Romantic Fiction, Reality Shaping and The Work

Dakota

Dagobah Resident
FOTCM Member
My first read was The perfect waltz by Anne Gracie. I started to read this book shortly after I found out about 'Love Bite' so I was pretty angry when I read about interaction between Sebastian and Hope. It was encounter from dreams. True Love. Shivering. Eye contact. His big muscles. Her tiny body. Really? In one point he even save her from the villain.

So, I was reading and in the same time thinking "this is ridiculous and I really didn't see the point". But...since this is recommendation from Forum that came to me several times I will be persistent and continue to read.

With time and lot of forcing my self to read I realize that reading romantic novel brings calmness. It's kind of escaping from uncertain and hard world in fantasy that is kind of naive and simpler. Also, it's much easier to fall in to sleep reading romantic novel then watching tv or be on computer. But that's it for me, for now, regarding my realizations.

My next reading is The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashley. That recommendation came from our Croatian weekly meeting and it will be interesting if couple of us reading the same books, will see how discussion will develop.

One of the things that I find interesting is my resistance. I can't find the real reason why it's so hard for me to read this novels. Maybe I think that is superficial for me which is ridiculous because this recommendation came from people way off smarter than me. So, I must continue to read this, at least, just to figure out what's bugging me so much.

Another thing, one of my lifetime wish was to find about my past life's. And if this is the way, sound like a really nice and comfortable way to get a hints about it.

Somewhere on the middle of book I experience something weird, ok, maybe it's not that weird, but it is a little bit. While I was reading I started to hear voice of Professor Minerva McGonagall (Maggie Smith) from Harry Potter. It took me some time to realize this. What's up with her? I found her voice in the same time little bit disturbing and calm:umm:. Will see if she will come in the another book. Maybe she prefer The Perfect Waltz:rotfl:.

I have this idea that reading romantic novels could be beneficial for my DID since I still have this division in me (Man&Woman). For surely, one book can't be example how this could be helpful but since I think that I made this division (among the rest of things) because of illusion and fantasy maybe this good examples of interaction between men and women could move something in my mindset. It's truly an experiment.

I hope I will bring something more interesting with reading a series of Mackenzie.
 

seeker2seer

Jedi
FOTCM Member
I recently finished reading The Gilded Web by Mary Balogh. My strongest emotional reaction from the book was my growing disgust and dislike of Alexandra's father, Lord Beckworth. His self-righteous and pious attitude along with his use of religion as punishment really rubbed me the wrong way. Sending Alexandra to her room to pray on her knees and reading the Bible for hours and sometimes days for her disobedience in order to "save her soul" because he believed it was his duty to save her soul demonstrated his fundamentalist and intolerant personality. I could see him participating in a Puritan witch hunt and trial or as an inquisitor during the Inquisition.

He reminded me of the fire and brimstone preachers I heard growing up who thought it was their and their follower's duty to save the souls of the wretched sinners around them. That is probably why I had such a strong emotional reaction to this character. Perhaps in a past life I was in a similar situation as Alexandra, whop suffered under someone like him or possibly even could have been someone like him? Either way, I can't stand to see religion or spiritual teachings misused to cause trauma and harm people's lives but that often is the case in this STS world.
 

Adaryn

The Living Force
One could also say that one person could be "addicted" to another, and I was wondering about that while reading the story of Madeline and James. This borderline-like "I love you, I hate you" dramatic relationship, can make one wonder how healthy it is and if the foundations of it are any deeper than mere addiction to the drama their interactions created. But if that was the case, and the fact that they were away from each other for years, during that time they could have found another "object of drama and addiction" and that would be it.

I guess for their situation, it was clear that they would have been part of each other no matter what. They would have never been happy without each other. They could have married others and tried to create a new life and a different family with them, but the knowledge of the existence of James for Madeleine and the existence of Madeleine for James in the world, wouldn't have allowed them to feel happy and completed, ever, I think. The kind of people they are and how they felt about each other, the intensity of emotions (negative and positive), the awareness of the presence of each other even without actually looking towards one another, it was so intense that even if they prayed and wished and hoped they would just forget the other, it could never work. And they did pray and wish and hope and tried to get involved with other people, with no success. So I think that they were simply made for each other and they "just" had to overcome their very strong internal monologues to be able to realize it.
I agree, and one needs to look at both characters' profiles/core personalities to determine which is which (addiction to drama and there's nothing there VS something real they need to get to the bottom of in order to find out the truth and grow). If it had been a recurring pattern for both of them, or even just one of them, they (either Mad or James or both) would have moved on to someone else quickly enough, I think. That would have pointed out to possible pathology or more serious issues that are common in real life but not what those books are about.
Balogh (and other authors in the reading list) mostly deal with heroes and heroines who are psychologically healthy at the core even if their previous trauma, past wounds and programming make some of them act pathologically. But as we can read into their mind, we can see that their thoughts are basically "normal" – "common" neurosis, normal hang-ups, fears of revealing yourself, of rejection and so on.
In the case of Mad, she acted totally out of character (compared to how she behaved with other potential suitors) with James, which pointed out that there was something deeper there. James also acted out of character with her, compared to how he behaved with other romantic "interests", like Jean, or even Dora when he was younger. So yeah, all the pain and suffering were worth it in the end. But they couldn't know that beforehand, they had to make a choice - which was not a light one - based on nothing more than a "compulsion" to get to the bottom of it all, and it certainly wasn't a walk in the park.
 

genero81

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FOTCM Member
So I'm looking to buy entire series at a time. I was looking for the Dell Historical series from Balogh when I came across a five book series on ebay from Balogh, the 'Dark Angel' series for $19.95. Do we have any experience with that series? Can we assume that anything from Balogh is a safe bet at this point?
 

Mariama

Ambassador
Ambassador
FOTCM Member
After finishing Anne Gracie's Merridew series which I quite enjoyed, I've started on Elisa Braden's Rescued from Ruin series. So far I like her stye of writing, I am still trying to find something that really moves me, but as has been said previously by Laura and in the session, it seems to be a cumulative effect, so time to up the ante a bit and get a few more under my belt.
I recently started Elisa Braden's Rescued From Ruin Series after reading the prequel Forever Yours Annabelle which I thought was really moving and I very much like her style of writing. She can be very funny! There is this sour post-menopausal woman who is actually pretty insightful and at times hilarious and I love that about these series. I hope to read more about her as there must be more to her than meets the eye.

I cried a few tears while reading Desperately Seeking a Scoundrel and am completely taken in by the stories about these 'scoundrels' who meet their right match and turn into honourable men. I am currently reading The Devil is a Marquess and I find it hard to put down. But then I have already read quite a few novels...

Even if there is nothing that moves you (yet), just reading these novels can have an impact on an unconscious level and as you said the more you read the more cumulative the effect will be. I have become less judgemental for instance and my respect for the main characters has grown, as they really get over themselves despite the many negative signals and put-downs they get from their beloved and despite their own narratives and wounding. It's very inspiring I think.
 

PERLOU

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
J'ai terminé Le temps de l'Amour - La famille Huxtable de Mary Balogh - 3
J'ai beaucoup apprécié cette histoire avec un rebondissement dans les dernières pages...
Je viens de commencer Le temps du Désir le dernier de la famille Huxtable de Mary Balogh - 4
Ce livre est le 18ème que je lis...
Toutes ces histoires comblent mon coeur de midinette que je n'ai jamais cessé d'être...

I finished The Time of Love - The Huxtable Family by Mary Balogh - 3
I really enjoyed this story with a twist in the last few pages...
I just started Time of Desire the last of the Huxtable family by Mary Balogh - 4
This book is the 18th book I have read...
All of these stories satisfy my midget heart that I have never stopped being...
 

Laurs

Jedi Council Member
FOTCM Member
I recently started Elisa Braden's Rescued From Ruin Series after reading the prequel Forever Yours Annabelle which I thought was really moving and I very much like her style of writing.
I am currently reading the exact same series, just finished The Truth about Cads and Dukes. I enjoy them so much and her descriptions of what's going on in the minds of her main characters and their development to happiness. And the 'running gag' of The Dowager Marchioness of Wallingham indeed is hilarious! Only read 3 books in the series and her role is becoming a bit larger but not developed as of yet. Perhaps in later volumes? In Cads and Dukes it becomes clear that she is a very keen observer and connector of dots, not afraid to apply the mirror-technique and acts as a force for good.

I was deeply touched by the bond between Robert and his grandfather in Forever Yours, Annabelle, really went through something there and I'd like to imagine there must have been a strong pre-incarnational soul bond between them.

And in Cads, i liked the way Jane fully accepted herself, the plain thing going on, her shyness and all that and she is courageous and generous with her love and helping others. The way these people 'see' others and their loved ones and think about their needs and developments etc. How wonderful.
 

Chu

Administrator
Administrator
Moderator
FOTCM Member
I have this idea that reading romantic novels could be beneficial for my DID since I still have this division in me (Man&Woman). For surely, one book can't be example how this could be helpful but since I think that I made this division (among the rest of things) because of illusion and fantasy maybe this good examples of interaction between men and women could move something in my mindset. It's truly an experiment.

That's an interesting idea. I have no clue of how much it may help, but I would assume that you also "made that division" due to trauma, and needing to shut something off. So, awakening certain emotions within a safe environment (i.e. a book, knowing and keeping in mind that each book WILL have a happy ending!) may help along in processing some things even subconsciously. Also the fact that many of these are good role models. But maybe make sure to take it slowly, too? You will know better, I'm sure, but it may be good to pay extra attention if you notice any voices, illusions, etc. popping up. Some of these books can be quite intense. Some may seem superficial, as you put it, but most of them contain gems. And it's the different scenarios and people that grow something of a stronger emotional "muscle", for lack of a better expression. A big FWIW!
 

Laura

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Moderator
FOTCM Member
So I'm looking to buy entire series at a time. I was looking for the Dell Historical series from Balogh when I came across a five book series on ebay from Balogh, the 'Dark Angel' series for $19.95. Do we have any experience with that series? Can we assume that anything from Balogh is a safe bet at this point?

I haven't read all of Balogh, but I think she's a safe bet. Snag it and report back.
 

seek10

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Somewhere I saw the idea of listing the books one has read in a spreadsheet, or alternatively write them down. Like that it is easier to know when one after a year or two is about to read the same novel again.
I made a copy of the Romance novel list in to my local machine EXCEL. This helped to me to keep track of what books I have available, what is read and what to read next etc. Also put when I read, main characters names etc. to cross check if needed.
 

hiker

Jedi Master
FOTCM Member
Did the Ballogh Web series, which was awesome. For those of you who may have read some of her newer books and been put off by the crap writing, try some of her earlier works. It's like a different person wrote them!

I think the Huxtable Quintet was very impressive and stellar, but it was written in 2009 and 2010.
Amazingly, the first 4 were written during the same year in 2009 and the last one in 2010. She must have been "channeling" in 2009!

Scottie, may I ask if you meant the Westcott series, which was written 2016 onwards? The Survivors Club series is fairly recent too, written between 2012 and 2016. (I have not read either series yet.)

Balogh's bibliography:

I finished The Time of Love - The Huxtable Family by Mary Balogh - 3
I really enjoyed this story with a twist in the last few pages...
I just started Time of Desire the last of the Huxtable family by Mary Balogh - 4
This book is the 18th book I have read...
All of these stories satisfy my midget heart that I have never stopped being...

There is one more part to the Huxtable family saga (part 5), maybe you knew about it already, but I thought I would just mention, that if you have read the first four, you definitely should read the last one too. Personally I thought it was the best of the bunch. :-)

 

Scottie

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Scottie, may I ask if you meant the Westcott series, which was written 2016 onwards? The Survivors Club series is fairly recent too, written between 2012 and 2016. (I have not read either series yet.)

I read the Web Series, The Temporary Wife, and A Promise of Spring.

Can't remember the other one of hers that I read where her writing was so awful.
 
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