Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A Truly Adult Love Story: "A Godsend" by Dalma Heyn & Richard Marek

Does love as we once knew it still exist? In our age of Twitter, texting, sexting, iPhones and Facebook, can two adults – he a West Coast book anthologist, she a Vermont maple sugar farmer – fall in love the old-fashioned way, through meeting, attraction, lust, adversity, resolution? No, says Jove, God of Gods. Yes, says his son, the God of Love, whose career depends on it. Jove allows him only one intervention to effectuate the passionate, iffy romance between Evan Cameron and Eve Golyakovsky, whose life experiences make them wary of giving themselves to one another, and he blows it. Because of an ice storm that threatens to destroy Eve’s maple trees, and Evan’s ex-girlfriend’s illness that compels him to take her in, their love for each other is about to implode. The God of Love is now powerless to intercede. But the soul of a man and the heart of a woman are stronger even than the will of the Gods, and the result is a love story for this day and for time immemorial.

Few of us can remember when romance was conducted long distance by letter. I remember commenting to some younger members of my family that they would have literally "died on the vine" if they would have had to wait for answers to their letters as I did when my hubby was stationed in Europe just a month after we married. It seemed like the spaces between the arrival of those letters--and he wasn't much of a letter writer to begin with--seemed interminable. I am delighted that our military and other families who are distanced from one another have Skype and email and overseas cell phone service, etc. But in former times, romance was carried out in much different fashion.

This novel takes all that electronic stuff out of the equation and brings in the presence of the gods--most especially Cupid and Jove, to be specific. And as it turns out, Evan and Eve are both quite technologically challenged comparatively, and their romance which begins under some unusual circumstances to begin with, is carried on with the written word. But even for Evan, writing his own words are difficult when it comes to his own feelings. And the joke in that? Evan is a published writer with the task of writing a sensitive and literary introduction to a collection of some of the world's most intense love letters. He's not above borrowing words and phrases--whole sections--of letters by Robert Browning and Keats and Beethoven. That backfires, too. And with Cupid's hands tied and his freedom to intervene seriously curtailed, this turns out to be a love story that full of the passion of new love and the frustration of miscommunication, jealousy, old loves, betrayal, and on and on. All that human stuff that gets in the way of love's bloom more often than not.

I think this story has a wonderful message--and I really don't know if the authors intended a "message" as such, but it spoke to me loud and clear. Having grown up in the letter-writing era (and I still cherish a few boxes of some really spectacular fancy stationery), I have a deep appreciation for the speed with which we humans can correspond and connect locally as well as around the world. But when it comes to love, to nurturing a deep and abiding friendship that matures into lasting love, there is something to be said for taking one's time, for allowing the relationship to grow at its own pace, to become something precious as in a well-aged wine or a wonderful cheese whose flavor is never fully developed without sufficient time. Cell phones and email are wonderful and Lord knows I certainly am hamstrung when the internet goes down. But I think my one great romance is all the better for the time it took to become what it did, and I still have those letters and a poem or two, a short, two-paragraph essay that I take out and read every once in a while and savor the joy of it all over again. I know I can print off the emails--we don't take the time to do that much, either.

This is a compelling love story that has the reader joyful at one point and grieving at another, wondering if these two will ever get past the hurt and wounds, the misunderstandings and the behind-the-scenes betrayal. I was deeply touched when Evan just got in his car and drove all the way across the country just to connect again with Eve. This story is an emotional roller coaster and the reader will experience every moment of joy and pain. It's just that well written. Both these writers have significant writing credits and are published internationally. They both know what they are doing and have collaborated to give the romance-loving readers a wonderful book. I hope you will seek it out and enjoy it as much as I did. I give it a rating of 4.5 out of 5.

This novel was released by Amory New Media in October, 2011.

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