Romantic Fiction, Reality Shaping and The Work

jess

Jedi Master
I have finished "The Madness of Viscount Atherbourne" and halfway through "The Truth About Cads and Dukes," both in the Huxley series by author Elisa Braden.

In "The Madness of Viscount Atherbourne" it made me think a lot about all the layers of prejudice, programs and ignorance mixed with pain, it caused me a bit of a stomach ache near the end where the climax of the drama is about to be resolved, when Lucien Wyatt discovers that all those years of hatred for another man and his family had somehow been wrong, and almost the break up of his marriage- relationship with Victoria.
It made me feel very bad that Victoria's character was judged and many people turned their backs on her, fortunately her brother supported her in her mistake, but it made me feel very sad how in reality many people who make mistakes are abandoned, that is very cruel.
As well as how horrible and disgusting prejudice is and the damage it causes, I personally find this series very rich in nuances about how an apparent villain is just a human being in pain and ignorance, but then you also have in the story (novel) a cruel and inquisitive society ready to destroy anyone who does not follow its rules, which does not help its members to solve their problems or misunderstandings in a kinder way.
It made me reflect (from my understanding at the moment is) a lot how in general in social groups it is easier to be kind and loving to those who are similar to oneself, that seems very easy to me, it does not require an effort in cultivating true compassion and understanding.
And a bit defensive or silence towards those who are different or represent something or a part that is different from oneself, although sometimes, can be a possibility, it could also be wrong assumptions about the other, but perhaps they could be rooted in the way we interpret or perceive the other.

Overall, I feel that these stories helped me understand my husband, and have given me a fascinating and complex perspective on relationships in general.
One of the very marked things that I have found is how in the middle of 1800, women (although it was certainly a disadvantage for the open minded and free women of that time) found an acceptance as "wives" and "mothers", as their role in the society.
It made me think a lot how I was educated in my family environment rather to study a career and have a "successful" job, in no way being a wife and having children was part of my perspectives when I was 20 years old, on the contrary, that was rather seen as women who cut their way to "success" in some career or "money-job", who became pregnant very young.
I think that was one of the causes of a kind of depression that I discovered not too far ago, it is hard to see the programs work, it leaves a bit of sadness.

Staying on the topic of forgiveness in posts above by Mariama and Lys, after finishing Slightly Tempted I realized I never really thought about the books in that way. I thought the point was to learn lessons of love but forgiveness specifically never popped into my mind. I made a previous post about how the ladies of the stories refusing marriage to the male would agitate me, and I think I realize why.
I once knew a beautiful woman I loved so much, the first woman I ever showed my love to. Despite jumping through every hoop I could imagine, she just would not say yes to me, making me feel unwanted, not good enough, and I never truly realized till now I was angry at her for refusing. She did many things to hurt me, sometime unconscious, other times purposely to push me away but I always stuck around because I loved her and I didn't want to let her go. I was angry that despite how open we were to each other, and how much she meant to me, that she was unwilling to take the next step in the relationship. She was my best friend, the only person I've ever opened myself up to and her rejection made me feel like there is little value to try again.
But at what point does love turn into possession? Because if I truly love her, I would respect her decision, I wouldn't try to force a change. We get angry when our expectations don't match reality,
Hi Jo Bugman, about the paragraph above that you comment, thank you for sharing, what a fascinating complexity, I feel that sometimes we put our hearts in the wrong places and it is hard to realize, perhaps, it could be that the other person (girlfriend or boyfriend) is not totally bad, as a person, for hurting us or break our "illusions", it could be that it's just that we're with the wrong person.
This is just something that comes to me from what you say, sorry if it's out of place.

It is incredible how these novels bring out so many feelings, mainly this last one gave me a low mood, a mini depression, it made me remember my breakup and separation from a relationship 10 years ago.
About forgiveness, it makes me think about my own interpretation of it, it is if we could be a little more gentle with ourselves, the strong experience or pain that causes us to relate to others, could be a way to form a more lasting memory in the soul of who we are by forming consciousness, somehow you remember more when it hurts.
 

Jo Bugman

Padawan Learner
Hi @Jo Bugman, about the paragraph above that you comment, thank you for sharing, what a fascinating complexity, I feel that sometimes we put our hearts in the wrong places and it is hard to realize, perhaps, it could be that the other person (girlfriend or boyfriend) is not totally bad, as a person, for hurting us or break our "illusions", it could be that it's just that we're with the wrong person.
This is just something that comes to me from what you say, sorry if it's out of place.
It's not out of place at all. I agree, sometimes we need those people to come along and shake us out of our usual programs and she certainly did that.
 

Persej

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
So far I've read two books from the Survivor's club series, plus the novella. What I've noticed is that I sleep better. I fall asleep faster and I wake up much earlier than usual. Now I need about 7.5 hours of sleep and before even 9 hours would not be enough. Before, when I wake up early I would feel tiredness later in the day, but not now.
 

Mililea

Jedi Master
FOTCM Member
I have just finished the Survivors Club series. It really took me a bit to switch from my beloved Scots from the Mac Kenzie series to the mindset of the English. It was better from the second book onwards, but I could relate better to the rugged nature of the Scots. :whistle:

Maybe because I'm a bit like that in life now. I thought about it a lot. In earlier horoscopes or also in analyses by alternative practitioners ( I don't know exactly how to explain it) the subject of femininity was often suggested to me. Maybe that's the reason? Am I not feminine enough? Certainly the English ladies were also very courageous and supported their husbands, but I find the Scottish ones were a bit more "practical", they tackled and took things into their own hands. At least that is how they are presented in the books. :-P

Maybe femininity just means something different to me. Even as a child, I wasn't the girl who needed frills and bows. I was more the "Ronja the robbers daughter" type, here's a link for those who don't know her.

But since we know we're supposed to read exactly what triggers us in that direction, I'll stick with Mary Balogh, whose writing style I really like, I love how she makes the characters think about the same thing one right after the other.

At the moment, though, after Survivors Club, I've started The Tudors by Anne Gracie, but I can't say anything about that yet.
 

iamthatis

Jedi Council Member
FOTCM Member
I was reading Someone to Romance by Balogh, number seven of the Westcott series. I was smiling at the description of 'musical channeling' displayed by Gabriel Thorne.

“My music is here,” he told her, tapping a finger against his temple. Thought that was not strictly true. He had to think, yes, in order to bring a tune to mind, but the music was not in his mind. And when he sat at the pianoforte, he had to rid his mind even of the tune so that it would not interfere with his fingers as they played. He did not know where the music itself came from after that. He did not know how his fingers hit the right notes or how they knew what others notes to play in order to create the full melody and the accompaniment. It all come from some unknown elsewhere inside him, yet it seemed too vast to fit within his frame. It was a good thing he had never tried to describe the process to anyone.”

This was striking to me because it describes a process that's so similar for myself. It's hard to put into words. I was in piano lessons from the age 6 until 16. As a teenager, I got 'too cool' for piano. But even now, whenever I sit down at the keys, songs just show up outta nowhere. So wherever I go, if there is a piano there, I feel so much at home.

So, without further ado, I thought to share a piece that came 'by channel' a few years ago. I have no clue what key I'm playing in. And as you can see by my hand movements, I only just barely know what I'm doing. To add a further confession, it is rather poor sound quality due to my only having my computer as a recorder. But nonetheless - enjoy!

 

Alejo

Ambassador
Ambassador
FOTCM Member
I have just finished Someone to Remember by Mary Balogh It's book 6.5 in the Wescott series, so it was very short, it was a truly rewarding book, even with such a short story, it was very moving indeed.

This book is 6.5 and expands upon a part of the story of book 6, Someone to Honor. Matilda Wescott had gone to visit Gilbert's father to persuade him to intervene during the trial that was to decide the custody of Gilbert's daughter.

Matilda and Gilbert's father, Charles, happened to have had a love story 36 years prior to the events this book explores, but it didn't have a happy ending then. It's a lot of reminiscing, it's almost a story that could be described as a phoenix allegory, from the ashes of what once was, a new flame arose.

I enjoyed the fact that the conversation between Gilbert and Matilda were more direct, mature and frank, something that added a fun factor but also it differentiated them from the usual protagonists of these stories. There was little dillydallying, but that did not make the story any less moving.

Charles and Matilda were Always in love and end up being together, finally making Matilda's (the up until now Wescott spinster at 56) dream come true.

The story made me think of the ways we cope with heartbreak, or pain in general, with life moving against the direction of our wishes.

Matilda calcified into her role as her mother's companion for 36 years, busying herself with proper behavior and finding her identity in fussing over her mother's well being. Charles, went in the opposite direction and sought distraction with women and debauchery. Neither of them were effective, neither of them admitted the truth about what was going on, and this is something that the book explores.

It made me think that sometimes we think we're numbing the pain of loss with our best interest in mind, but what we're actually doing is ignoring ourselves. We need to admit pain, sadness and sorrow, but also love and care and affection, even if accompanied by sadness or loneliness.

It reminded me of what Laura said once about needing to metabolize one's emotions, running away from them just keep them stuck in line waiting to be attended, they won't go away.

In that sense, Charles and Matilda were the reminder to each other of who they were, that is, who they had ignored for so long, and the realization is painful, not only realizing what they had lost, but what they had ignored for so long.

And I believe the idea wasn't so much to go back to the innocence and ignorance of younger selves, that is impossible and probably rather counterproductive, but instead to dig through the layers of whatever one has thrown on top of it to bring it out and make it part of one's current self.

And this includes looking at the pain and applying some truth to it, some responsibility too. Maybe the pain was real, but that doesn't mean that it was justified, or that one was correct all along about the origins of it, or that one handled it properly. So revising one's history is also possible.

This is also explored, not only on the two main characters, but also on Matilda's mother, she had also been carrying guilt over 36 years as she had been crucial in preventing Matilda and Charles from marrying when they had first met at 20 years old.

The book seems to also focus a lot on the idea of it never being too late, to love, to care, to be loved and cared for, to say yes to the true aspects of oneself and to get rid of the false ones. I think this is a good idea, for sometimes just getting used to the way things are is a lot safer than actually working on what one desperately needs to.

Good short story, moving on to Someone to Romance !
 

gottathink

Jedi Council Member
FOTCM Member
I have just finished the Survivors Club series. It really took me a bit to switch from my beloved Scots from the Mac Kenzie series to the mindset of the English. It was better from the second book onwards, but I could relate better to the rugged nature of the Scots. :whistle:

Maybe because I'm a bit like that in life now. I thought about it a lot. In earlier horoscopes or also in analyses by alternative practitioners ( I don't know exactly how to explain it) the subject of femininity was often suggested to me. Maybe that's the reason? Am I not feminine enough? Certainly the English ladies were also very courageous and supported their husbands, but I find the Scottish ones were a bit more "practical", they tackled and took things into their own hands. At least that is how they are presented in the books. :-P

Maybe femininity just means something different to me. Even as a child, I wasn't the girl who needed frills and bows. I was more the "Ronja the robbers daughter" type, here's a link for those who don't know her.

But since we know we're supposed to read exactly what triggers us in that direction, I'll stick with Mary Balogh, whose writing style I really like, I love how she makes the characters think about the same thing one right after the other.

At the moment, though, after Survivors Club, I've started The Tudors by Anne Gracie, but I can't say anything about that yet.
The femininity thing is a theme for me also. In a different way. I was actively encouraged and in some ways forbidden to be a girl by my mother. She wanted me to be strong and tough. I did not like it, I was a little girl who wanted ribbons and pretty dolls and dresses, and pony tails. My hair was cut short, I wasn’t allowed ribbons (I recall using my dirty old shoe laces for ribbons instead), I was supposed to always fend for myself. So grew up as a child learning being feminine was bad. Any way I’ve been involved in quite a few different sports over the years, and I loathe being gawked at for having bicep and back muscles. Why can’t women be women but also be powerful?

But really why, why is femininity supposed to be bad? I love the different female characters all with different strengths and personalities of Balogh’s books. Even Freya Bedwyn, a wild Tom boyish personality embodies beauty, with strength and grace when it’s needed or appropriate.
I just enjoy learning how these characters operate, I’m getting an education in woman-hood.
 

Mililea

Jedi Master
FOTCM Member
The femininity thing is a theme for me also. In a different way. I was actively encouraged and in some ways forbidden to be a girl by my mother. She wanted me to be strong and tough. I did not like it, I was a little girl who wanted ribbons and pretty dolls and dresses, and pony tails. My hair was cut short, I wasn’t allowed ribbons (I recall using my dirty old shoe laces for ribbons instead), I was supposed to always fend for myself. So grew up as a child learning being feminine was bad. Any way I’ve been involved in quite a few different sports over the years, and I loathe being gawked at for having bicep and back muscles. Why can’t women be women but also be powerful?

But really why, why is femininity supposed to be bad? I love the different female characters all with different strengths and personalities of Balogh’s books. Even Freya Bedwyn, a wild Tom boyish personality embodies beauty, with strength and grace when it’s needed or appropriate.
I just enjoy learning how these characters operate, I’m getting an education in woman-hood.
Thank you for your answer. Maybe I expressed myself wrongly, there is nothing bad about being female at all, I enjoy being a woman. I just meant that I can identify more with the women in the Scottish books.

I think femininity can have many faces. And over the course of the seven books, of course, I've become friends with the female characters. But my thoughts often went back to the Scottish ladies. And how they would have done it, or how I would have done it. But you probably also have to consider the time in which the ladies lived and how they grew up. And how, within their means at the time, they were able to influence some situations.

It's sad, of course, when you're a girl and you're not allowed to do what you want in your childhood. And when these are actually the things that every girl likes and longs for. I am very sorry that you experienced this. Especially if it went even further when you grew up.

Do you think the Bedwyn series is a good choice in terms of femininity? So to continue with the "femininity-education"? :grad:
 

gottathink

Jedi Council Member
FOTCM Member
Do you think the Bedwyn series is a good choice in terms of femininity? So to continue with the "femininity-education"? :grad:
Yes many faces of femininity. There is a difference between femininity and being a woman, and I am realising lately also a difference with being a little girl.

I do have friends that are very feminine but also talented and powerful athletes. For them expressing femininity was natural. Mililea, the impression I have of you is more in line with this. Strong and dynamic but also beautiful and feminine when you choose. (Please let me know if you feel it’s inappropriate to write that.)

So it was different for me. Looking back and learning about myself now is that I was an un-integrated personality. I imagine it was similar (but to a much lesser extent) to the gender disfigurement that young people are being exposed to in the education system today.

The books have definitely helped me to integrate my true nature into my being.
I am so very grateful for these insights now.

Yes, I really liked the Bedwyn series female characters. All so different. Definitely start with the prequels, One Night for Love and A Summer to Remember. I think my favourite was the very last book telling Wulfrics story. You will have to wait till the end...
 

Turgon

Ambassador
Ambassador
FOTCM Member
This was striking to me because it describes a process that's so similar for myself. It's hard to put into words. I was in piano lessons from the age 6 until 16. As a teenager, I got 'too cool' for piano. But even now, whenever I sit down at the keys, songs just show up outta nowhere. So wherever I go, if there is a piano there, I feel so much at home.

So, without further ado, I thought to share a piece that came 'by channel' a few years ago. I have no clue what key I'm playing in. And as you can see by my hand movements, I only just barely know what I'm doing. To add a further confession, it is rather poor sound quality due to my only having my computer as a recorder. But nonetheless - enjoy!

You just came up with that piano piece on the spot?! Dude, that's amazing!
 

Laurs

Jedi Council Member
FOTCM Member
Finished The Secret Pearl by Mary Balogh. What a great story.
Without giving too much away,
i saw it as being really about two emotionally mature people, both having been brought up (one at least for the first eight years) by loving and caring parents, then life happens and they, each in their own way, are faced with choices and decisions in the morality arena. What can one do to in order to survive, and the other has a longing to express his manly being and needs upon someone clinical, without any emotional connection, or so he thinks. It was a journey, being taken along with these two brave people, who when they "find" each other, are finally able to let their love create their own family. I was also struck by the sheer relinquishment of the ego by the male protagonist to fully love, cherish and raise the child he knew was not his.

After that i read the first two books of Lisa Kleypas' Ravenel series and am now on book 3. Wow, i love these books! Her writing style is sincere and amusing and reminds me a little bit of Elisa Braden, though imo she conveys the inner landscapes of the characters even better. The stories are set around 1870 more or less, industrialization is full on, lots of the peers find themselves heavily indebted, their estates falling to ruin while a new merchant class has arisen who amass much wealth.

In Book 1, Cold-Hearted Rake, one of the themes is finding one's way after having been tossed aside by unloving, narcissistic parents, pick up the pieces somehow and when life offers the opportunity to take responsibility not only for one's own actions and well-being, but also for those who depend on them. Learning and discerning how far that responsibility really goes and the setting of healthy boundaries. What impressed me much is when the female protagonist in a fit of righteous anger molds that energy in a way that the recipient (West) is struck by it in a way that makes him choose to become the best expression he can be in this life, in service of others. Beautiful!
There was a passage that especially touched my heart: when it was uncertain that the hero and heroine would stay together, the hero said to her that even if he had to wait for her for 60 years, "not a minute will have been wasted, because i will have spent them all loving you".

Book 2, Marrying Winterborne is about Mr Winterborne,
an upstart from the merchant class, who is very impressed by the aristocracy and would love to buy his way into their respect and acknowledgement, or so he thinks, and the wonderful Helen Ravenel, daughter of an earl, who is willing to marry him. There is a wealth of lessons that can be identified in this book, the story took some quite unexpected turns. Especially the heroine Helen, who for instance later finds out that when she was a mere babe, her mother never even touched her when she was crying, and always felt unloved and unwanted, is a person whose soul is so strong and gentle and loving, i was moved in many ways.The two of them together find that they can be their own person, each in their own right, doing the right thing just because it is the right thing, regardless of 'rules' and 'what people think'.
I have an aunt (now 80 years old) who was crying a lot as a baby and her mother used to put her in the barn so the rest of the household (9 kids) could sleep undisturbed. To this day she has never overcome the hatred and sadness she feels for her family and has completely alienated all of them. I can see how a book such as this could be so healing for such a damaged person. Will send it to her.

By the way, book 7 of the Ravenel series will be released on 27th July and is called Devil in Disguise.
 

Laura

Administrator
Administrator
Moderator
FOTCM Member
I had put the "Simply" series aside to read later and after reading the books I've written about in this thread I started today, The Consortium, the Quorum, the alien interface, depicted in 'romantic' fiction - what the heck?!

I felt the need of getting back to something more gentle and idealistic. So, I started this quartet.

I really loved the second book, "Simply Love". It was so touching and made me cry.

I just finished the third book, "Simply Magic" about Peter and Susanna. I was really angry with Peter at the end.

His mother was a real piece of work and destroyed the life of Susanna's father and even Susanna's life, and yet Peter has the nerve to tell Susanna "I still love my mother, so don't ask me to choose." Sheesh! He should have kicked his mother out of his life and only let her in IF, and only IF, Susanna felt like it. What a sloozer!
 

Deliverance

Jedi Master
FOTCM Member
Laura said:
So, I started this quartet.

I really loved the second book, "Simply Love". It was so touching and made me cry.
Yes it is the 1st book on the list (along with the 5th Huxtable) that I have found and read and I was very "shaken" while reading it: somehow I fell into this reading experience abruptly and found myself am found overwhelmed by the situation beyond the conceivable (and crying) from start to finish and for everything! Rereading it about 2 months later, I realized how much it still activated me, and I wondered if I had skipped pages during the 1st reading um ... Now I reread it calmly ?, as part of the Quartet series in sequence and I am on chapter 4.

Oui c'est le 1er livre de la liste (avec le 5e Huxtable) que j'ai trouvé et lu et j'ai été très "secouée" en le lisant : en quelque sorte je suis tombée dans cette expérience de lecture abruptement et me suis retrouvée dépassée par la situation au-delà du concevable (et des pleurs) du début à la fin et à tout propos ! En le relisant environ 2 mois plus tard, j'ai réalisé combien cela m'activait encore, et je me suis demandée si je n'avais pas sauté des pages lors de la 1ère lecture hum... Maintenant je le relis calmement?, comme partie de la série Quartet dans l'ordre et j'en suis au chap 4.
 

France

Jedi Master
FOTCM Member
I felt the need of getting back to something more gentle and idealistic. So, I started this quartet.

I really loved the second book, "Simply Love". It was so touching and made me cry.

I just finished the third book, "Simply Magic" about Peter and Susanna. I was really angry with Peter at the end.
This sequel to the Bedwin series is great. I am reading the 3rd in this series.

The first one didn't touch me like the second one. I too cried at Simply Love.

I really like the way the author brings the inner questioning, the detail of the bond of attachment you feel between these women, the feeling of losing everything if they dare to say "yes".

The plot in the 3rd: wanting to be "nice" so as not to hurt our loved ones, using friendship to avoid commitment ....

The character Peter (the good guy) what will he do? I haven't finished the 3rd one yet
 
R

R o l a n d

Guest
I do not think making a list under love has been attempted. So I thought I give it a work.

Truth
Knowledge
Learning and Loving
Learning
Forgiveness
Faith through knowledge and strengthen
Sincerity match with awareness
Listening
Meditation (eiriu eolas preferably) excellent results = applied effort & numerator 90° angle posture:; top half bottom half(lotus).
Trust in knowing.
Having an understanding of misunderstandings.
Nature as is.
Truly helping another/sharing of awareness.
Developing compassion.
Respect one another by keeping the whole of the person and personality as one clearly remember.
Non-identification with negative occurrences/happenings or predator mind
both impressions external and internal.
Non-anticipation non-expectation is non confusions and being at peace( center of ones gravity) or even group coherence/awareness.
 
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