Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Learning by Reading

The Soldier’s Homecoming by Donna Alward
M&B Romance, 2008

I stick to the Historical line (usually) but picked this one off the shelf because the author’s name is one I recognise, and I’m trying to get a better grasp of the kind of writing M&B require. I wasn’t disappointed. Ms Alward’s plot is deceptively simple: Jonas and Shannyn part when he joins the army. Two weeks later she discovers she is pregnant, chooses not to tell him, and when he returns six years later, he is a wounded war vet not pleased to discover she has kept his daughter from him.

The plot may be simple, but the conflict is not, and the author depicts it from both sides with absolute fairness. The writing is not showy or over emotional, but I salute it because it selects just the right word for the task. Below is one description that gave me an instant picture of the hero – without using what I call obvious words like pecs, abs or muscles.
“He was wearing trousers but his shirt was missing and he stood before her in an Army-issue T-shirt. And, oh, he filled out every cotton inch. Flat where everything should be flat, a wide chest and broad shoulders that led to arms with muscles that dipped and curved.”

When I reached the end of the story I was surprised at the lack of a final sex scene because that’s what I’m used to in Historicals. But I was not disappointed. I didn’t check the Line before I brought it home, but the Romance Line doesn’t do sex, and if the writing is like Ms Alward’s, it doesn’t need it. The emotion was all there without it – the longing, the wish for closeness, to share, to understand, the fear of hurt. The scene where Jonas finally meets his daughter was short, simple and so touching it brought tears to my eyes. That doesn’t happen often, let me tell you.

I learned a lot from this book. I also enjoyed it as a Good Read. I’m sure you will too.


Donna Alward said...

Jen, MIchelle sent me over and I'm glad she did. I'm so happy you liked TSH. It was a difficult book to write but very close to my heart. It's the first M&B that I set in my hometown, and I did feel the need to do it right.

By the way, that scene where Jonas meets his daughter made me cry when I wrote it as well.

Thanks for the lovely review!

Jen Black said...

Thanks for a lovely read, Donna. If you want to quote me, feel free!
I'll be on the lookout for your next title.