Tuesday, February 8, 2005

Fantastic Book Alert!

What are you doing reading my stupid little blog? Don't you know you have to go the bookstore! Any bookstore, take your pick!

I have just read the most fantastic book, and I'm fairly gushing over it. So brace yourself, you'll probably get very sick of me before this is all done.

I have just finished Prairie Wife by Cheryl St. John, a February Harlequin Historical, and it is simply the best book I have read in a long, long time. A true keeper - and it's been damn near forever since I've had one of those. St. John can always be counted on to write an emotional, heart-felt story, and she pulled out all the stops with this one.

Jesse and Amy Shelby had a happy marriage. A true love match, they live in Nebraska and run a way station to serves travelers heading west by stagecoach. Then their 3-year-old son, Tim, dies tragically and everything changes.

Instead of dealing with her grief, Amy shuts down emotionally. She keeps busy with work, and closes herself off to all those around her. She erects barriers so she doesn't have to feel anything, especially pain.

Jesse wants to grieve over their loss. He wants to hold his wife, make love with her, and talk with her. But Amy has distanced herself and Jesse has no idea how to reach her. So when she repeatedly pushes him away, he finds solace in a whiskey bottle.

What I loved about this book is that the author writes with an aching subtlety. She shows you what the characters are going through, and how their coping methods are doing futher damage. She doesn't beat you over the head with the internal struggles, instead showing them during the course of everyday life. When external conflict arrives, the characters begin to realize what a mess their marriage is and that they need to do something in order for it to survive.

I tend to avoid "marriage in trouble" plots in a big way - but I love westerns and I've really enjoyed St. John's work in the past. I'm glad I threw caution to the wind and bought this book over the weekend. I'm even happier that I decided to read it now and didn't leave it languishing in my TBR for eons. It's really a beautiful story. Simply breathtaking.

I'm not a crier when it comes to emtional books (I'll bawl at movies though - I'll admit it) but this story just about damn near ripped my heart out. It's been a long, long, long time since I've read a story this resonant and powerful. Please consider giving it a shot.

And that is our gushing moment for today....

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