Early this morning around 3 a.m. I spent the hour crying and crying, couldn't stop. No, it wasn't due to personal or physical pain, it wasn't heartbreak, it wasn't sad news I'd just received ... it was due to the novel WINTER GARDEN.
Kristin Hannah held me to the end in this fabulous bestseller of hers. Two stories in one: a story layered upon a story but ending together at the same point in time. I didn't see what was coming until the last few pages, another reason to applaud Ms. Hannah. The mystery held forth till the last.
The tag line on the back of the book was true to form "How can a woman know herself, if she doesn't really know her mother?" Not knowing what to expect, I bought the book on that line itself. Not the cover, not the blurb, not the author, not the title ... it was that one line that reeled me in. And I am so glad it did. For this book was so different and so moving. Definitely set apart from most novels.
One thing it did do, as I said at the beginning of this post, it evoked emotion. Lots of it.
As a writer, that is a big concern in writing a story. The emotion one can pull from the reader. Whether it is elation, anger, passion, saddness, inspiration ... one of the primary goals should be giving the reader an emotional experience.
In writing my own novels, I have to admit the writing falls a little short of the tears department, but I believe the inspiration is there, inspiring readers to go for it, to follow their dreams no matter how big or little. And I believe in romance. That's there too. And I believe in truth, that's there too.
But the main advice I would give a beginning writer today is to raise your purpose, write to inspire, even in the darkest mystery and crime novels. We write to entertain, but we can still inspire.
And Kristin Hannah's sub-story was about family interaction and relationships, but was as entertaining and emotion provoking as all get out. Terrific novel!
PUBLISHER WEEKLY SEZ:
"Female bonding is always good for a good cry, as Hannah (True Colors ) proves in her latest. Pacific Northwest apple country provides a beautiful, chilly setting for this family drama ignited by the death of a loving father whose two daughters have grown apart from each other and from their acid-tongued, Russian-born mother. After assuming responsibility for the family business, 40-year-old empty-nester Meredith finds it difficult to carry out her father's dying wish that she take care of her mother; Meredith's troubled marriage, her troubled relationship with her mother and her mother's increasingly troubled mind get in the way. Nina, Meredith's younger sister, takes a break from her globe-trotting photojournalism career to return home to do her share for their mother. How these three women find each other and themselves with the help of vodka and a trip to Alaska competes for emotional attention with the story within a story of WWII Leningrad. Readers will find it hard not to laugh a little and cry a little more as mother and daughters reach out to each other just in the nick of time."