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In my fourth year of life, I learnt a very valuable lesson: not to do anything by half.
First, there was the ‘hair-dressing incident’, where I stealthily managed to get hold of a rather enormous pair of scissors. Always forbidden, nothing says power like a pair of scissors to a little girl…and so, I proceeded to cut off all the hair I could see. Half of it. My mother was absolutely devastated – my hair, you see, grew rather slowly and I had spent most of my life mistaken for a little boy.
A few weeks later, there was the ‘knicker-less’ incident. At four years old, I had deemed myself quite capable of getting myself ready for school…and one morning, with too little time and too much pride to ask for help, I decided to sacrifice a garment of clothing. It couldn’t have been the dress, so the knickers had to go. A slightly less glamorous and utterly mortifying Marilyn Monroe moment ensued in the playground – and let me tell you, I learnt my lesson.
For, doing something half-heartedly is never as effective as the whole. Whether it is truth or love, if it’s one-sided, it can never represent the entirety. It can be persuasive, it can be forceful…but it will always lack the credibility and power available if both sides are presented. In life, there are two sides to every story – but crucially, there are two sides to every love story. The hero’s perspective is just as important in relating the progression of emotions as the heroine’s, and vice versa. As editors, we’re always striving for that balance – even if one voice is given greater page space, the significance of the other must always be felt equal.
However, from time to time an author lends a greater bias to either the hero or heroine’s account of events. By doing so, the author has the opportunity to create a sense of misunderstanding between the characters, and to develop and play out those emotions of betrayal which otherwise would be too dark for redemption. For if the hero and heroine are to have their happy-ever-after, they must always be redeemable. The author takes these characters to the brink of destruction, driving them to the very limits of human emotion and yet the fraying, invisible threads of their love hold strong, pulling one another back from the precipice.
Occasionally we believe the hero or heroine has betrayed their partner, only to discover that their treachery was actually the ultimate sacrifice. These characters are prepared to give up their own happiness, their own chance of love, in order that their beloved survives. Here, the betrayal is defined by its motivation and intention, and there is surely nothing so noble.
In Scars of Betrayal by Sophia James (Historical, June 2014) Cassandra Northrup had always believed Nathaniel dead…until now. Once she had loved him, given herself to him in the depths of the snow-covered Pyrenees. But then she had betrayed him. Relief at the sight of Nathaniel turns to darkest shame as Cassie sees the hate in his eyes. Years have passed, and their physical scars have faded, but the pain runs deeper than ever. Yet passion can be born out of betrayal – and as desire crackles between them once more, will Cassie reveal the secret she’s long kept hidden?
Sometimes, the most passionate love affairs are born out of the darkest of secrets. But fundamentally, it requires both sides of the story to surface, in order for the truth to finally be revealed in its entirety. And it’s only in revealing the truth that the hero and heroine allow themselves to fall unreservedly, irreversibly and absolutely wholeheartedly, in love.
With truth, comes true love…and true love means never having to say you’re sorry.
So tell us, when did you first learn not to do anything by half…?