I’ve been a voracious reader since I learned to read. Picking through all the stories to find my favorite hero or heroine is not going to be easy. For one thing, my memory is shot! In spite of that, there are a few who stick out in my mind over the years and they are familiar and probably typical. (smiley face) The four are my favorite reads of all times.
Olan – The Good Earth by Pearl Buck
The nameless bride in Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
Jo in Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Corinne in We Were the Mulvaneys by Joyce Carol Oates
There is something about each character that effected me and not always positively. In The Good Earth, the abused, unattractive servant Olan is given to poor farmer, Wang Lung as his bride. Buck described her as plodding and dumb, and then from time to time glimpses of a different Olan peeked through. I wished she’d been given the opportunity on more than a handful of occasions to show her true intelligence and cunning. Brutal though it was to read, killing her newborn when Olan knew her chances of survival were slim during the famine was the act of a desperate mother who was able to plan. Or when they fled to the city, she taught her sons to beg to survive. Finally stealing the handful of jewels from the hiding place in the wall of the palace opened the door for her husband to acquire abundant wealth in his lifetime.
What can I say about my number one favorite, Rebecca? We know right away that a book titled with the late wife’s name but leaving the new wife unnamed that she’d better get the hell out of there. The poor, unattractive girl who had the misfortune of catching the eye of the rich Max DeWinter! That life of regimentation and judgment! I don’t care how rich and handsome the guy was, he was a creep. I’d like to rewrite it where she runs from Manderley, or when Mrs. Danvers talks down to her like a dog her husband steps in and fires her.
I still have my first copy of Little Women, a cheap hardcover I bought for myself with saved up allowance from the dime store, and it’s marked up with my childish cursive. Jo was an enigma, even to me as an eight year old girl. I knew there was something about her that should have precluded marriage to the aging professor. It was creepy! Jo was a victim of her times. She should have been free to go to the city, become a best selling author, and find a female lover and partner.
Corinne Mulvaney still haunts me. I blame her for the eventual demise of her family. I cried, “fight, woman, fight for your family!” I don’t remember enough to explain why it had that effect on me, and I don’t to reread it. That book ruined a vacation for me. It was the best, saddest, most compelling, maddening novel I have ever read.
In my book, Pam of Babylon, readers either hate Pam for her passive acceptance, or love her, finding those qualities admirable. When I wrote it, the first thing that came to me was the scene in which she embraces her late husband’s beautiful mistress who saw his body before Pam did. Lol! Eighteen novels later, she’s finally finding her voice. Will the answer be yes or no?
Tomorrow, September 25th, is release day of my new romantic suspense novel, Esmeralda’s Happy Time Cabin for Lost Hikers. Kelly and Jeff Fairchild live a charmed life in their renovated Victorian mansion in the Jersey suburbs. Wall Street traders with a golden touch, they plan their vacations with the same detail and finesse used with their deals on Wall Street. The next big outing is a hiking trip on an island in the Canadian Muskoka. Everything is perfection, from the brand name of their hiking boots, to their silk long johns. Nothing can go wrong, right?