Romantic Fiction, Reality Shaping and The Work

Nienna

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I shall move on to a different series Maybe Gilded Web or Survivor's.
This is just my opinion, of course, but I found the Survivor series to be far better than the Web series in that the Web series was hard to read in that the characters just kept on and on with their original and faulty thinking to the point it was very hard, for me, at least, to want to continue reading the stories.

But, as I said, that could just be me and whatever my hang-ups are.

The Survivor Series is my second favorite after the Wescott series, though.

fwiw
 

John G

The Living Force
This is just my opinion, of course, but I found the Survivor series to be far better than the Web series in that the Web series was hard to read in that the characters just kept on and on with their original and faulty thinking to the point it was very hard, for me, at least, to want to continue reading the stories.

But, as I said, that could just be me and whatever my hang-ups are.

The Survivor Series is my second favorite after the Wescott series, though.

fwiw
I tend to pause for all the stories at times in kind of a slight wallowing in self-torture over the past kind of way. The pauses are longer for the web series (I'm finally very near the end of the last two story book). It's like these books themselves are forever wallowing in self-torture; they even advertise in advance that this will keep happening for a while via scheduled meetings or whatever. There's probably something educational in the pauses though like for this reading exercise as a whole, I've thought keeping some things suppressed in the past might have been better though dissociation not always positive over suppressed stuff probably isn't any better than slight self-torture over not suppressed stuff.
 

flashgordonv

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FOTCM Member
This is just my opinion, of course, but I found the Survivor series to be far better than the Web series in that the Web series was hard to read in that the characters just kept on and on with their original and faulty thinking to the point it was very hard, for me, at least, to want to continue reading the stories.

But, as I said, that could just be me and whatever my hang-ups are.

The Survivor Series is my second favorite after the Wescott series, though.

fwiw
Just the opposite for me. The Gilded Web series for me was a breakthrough moment in regards to my thinking about and relationship with my father. Helped me put his life and actions into perspective. Very powerful for me. I guess it is horses for courses.
 

Alejo

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This is just my opinion, of course, but I found the Survivor series to be far better than the Web series in that the Web series was hard to read in that the characters just kept on and on with their original and faulty thinking to the point it was very hard, for me, at least, to want to continue reading the stories.

But, as I said, that could just be me and whatever my hang-ups are.

The Survivor Series is my second favorite after the Wescott series, though.

fwiw
Funny you posted this, as I finished I decided to take a break for a day from the romantic novels and kind of jokingly said to myself this afternoon.. "I wonder if the universe would send me a sign as to which one would be better", and almost immediately brushed it off as silly and went on about my day. So consider yourself the speaker of the universe this evening ;-) hehehe.

I shall start my way through The Proposal :)
 

hlat

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
My wife got some hand me down clothes from a friend, and I hate the smell of them. When she first got them, I asked her to take them out of our room. She washed these clothes with my clothes, and now that dratted smell is on my clothes. If I wanted to be dramatic, their smell makes me want to vomit.

Life is the making or breaking of all of us... We are all tested in different ways... There was no single test for anyone. Life was a continuous series of tests, all or some or none of which one might pass or fail, and learn from or not.
Someone to Wed (Westcott #3)

A lot of us are being tested now in this crazy world.
 

Persej

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
I always considered the Matrix sequels a great action movies, but a total mess when it comes to the story. But perhaps there is more to the stories than it seems at first sight. For example, the Neo needs to find the access to the Source, but to do that he needs the special key which is held by the key-maker. And to find the key-maker he needs to pass the test by the Persephone. And the test is to give her a sample of a feeling of true love. Like these romance novels are giving to us.


You could say that the Neo really is a perfect hero. In the movie he trained his intellectual centre by learning the truth about the Matrix, his motoric centre by learning kung-fu, and his emotional centre by engaging in emotional relationship with Trinity.
 

France

Jedi Master
FOTCM Member
There are a few things about these books that I've noticed:

1) The authors talk about scents, smells quite a bit. It's very noticeable. The scent of perfume, hair, soap, bodies, etc.

2) A LOT of attention is given to reactions that are read from eyes.

It's this last thing that has me thinking. How many people can actually read such emotions in the eyes of another? And how many people are actually any good at that when encountering a stranger or someone they do not know really well? ARE they reading emotions from eyes, or is it more likely that the author is trying to find a way to describe the unconscious reading of micro-expressions? You would have to be a highly trained psychological expert to do the kind of reading that many of the characters in these books are said to do.

Anybody have any ideas on this? Any experiences?

The question is interesting. The author of the books describes in a "kinesthetic" way many situations.

It's easy for me to get into these books because I have a dominant brain (the right one which is activated) which brings me a lot of images through the descriptions related to the eye, smell, skin, hearing and taste.

To answer the question, I think that the author plays on words by describing the smallest details of what the senses give off to make us enter the story as if we were the ones living these episodes. What the eyes see to better enter the landscape, the castles ... but also in this era of aristocrats with the costumes and women in their roles. The surprise in front of the beauty or the indifference in front of the rich...

Yes, it is often said that the eyes are the reflection of the soul, but also the good manipulators know very well how to work with their facial fibers so that the eyes reflect what they want to reflect.

When I was young, I was naive and thought that everyone was showing their good side... I was often taken in by trusting that their eyes reflected "trust me", which was "false" after the experience.

Over the years of practicing with clients, I have learned that eyes and facial expressions (micro-expressions) can really be used in a conscious way to bias the other person listening to the story or if there is a product to sell or if there is a personal interest behind it.

What micro-expressions to do when you don't want to be compassionate with another person but rather empathetic, understanding, respectful? Some emotions are very similar and yet they have their differences. When we play the game of guessing the emotion we can put in our eyes, there are so many different answers that differ from what we want to express and say to the other person. You can try it with your friends.

In my twenties, I increased my knowledge in order to trust myself more and help my family. Without really being aware of the path (it was instinctive) I went to areas where we had to sharpen our senses to refine our knowledge. How to discover a plant in its different stages of growth to pick it at the right time, how to discover essential oils by just smelling them, how to find a tension in the body by massaging, how to listen to the key words in a story to better intervene, why does a body have this morphology, what suffering made it do this etc...

The eyes and ears are constantly taking in information and memorizing it all. I think some of our childhood programs were formed by what we saw and heard. And by reading these novels, I realize that the author wants to maintain the attention by putting the smell, the eyes and the touch. What happened for me and I believe for others, these descriptions came to stimulate our own baggage, our perceptions and for some it brings a forgiveness, a hope, an awareness of what surrounds us.

I couldn't say that the author intentionally wanted to do this emotional work.
 

Jono

Jedi Master
FOTCM Member
I've almost finished The Survivors' Club Series now and this style of fiction has really grown on me. I found it hard to get into it at first but I noticed I'm getting a wholesome feeling that lingers with me even after I've put the book down.

I started reading the Billionaire Banker Series from the dark romance novel thread but stopped and came back to these novels for the time being. I think I'll try out another few books or series here before moving on.

Thank you everyone for your recommendations and sharing your experiences, and thank you Laura for starting this project.
 

whitecoast

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
I tried to get into Jennifer Ashley's series on the Mackenzies, and I enjoyed the first book and in some ways the second. By the third book though I just lost interest so I went back to Mary Balogh and read her book Tangled, which I thought was really interesting. I could really feel in Tangled some of the real consequences of irresponsibility and immaturity, and it really got me worked up. In one way it reminded me of the Studio Ghibli film Graveyard of Fireflies, which is also about love between siblings and the consequences of immaturity. THAT was a horrendously tragic film, and a strong illustration about how love in terms of sentimental affection is NOT enough to do right by a person.
 

Alejo

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Hey guys,

I finished The Proposal by Mary Balogh, the first book in the Survivor's Club series and It was an interesting read. I have been meaning to post for a while but haven't had the time. So today I decided to make the time and share a few impressions. I think it has been mentioned in a few places what the Survivor's Club is, so I won't go into too much detail, I will try to rescue some of the main ideas that caught my attention from the book.

I also finished book 1.5 The Suitor, it's a short and rather beautiful and entertaining story and I was surprised to have finished in one afternoon.

Oh also, I was rather pleased to find that this story takes place in the Bedwyn universe.. :D I heard mention of a few of the Bedwyns in a few scenes and that was very nice.

The story follows Gwen and Hugo, Hugo is a member of the Survivor's club who has decided it's time to do his duty to his sister and find himself a wife. On a walk to the beach he find Gwen who has just been injured and can't move herself. He brings her home to the club in Panderris Hall and she is welcome by all. As the story progresses, they find each other loving one another and marry, as these stories go.

There were a few interesting ideas that caught my attention, this is the first story of a main protagonist who was very forward in his physical appetites, and I mean bluntly so. Gwen responds to it with a kind understanding but not with a permissive and indulgent one, that was a rather interesting strategy.

I do believe that it was done on purpose to display the contrast in their backgrounds, she was a proper lady and he was a brute of war who had achieved a title after a forlorn hope. It also works as a way to illustrate our true nature. There's a difference between showing ourselves vulnerably as we are, and stubbornly refusing to see the wrongs in our ways, I think.

There's a difference between saying, this is who I am and where I come from, and demanding other's accept our flaws of character because "well this is simply who I am, deal with it". And the story navigates some of that rather nicely I thought, both Gwen and Hugo sought to bring one another into their worlds, although I do suspect Hugo had to do most of the work as Gwen seemed more integrated overall and more accepting.

There was a lovely quote that was very touching it went something like: " Youthful dreams are precious things, they ought not to be dashed as youthful and unrealistic just because they’re young dreams, innocence ought not to be destroyed from any callous conviction that any sort of cynicism is better. " this was spoke by Hugo as he started to show his vulnerable side to Gwen, as he started to confess to her that he had killed hundreds, and been honored for that, but was never a child to harm a creature and until this day, he was the one to take the spiders out to the yard instead of killing them.

Innocence is probably underrated, or rather... what he calls the cynicism that looks down upon innocence and young dreams is overrated. In the world of today, that innocence is gone too quick and quicker by the day. And once it's gone, it doesn't come back, I personally feel today that I wish I had lived with my innocence for a bit longer on certain topics. And most of us instinctively seek to protect the innocence of our younger family members and people around us.

I think there's a moment for "initiations" and delivering knowledge to children, and when done too late it has repercussions, a man child, when done too early it has repercussions, trauma.

The Survivor's club being what it is, it deals with Trauma in most stories, Gwen herself had a rough story, it illustrates guilt in a lovely manner that wouldn't change until Hugo came along. When her ex-husband died in front of her, the last words uttered from his mouth were her name. Ever since then, her name to her was cursed, loaded with guilt and shame and regret. It wasn't until Hugo started using her name, and share his burdens with her, that she started to change her own view of herself.

And that was a powerful image, someone she felt responsible for commits suicide and burdens her with a curse of sorts, the word kind, her name would be forever tainted by the guilt. Not only reminding her of it, but it buried itself so deeply that whenever someone got close enough to her, intimately to not use her title but use her name instead, she would be reminded of it.

It's also a good way to describe guilt, how it weighs heavy on our identities, a curse that changes the way we know ourselves. If the mere sound of our names is enough to define our lives by the standards of a single moment, we'll forever carry that curse.

In terms of suicide, they talked about it being a selfish act, you leave everyone else with the hurt for the satisfaction of having the last word, it's unkind and selfish, self centered. And in terms of being self centered, they explored several aspects, specially from Hugo's point of view, he was constantly apologizing to Gwen for his middle class world, until she stops him.

They also discuss demons, fighting them, and the sympathy that it creates to share one's burden with someone else. Gwen hadn't told anyone about her marriage to her ex husband, how difficult it had been, how taxing on her soul, and Hugo, knowing the value of networking, offered her the advice that she ought to share it with someone.

It was a very nice story indeed, a lot of concepts were explored and the humor from the rough Hugo and the proper Gwen was actually endearing. The impropriety of their initial interaction could have been a stomping block, but it could also have been an honest way into each other's heart, it wasn't the impropriety that defined their relationship, it was what they had to offer to one another beyond it, their honest self, their own burden and trauma, their nightmares, and their hopes for the future.

By sharing honestly with one another, despite the impropriety, they were able to see one another as they truly were, broken and struggling, but willing to live on. Willing to live beyond their demons and circumstance.

This is actually illustrated in Hugo's enjoyment for being in his land, he had seen so much death that he sought to nurture life in any way possible, with animals and plants. To participate in the exercise of life, despite death. It reminded me of a song in spanish that says something along the lines of "Death never defeated us, because whatsoever dies is because it was born (and lived) at one point"

This was a rather short story, and it was an ode to love, dedication and effort.

The two main characters had been in love for two years and could not be together as he had compromised her, despite the disapproval, he carried on with his efforts. To be with her, to marry her and to prove to her parents that he was a new man. It was a lovely ode to the effort it takes to live a proper apology, to honor the ones we love with our behavior, not with our words. To fight for what we know we can do.

Fighting for someone one loves (or for any endeavor really) is not really fighting the world at large and seek to impose oneself, impose one's wishes. It's fighting oneself for that person or goal. And this story highlighted that quite nicely. It's an overall feel good story with that message, how to honor a goal, how to turn one's life around and hold on to that faith in high places.

She was providing him the feedback that his efforts were not in vain, and he was carrying on his effort to make good by his word, through the story they both move about strategically and do each their own part and end up together.

Short and sweet is the best way to describe it.

And now, on to The Arrangement, which already has very nice concepts.
 

Navigator

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Moved to Survivors' Club after reading Billionaire Banker and the Extras from that series, so far reading The Proposal and I notice a more interesting and delightful prose by Balogh, also the story is quite more captivating and requiring more attention as to keep the cues from the 7 members of the club, by the looks of it this series is going to be up there at the top of my favorites.
 

Jebra

Padawan Learner
I have just finished reading the dark romance novels and I have Mary Balogh's The Proposal here to read. I've been looking forward to reading it as I didn't enjoy the Dark romances much (I didn't like the writing and the possessive sex scenes but I understand the point of reading them even if they were a bit painful at times). What an odd coincidence so many of us are starting this particular series at once!
 

France

Jedi Master
FOTCM Member
I have just finished reading the Series: Victorian Rebels of Karrigan Byre.
I was apprehensive about reading this series. It was listed in the Romance list as "intense".

I had heard some of the violence that happened in prisons and in villages... but reading it made me shudder and also calmed me down because it took away the conscious and unconscious doubts that violence exists to this extent.

Also, sometimes it's easier and less painful to hide it inside and believe that we won't feel it anymore, but life always brings events to give us the possibility to transform this violence towards ourselves or the others. It becomes our choice.

If we choose to keep hope and dare to use the little spark that is not extinguished, the strength within us will come to get through with help or to stay there because despair has taken the place of hope.

Thank you for these book choices from the suggested list. They have helped me.
 

Andrian

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
I have just finished reading the dark romance novels and I have Mary Balogh's The Proposal here to read. I've been looking forward to reading it as I didn't enjoy the Dark romances much (I didn't like the writing and the possessive sex scenes but I understand the point of reading them even if they were a bit painful at times). What an odd coincidence so many of us are starting this particular series at once!
I swear that I was having the same thought while reading the above posts, me too will be reading the Survivors club series after finishing reading The Consortium/Quorum novels (I've decided reading them before starting reading the dark novels).

Another interesting coincidence I've noticed before starting reading the Consortium/Quorum novels is that some of us here, me included were finishing reading the Bedwyn saga ;-D
I've found that cute and a positive sign for us as a community/tribe reaching towards one another and thus eventually establishing a collinearity as a tribe.

Forward and onward!
 
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