Romantic Fiction, Reality Shaping and The Work

Alana

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I saw this quote going around FB the other day, and I thought it belongs in this thread too, because I think it describes the process that we see happening in most of our novels, how those "happy endings" eventually come about:

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Laura

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I just started Silent Melody, though I'm not sure if I should stop and read a different romantic book, because I think another round of Heartless type horror would be too much for me right now.


After finishing Heartless last night, I did make a small confession to my wife. Talk and explain. After all, nothing is truly hidden; if the demons in exorcisms can see the entire history of a person, surely all our lives are open books for some others to see. So I told my wife, and it was like a scene out of these books.

Interesting that the book you thought was so dark had such an interesting effect on you. Perhaps it wasn't so "dark" after all?
 

Laura

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Just finished the first book of the Huxtable Quintet by Mary Balogh and must wait until tomorrows' post delivers supply so I can proceed in order.
In between I read the first book of the Sons of Sin series navigating me through some private turmoil in top of the global one.
I just sat here and felt a little ...irritated... that I must wait until tomorrow. I suppose I'm addicted.
... and just realised:
These books are a shield. Laura has provided us with a shield for these times. I just begin to fathom the deep importance of this.
Thank you.....


Now I'll try to stop myself from proceeding with book#3....Wish me luck!

That's an interesting observation. And I think it is correct. It has that effect on me and others, too.

Now, I do want to warn people that there are some books that are supposed to be in this genre, and even some by authors that are included in our list, that are definitely NOT anything that any of you want or need to read. I've skimmed several that were just awful - pure perverted porn. So be aware, please. Mental and psychic hygiene is very important at this time.

I don't know why the particular author in question decided to write such stuff after writing quite a few very good examples of what we want. Perhaps it was just a money making thing.
 

NewEngland Seeker

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I don't know why the particular author in question decided to write such stuff after writing quite a few very good examples of what we want. Perhaps it was just a money making thing.

I have also noticed this with TV series and movie sequels that devolve into the agenda of the dark lords of sleaze. I think their muse has left and all that the writers have left to offer is what will sell.

What is worse is when something comes along that is highly intelligent and witty and leaves you feeling wonderful and have it canceled because it does not include the politically correct perversions in the script.
 

seek10

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Heartless was harrowing and I too felt like the negative energy was covering me, as you put it, but I think she did an excellent job, although I kept hoping they would just TALK, and explain! You'll see that it the end it all makes sense, and how it leads to important realizations for both main characters. And the next book, Silent Melody, though also intense, is a bit easier, IMO. At least you are sort of prepared to things being horrible in the background, after having read the first one. Well, for sure it's not like the other series you mentioned, but it's worth it, me thinks.
I was some what surprised at the extent of psychological twists in Heartless. At one point, it looked all the family will fall apart when they are under the unsuspecting spell of psychopathic villiany and guilt inducing harmonal emotions. Some scenes remainded me of disasterous outcomes from harmonal marriage decisions that I happen to see in my close friends families as a kid. Actually, it immediatly made me depressed instantly until I processed the emotions. Balogh wrote very well about helplessness of the characters being under spell of terror. Villain perfectly fits into psychopath profile, but somehow it ended up being delusional behavior. One thing that comes out very clearly in these novels is loving care of the female protagonists that spread to the surroundings to change things for better. 💗
 

Windmill knight

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I finished Dancing with Clara. It was touching and inspiring, especially the end - kind of restores the faith in human nature. There is a great deal of deep psychological understanding there. Love will not automatically fix you, but it may inspire you to fix yourself. Also, the type of love in this novel is quite genuine because it appears where it wasn't expected out of a tiny core of decency, and grows in spite of all human flaws. There is the theme of what faith in onself - or lack of - does to you, as well as forgiveness and redemption. There is also something about the idea that love is mostly something that you do, rather than what you feel. As with Courting Julia, my only complaint is that it seemed to finish too abruptly - but I understand I'll see at least some of the characters in Tempting Harriet.
 

hlat

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Interesting that the book you thought was so dark had such an interesting effect on you. Perhaps it wasn't so "dark" after all?
Maybe dark wasn't the right word.

Maybe for all these books, it's a rehashing and recombining of all of the most terrible memories and wounds, and then somehow changing using the emotional and sexual energy and getting to the other side where the promise of a happy ending awaits. It's easier to touch the terrible memories with these books when there's always a happy ending. If these characters can face their fears and be open and honest, why can't I do the same or do more?

I'm 75% through The Daring Duke by Jess Michaels, book 1 of the 1797 Club, and it's the lighter fare that I wanted, though still tearing up here and there. I'll be ready to go back to Silent Melody next.
 

beetlemaniac

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I finished Dancing with Clara. It was touching and inspiring, especially the end - kind of restores the faith in human nature. There is a great deal of deep psychological understanding there. Love will not automatically fix you, but it may inspire you to fix yourself. Also, the type of love in this novel is quite genuine because it appears where it wasn't expected out of a tiny core of decency, and grows in spite of all human flaws. There is the theme of what faith in onself - or lack of - does to you, as well as forgiveness and redemption. There is also something about the idea that love is mostly something that you do, rather than what you feel. As with Courting Julia, my only complaint is that it seemed to finish too abruptly - but I understand I'll see at least some of the characters in Tempting Harriet.
And what is doing but a creative expression, right? With love - which is to know - comes the seeing which allows one to creatively think of ways to love in the verbal sense. Using our minds and thinking of ways that we can serve others without forgetting that we may not actually be rewarded or appreciated for it, no expectation of what the outcome will be.

Whereas, being feeling centered can help when empathizing with others and their situation but when it is turned inwardly it quickly tends to become destructive and all about the self.

It reminded me of a passage from Stephen Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Effective People:

At one seminar where I was speaking on the concept of proactivity, a man came up and said, “Stephen, I like what you’re saying. But every situation is so different. Look at my marriage. I’m really worried. My wife and I just don’t have the same feelings for each other we used to have. I guess I just don’t love her anymore and she doesn’t love me. What can I do?” “The feeling isn’t there anymore?” I asked. “That’s right,” he reaffirmed. “And we have three children we’re really concerned about. What do you suggest?” “Love her,” I replied. “I told you, the feeling just isn’t there anymore.” “Love her.” “You don’t understand. The feeling of love just isn’t there.” “Then love her. If the feeling isn’t there, that’s a good reason to love her.” “But how do you love when you don’t love?”

“My friend, love is a verb. Love— the feeling— is a fruit of love, the verb. So love her. Serve her. Sacrifice. Listen to her. Empathize. Appreciate. Affirm her. Are you willing to do that?


In the great literature of all progressive societies, love is a verb. Reactive people make it a feeling. They’re driven by feelings. Hollywood has generally scripted us to believe that we are not responsible, that we are a product of our feelings. But the Hollywood script does not describe the reality. If our feelings control our actions, it is because we have abdicated our responsibility and empowered them to do so. Proactive people make love a verb. Love is something you do: the sacrifices you make, the giving of self, like a mother bringing a newborn into the world. If you want to study love, study those who sacrifice for others, even for people who offend or do not love in return. If you are a parent, look at the love you have for the children you sacrificed for. Love is a value that is actualized through loving actions. Proactive people subordinate feelings to values. Love, the feeling, can be recaptured.

Covey, Stephen R.. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change (pp. 116-118). RosettaBooks. Kindle Edition.
 

Laura

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And what is doing but a creative expression, right? With love - which is to know - comes the seeing which allows one to creatively think of ways to love in the verbal sense. Using our minds and thinking of ways that we can serve others without forgetting that we may not actually be rewarded or appreciated for it, no expectation of what the outcome will be.

Whereas, being feeling centered can help when empathizing with others and their situation but when it is turned inwardly it quickly tends to become destructive and all about the self.

It reminded me of a passage from Stephen Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Effective People:

That was perfect, and exactly right!!!
 

Mariama

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I shall now finish the last book and spend some time coming to grips with the unpleasant learning.
I am a bit behind with this thread, so apologies if this has already been mentioned.

It sounds as if these novels stir up all kinds of things for you, Tuatha de Danaan, which is good! I hear you, though. These past few weeks I have felt very irritable, lethargic and depressed. But then, that's normal, we are processing old issues after all. Learning new healthy patterns/brain pathways can be difficult because we are also taking into account the mistakes we made in the past and the hurt that we caused, but then there is no free lunch! Keep reading and hang in there!
Also, the fact that there is the Napoleonic wars in the background made me think of the war on peoples that rages on in our reality. Like these characters, we are all going to discover of what wood we are made of in the coming years, already many of us feel our inner being is a battleground, with the hyperkinetic effect of the Wave. Those that manage it in 4D will probably be traumatised by the sheer destruction they had witnessed. These books are a testimony to the resilience of the human spirit. It's good to know that before hell breaks lose.
Very well put. In Mary Balogh's Web of Love the war against Napoleon takes centre stage at one point in the book, which was exactly what I needed. A few months ago I read Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind which deals with the Civil War in the US and her descriptions of the ravages of war were excellent and very helpful to me. My mother told me she was allowed to read the book for a history course at university! According to her professor it was that good. Some people may think that these romance novels are just that, fiction written for lonely housewives, but the knowledge of war these writers share with us is priceless IMO.

I come from a family where the second world war seriously uprooted the lives of my parents and grand-parents, not just during the war and in the immediate aftermath of it but later in life when my parents had children and passed on the unconscious impact of war on us kids. Except for some anecdotes they never really discussed their experiences and I never realised how the emotional impact of war exerted itself in my life until recently.

I can't put my finger on it exactly, but I feel this novel helps me process my family history, since I have felt a deep need to explore war, the way I felt the need to explore (romantic) relationships. And I agree with you, ryu, that we can learn a lot from these inner and outer battlegrounds and how to deal with them and tap into that 'resilience of the human spirit'.
 

Laurs

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It is so interesting and helpful to read everyone's experiences in this thread, for everyone different issues come to the fore and it's a fun exercise to think about it all. I finally finished 'Seven Nights In A Rogue's Bed' (Sons of Sin Book I). I wasn't very captivated for the first half, guess that's why it took so long to finish, but that changed for the last half of the book. Several themes resonated with me like broken trust, betrayal of someone even though the reasons could be understood, realizing when one has felt sorry for oneself long enough and then the standing up for love and fighting for it by daring to feel and to be vulnerable, daring to bare the soul to the other and eventually learning and knowing that all hurts can be healed, always. Love works wonders. As beetlemaniac says so beautifully:
And what is doing but a creative expression, right? With love - which is to know - comes the seeing which allows one to creatively think of ways to love in the verbal sense. Using our minds and thinking of ways that we can serve others without forgetting that we may not actually be rewarded or appreciated for it, no expectation of what the outcome will be.

I also noticed that being engrossed in this book made me feel much less occupied with the global craziness and much more thinking about the values and the interactions of peoples etc in a new world. A wonderful tonic and i really feel i now can more 'enjoy the show' that is before us.

Ordered the paper version books of Web of Love series. But will buy the rest of the Sons of Sin books as well now. Can't wait to start!
 

Andrian

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I'm about to read the third book of the Devil Riders series by Anne Gracie. This is The first series i'm reading and thus far i must say that i love these novels, they are very light, warm, lovely. While reading the first two books of the series I've felt a rich spectrum of emotions, it was a sweat roller coaster 🎢 and I'm starting to enjoy it 😊

I would like to thank Laura for opening the thread and for the advise she gave us to read these novels for the benefits they'll have on us especially during these trying times. Thanks Laura i needed that wakeup call, that's for sure.

Now back to reading.

Edit: grammar.
 

Yas

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There is also something about the idea that love is mostly something that you do, rather than what you feel.

For me, that was the main theme of the novel Dancing With Clara.

I finished it too this week and it was beautiful indeed. I must admit that sometimes I felt my hart sinking for the characters who were suffering quite a lot in some parts of the story, but then, there was also sweetness and joy... and a good ending, of course.

Certainly, what the story shows is that love can grow when you really want the best for the person. Even if things start for 'wrong reasons', so to say, love can grow because there's the intention to make the other person happy, to be kind to one another. It grows from doing what is best for the other person. And also from knowing the other person, because it is only possible when we see beyond ourselves and discover that there's another person in front of us, with his/her own suffering, perspective, mistakes, guilt, history. That's also a theme in this story.

It was also beautiful to see how that intention brought purpose to Freddie's life and the necessary awareness of the fact that he had to change his ways, because he started to truly care, though it took time for him to realize that what was growing inside of him was love. The sense of purpose and caring became precious to him, so Clara became precious too. And finally, they had to really know each other, to disclose their true feelings so that they could finally really come together.

I'm looking forward to Tempting Harriet now, I wonder what her story will be about.
 
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