. The best and most memorable of love stories ought to be for everyone—not just the two fictional characters experiencing them, but also every reader living them vicariously with the lovers. It is the writer’s job to make sure this happens.
 

Adaryn

The Living Force
If you look at the covers of her books, they are beautiful and delicate, like her writing. I love to look at them. I love to read her, also. She is a good writer, yes indeed.

Here are the list of her books and the covers of the books.
I agree with you loreta. I love Balogh's book covers, they're classy in an old-fashioned kind of way, elegant and romantic. Not tacky or cheap at all!
 

Don Cesar

Jedi Master
Sur cette page Don Cesar vous avez les titres en Français dans la colonne H
Dans la colonne A le nom des auteurs
Dans la colonne B les Séries
Cependant dans les séries même si se sont des suites chaque livre a un début et une fin et peut être lu seul
Je vous recommanderai de prendre le premier livre d'une série et si l'histoire vous plait vous pourrez la continuer
Par exemple les Soeurs Merridew d'Anne Gracie commencez par le tome 1 et voyez d'après votre ressenti...
Bonne Lecture...


On this page Don Cesar you have the titles in French in column H
In column A the name of the authors
In column B the series
However in the series even if they are sequels each book has a beginning and an end and can be read alone
I would recommend you to take the first book of a series and if you like the story you can continue it
For example the Merridew Sisters by Anne Gracie start with volume 1 and see how you feel...
Enjoy your reading...

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)
A big thank you PERLOU, this will serve me as a starting point.👍
 

herondancer

SuperModerator
Moderator
FOTCM Member
They are rarely willing to give up any of their secrets early or all of them at once. Sometimes, if all else fails and the story (and the romance) is stalling, I end up asking them, often aloud, where their deepest pain lies hidden. There is always something. Once I know that, then I can set about bringing the character healing so that he/she can reach the point of being able to give love and to accept it and settle to a lasting, meaningful love relationship.

How lovely. Balogh gives a sweet example of this is her introduction to the novella 'Someone to Remember' which comes between the sixth and seventh instalment of the 'Someone' series. Throughout most of the books Lady Matilda was not exactly a stock figure of the fussy maiden aunt, but certainly in the background of the goings on. Then one day, Lady Matilda made it clear she had her own story to be told and Balogh obliged. It was lovely, and in perfect accord with everything that had come before. One of my favourites!
 

3DStudent

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
I'm a few pages behind, but I just finished The Perfect Waltz by Anne Gracie. It was the best book so far of the 15 or so I've listened to. I usually listen during breakfast and dinner and while cleaning up, and I'd miss it when I skipped a time slot. In contrast to the Marriage of Convenience series, it seemed the family did not take a major role in this one and that you could have jumped right into this second book. Maybe there's more family tie-in in the third and fourth books.

Hoopla lets you rate the books, and I gave this one 5 stars. I didn't relate to anything in particular, it just seemed like a nice and gentle unfolding story. Maybe something is going on in the background and it gets processed in dreams, which I've had a lot of an in varying flavors. It could be that it was a stressful last two weeks as well. It also seemed there were a lot of normal moments where the characters did every day things that helps to feel how life was back then, or maybe my mental library of the period is just getting better.

I find most helpful when people post in this thread generally how the books are giving them insights into their lives, and not so much a book review. Well, I don't really have any such insights (yet), but maybe some general themes might be helpful. I don't think it's a spoiler if I don't mention which characters they apply to, but what I found were themes of:

Regret, self-image, abandonment, childhood trauma and one's upbringing.
 

Redrock12

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
I agree with your spoiler :-D

I thought Perry took the principle of Free Will a bit too far here, tending towards the extreme end of the spectrum (possessiveness and wanting to impose one's will on someone on one end, VS letting someone completely free to choose whatever they want to do, without interfering in any way, on the other end).

They were married and made a vow of commitment, and promised to support and help one another, after all.

Within a marriage, self-effacement and just "letting the other be" are not particularly appealing or healthy.

Of course it's a fine line to walk. But I think Perry could have opened up about his feelings, while assuring Grace that she was free to choose between Gareth and him.

He could have said something like this:

"I know that you loved him in the past and his return has sent you in a turmoil. I would be lying if I said I'm not affected by it and that I am not afraid of losing you. I've grown to love you, and want you to stay. But I won't force you to. I want you to be free to make your own choice. If you choose to leave, I'll be hurt. But know that my heart will be far more broken if you choose to stay out of duty, or pity, or because you think you're "doing the right thing", while your heart is "not in it", and is with him (whatever I think about the guy). I want you to stay because you want it, because your heart is with me. Not for any other reason."

Or something along those lines. But yeah, trial and error :-)

It kind of echoes what Alex tells Edmund at the end of Gilded Web, when she tries to make him understand something that should be essential in any committed relationship.

It's not really 'love' to just tell your partner that they're totally free to make their own choices, as if you were not involved, as if you were not part of the equation, so to say. To your partner, the image you give is that of someone who just doesn't care, who just doesn't need you. It can even appear condescending, impersonal ("I love you so unconditionally that I actually don't need you. You can go, you can stay, that's fine by me"). Free will and saying to someone you only want their happiness is great, but what if what the other needs is actually for you to need them, for you to open up? How is that supposed to work, then, in terms of "unconditional love"?

Balogh really nails it here (Alex's heartfelt speech in Gilded Web):

"Alex: Tell me about you, Edmund. How do you feel about all this? How do you feel about last night? Will you be happy? Do you have any regrets?

Edmund: I have grown fond of you, Alex. and I do not need to tell you how I felt about last night. I want you to be happy. If you are happy in what we have decided, then I am content. No regrets, dear.

Alex: No, she said. That is not good enough, Edmund. I do not want to know how you think you should feel, or what you think you should do. You have given me so much, Edmund. You have always been so selfless. But you have never given me yourself. Your body, yes. But not you. I don't know you at all.

– You are the important one here. I have had a happy life, Alex and have been abundantly blessed. You have not. And if I can do one small thing to make you happy, then I will do it willingly. I have done it. I have set you free. It is what you wish, is it not?

Show me you are vulnerable. Show me one sign, Edmund. Are you hurt in any way? Even in the smallest way? Have I hurt you at all? Show me one chink in the armor. Show me that you are not all saint. Show me that you are a man who can feel and suffer. Please.

I thought that was freedom that I wanted until I had it and realized that that was not it at all. What I wanted, Edmund, what I always wanted, is to be needed. I have always been cared for and trained and disciplined by Mama and Papa. I have been loved and protected by James. And I have been sheltered and treated with incredible kindness and courtesy by you and your family. But I have never been needed. Feelings have always come to me from others. No one has ever seemed to need my feelings to flow back again. No one has ever really needed to be loved by me.

– I need you. My God Alex, I need you."

Balogh at her best!
Heavy, gut-wrenching, and brutally honest.
Yeah, MB hits another homerun.
 

Alejo

Ambassador
Ambassador
FOTCM Member
For general interest:



Thanks a lot for sharing Laura,

I must admit that as I dive through the stories, one of the most enjoyable parts have been those of dancing and there might be my own bias, I have always enjoyed dancing, it always feels so joyful and meditative, so relaxed yet effortful. And I can completely understand why it seems so crucial in the stories I have gone through so far, it seems like so much can be spoken through it, through the descriptions of what the characters feel and sense with their partner, what their dancing partner inspires in them as they engage in dance.

it's as if, the act of engaging in a conscious and purposeful coordinated act to a rhythm, that not only requires freedom of movement (or movement outside the norm of what is necessary to live, if you will ) but also restraint, can show much about your inner world.

On another note, I just reviewed the Romance Novel spread sheet, and I saw it mentioned earlier in the thread, but I did not see the Bedwyn Saga from Mary Balogh in the list, although I am working my way through it, is there a reason or was it perhaps simply missed? Either way, I am enjoying meeting the Bedwyns :)
 
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