Romantic Fiction, Reality Shaping and The Work

Lys

Jedi
Balogh has quite a repertoire. Each set/series has a theme and an atmosphere of its own. One book of hers that was just shocking and horribly grim in the events described was "The Secret Pearl." I don't think it's part of a series, but it sure laid out the tragic aspects of life in a bald way and I was a bit surprised by that.
I finished "The Secret Pearl" last night, as I really like Balogh style and as Amazon never stopped showing this title to me, I was happy for it to be put in the list.
I didn't recognize Balogh first, it was a really harsh beginning that struck me.

I read this book some time ago, it was very painful, I put the book aside a few times, I didn't want to read it any more, but I got over it and finished. Emotional rollercoster, fear and anxiety and relief at the end, I couldn't wait for the end and a happy ending.
I couldn't say better, a stressful one until the end.
Furthermore, I still didn't read other authors but Balogh is very good at making you believe that it can't finish well even when you know that it is happy ending books!
 

Turgon

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The way I understand this is we will be come instantly aware of our total existence including our hidden demons. This confrontation with our ugly dark-self can be too terrifying if not prepared for it. I cannot say I am ready, I only hope I have done enough work to come through this event sane and stable.
You're not alone in this, primeaddict. All of us have our personal demons and regrets, things we wish we could've done differently and things about ourselves we have to come face-to-face with and that seem grotesque and would rather not see. But everyday is a chance to make different choices, to strive to be someone more than the sum of our faults and weaknesses, to feed the 'bigger' part of ourselves that can contain and see the the totality of our existence for what it is, a learning lessson, and not to wallow or be swallowed up by it. But rather forge new paths for ourselves and live a life that's worth living despite the ugliness and in alignment with a purpose, meaning, a love for the universe, other people and ourselves. Once you figure out how to do that, let me know how! ;-D

Here are some quotes from a few of the Mary Balogh novels I've read that hopefully gives you encouragement and food for thought to help you work your way through this. But also, remember not to anticipate the future and this watershed 'moment' too much. It's all a process and instead, focus on what's in front of you and do all you can today.

"Can experience and suffering not be used to enrich one's life rather than deaden or impoverish it? He asked."

"No time is really wasted unless one never learns the lessons it offers."

"Perhaps in recognizing how one ought not to live, one can learn how to live."

"We are made up of everything we have ever been, Percy. It is the joy and the pain of our individuality. There are now two of us the same."

"They all had burdens they would carry for the rest of their lives even though they had learned to live with them and even find happiness again."

"One can accept and move forward, trying to keep ones new life as similar to the old as it can possibly be. One can deny reality and carry on regardless. One can hide away and close one's mind to what has happened. Or one can step out and explore the new reality, try to make sense of it, try to begin life again almost as thought one had been newly born."

"The loneliness, the sense of abandonment, the feeling of worthlessness, the total absence of roots... But it was not the time to think of any of that. It was never time. Such thoughts only spiraled downward into darkness. One had to deal with reality in one's everyday life and find daily blessings for which to be thankful."

"It feels a bit shameful to be suffering, does it not? As though one must have done something to deserve it. Or as if one were admitting to some weakness of character at being unable to shake it off the hurt. But hiding it, one can turn to marble with nothing but hollowness inside - an unacknowledged pain."

"We have a habit, do we not, of thinking happiness is a future state if only this and that condition can be met? And so much of life passes us by without our realizing how happy we can be in this present moment, or how nearly happy."
 

Tuatha de Danaan

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
"We have a habit, do we not, of thinking happiness is a future state if only this and that condition can be met? And so much of life passes us by without our realizing how happy we can be in this present moment, or how nearly happy."

Thank you Turgon, The above quote is so relevant, I think, to all of us. I've spent most of my formative years thinking this and that's the wishful thinking hidden in plain sight. So much time and emotions wasted.
 

primeaddict

Jedi Master
FOTCM Member
This reading project has been surprisingly effective at revealing the hidden aspects of my life as it also seems to be doing for others.

After further contemplation of my anxiety due to my reactions to ‘happy-ever-afters’ I suddenly remembered my teenage summer job. I worked for food processing company on the wastewater disposal crew. The wastewater was pumped from the factory to lagoon about a mile out of town. The wastewater was first filtered through fine mesh screens in receiving pits. Then the filtered water was pumped out onto 300+/- acres of land using irrigation sprayers.

About once a month we had to drain the receiving pits to scoop out the thick muck that would accumulate on the bottom. This muck would bubble up in very large chunks and clog the filters. Going down into these pits and scooping this foul-smelling black slime was a dreaded part of the job. The foul-smell would seep through my pores and left a disgusting taste in my mouth for the day.

Now I finally understand that this is a perfect metaphor for what I perceive is an impending task that I must tackle. Knowing this, has reduced the anxiety, since I was able to deal with it before and I am sure I can deal with it again. It is only a matter of patiently scooping.
The Pile.jpg
 

Gabriela

Padawan Learner
T
Hello Gabriela, I think there is a list somewhere in this thread of different books and authors.
Sorry but if it is not your case, ignore my comment, but if you also read in Spanish and you can't have the service kindle, if you look for the authors online "libros pdf de.... "or search for the title of the novel there are several blogs or websites that you can download the book in (Spanish) pdf (may contain some spelling errors, but in general they are quite good), I attach for the moment these 2 titles that I have from the same author Jennifer Ashley, I found much more, but I think it would be complicated to attach all.
Thank you! Yes I read in spanish and that one I downloaded from one of your posts in this thread (if I remember correctly) but then I was looking for paper format and only found Mary Balogh’s ones. I’ll download the rest of Jennifer Ashley for sure, thank you Jess!
 

Gawan

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Thank you, Laura, for opening the topic and suggesting another joyful and wonderful project. I really do love to read these books since they are very emotional and have always a happy ending. :flowers: And they have somehow a healing effect as well.

I did a look up of some German books of the recommended book list created by @seek10 (thank you for that). So far, I got till Jennifer Ashley and did Mary Balogh as well. Though the translated titles often have totally different meanings than the original and I tried to check the copyright notice - when available - to see the original title and added then the German book title to the list.

 

hlat

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
I abruptly stopped reading The Undercover Duke (book 6 Jess Michaels' 1797 Club) because: I didn't like the suggestion of anal sex; and The Perfect Stranger (book 3 Anne Gracie's Merridew Sisters) is now available on audiobook. I really am enjoying the Merridew Sisters series. Gracie seems to always have murder, rape, or kidnapping in her books, so it's definitely not all pleasure and sunshine, but instead the greatest danger and deep pain.
 

Laura

Administrator
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I abruptly stopped reading The Undercover Duke (book 6 Jess Michaels' 1797 Club) because: I didn't like the suggestion of anal sex; and The Perfect Stranger (book 3 Anne Gracie's Merridew Sisters) is now available on audiobook. I really am enjoying the Merridew Sisters series. Gracie seems to always have murder, rape, or kidnapping in her books, so it's definitely not all pleasure and sunshine, but instead the greatest danger and deep pain.

I agree with your reason for stopping "Undercover Duke", but I think if you had finished the book you might have discovered that the elements of his troubled depravity crumbled away in the face of love.
 

Michal

Jedi Council Member
FOTCM Member
Hi,
Could You help me a bit here?
I am looking for story about a man who do not understand woman. Who had a lot of illusions about relationship, women, also about being a man. Something about a jerk who does not listen to anyone and reality hits his head until he finally (hopefuly) sees possibility of love.
... what else... maybe also a story about marriage of convenience and about fears of both husband and wife?
Have You noticed a story with such features?
I would be grateful if You could help me find a stories like that.
 

Tuatha de Danaan

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Hi Michal. You've got a few good questions there but I don't think it's possible, really, to single out specific books for specific issues. Through reading the books Laura recommended all the problems you wish to address are mixed into all the books in multiple settings and characters.

Slowly reading through a selection will show different aspects of emotional and physical stumbling blocks we have all met along the way in our lives and relationships. This is the way it's working for me anyway and as we are all so different and in many ways the same it's better that these realisations come to us slowly, rather that in one fell-swoop, making it easier for us to process consciously or unconsciously.
 

Alana

SuperModerator
Moderator
FOTCM Member
I am looking for story about a man who do not understand woman.

Who does? Sometimes we don't even understand ourselves.

Who had a lot of illusions about relationship, women, also about being a man.
Who doesn't? Of both sexes.

Something about a jerk who does not listen to anyone and reality hits his head until he finally (hopefuly) sees possibility of love.
... what else... maybe also a story about marriage of convenience and about fears of both husband and wife?
Have You noticed a story with such features?
I would be grateful if You could help me find a stories like that.

Well, you are in the right place. Welcome to our reading club! :wizard:

I think most of the books on the list have aspects of everything you require, Michal, so I had a chuckle when I read your request. No matter where you start from, you will find what you need. And then read as much as you can, the "magic" happens in reading lots and a variety of these books, I think. It is a process, bringing you little by little face to face with your own self, your own emotions, understanding the behaviors and emotions of others, teaching you ways to relate to other people especially in a romantic/marriage relationship, that you perhaps might not have thought about before. But I advise going into it with no expectations, as in, "this is the list of things I want to get out of these books" mindset. Just read, and allow whatever it is to manifest.

If you want a recommendation of "where to start", maybe the 10-book long 1797 Club? There are 10 different dukes, 10 different stories involving friends and families, and a lot of possible scenarios of how things can go wrong, as well as how things can go right, based on decisions made and actions taken. This is my personal recommendation though, others might have something else to add.
 

Mari

Dagobah Resident
I abruptly stopped reading The Undercover Duke (book 6 Jess Michaels' 1797 Club) because: I didn't like the suggestion of anal sex;
I don’t remember reading anything about that.
I might also missunderstand the reference or how it was described in the book.

Anyway, I find that particular book one of the best in the series (I beleive I wrote about the series already) and the series in general is really good and each book deals with a different personality and different problems.

🙂
 

Yas

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Could You help me a bit here?

I agree with the others that you might probably find those topics in many of these books if not all of them.

I would recommend the Marriage of Convenience series by Anne Gracie because it also covers the story of a few different characters with some o the topics you mention. And Dancing with Clara by Mary Balogh would also be a good option.

Again, I can only recommend those because I've read them and there are so many which I haven't yet, so I don't really have too many options to choose from.
 
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