...just itching and crying to see what the hell's gonna happen next!
That's how it was for me with the novel Counting Raindrops Through a Stained Glass Window by Cherlyn Michaels.
This is the story of Vanella Morris, a modern-day career woman who's an executive at a Japenese firm in Cleveland, Ohio. She has the perfect life: great income, great condomiunim, nice car, etc.
She also has the perfect man, the sexy Alton Goode. He dotes on her and treats her like she is Queen of the world.
They are so in love (Awwww....how sweet).
Alton even gets down on one knee and asks Vanella to marry her. (Gee! How romantic!!)
Life is just so perfect for Vanella...
...until Alton proposes to her.
From here, the author takes the oh-so-worn-out-cliche (boy meets girl, boy falls in love with girl, boy marries girl, boy and girl ride off on a white horse into the sunset) and destroys it with a sledge hammer!!!!
The problem is that Vanella Morris has commitment phobia. You see, she knows all the marriage statistics verbatim. Most of her friends have been divorced or are having a rough time in their marriage. She's always been the one they call upon when they need a shoulder to cry on. And to top it off, she has grown up in a dysfunctional household.
Therefore, in a nutshell, her view of marriage?
Marriage is not a good thing.
She suggests to Alton, the perfect male specimen, who's ready for a family and old-fashioned commitment, that they should live together. That way the relationship would stay wonderful.
Oh my... that was the wrong thing to say.
This novel goes on from there to explore the "why" of why Vanella has developed such attitudes about marriage. Through interactions with her friends and her immediate family, the reader gets a good picture of why she believes what she believes. Vanella has allowed her past experiences to shape her beliefs. So where does Vanella go from here? Is she justified in having the beliefs that she has? I won't say anymore than that. You'll have to pick the book up to find out what happens.
What makes this book interesting is that it was a twist on the usual commitment tale, where this time, it is a woman, and not a man, who has commitment jitters. I can't recall reading another story with this theme or plot. Yes, It was a truly original story.
Plus, the author's writing style is... I don't know...stunning, engrossing, vivid, breath-taking, intriguing, magical... orgasmic. Cherlyn Michaels does some beautiful, almost spooky stuff with description, visualization, and character development. Sort of like how the author Tayari Jones does unimaginable, deep-off-the-pages acrobatics with a metaphor or simile. To be honest, it's almost indescribable. Then, to top it off, the author adds twists and turns to an already highly original storyline. Then she takes the turns and twist them up just a little bit more. This is the first book I've ever read where the author pulled me so, so, so deep into the story that I became the main character, feeling what the main character feels. I cried a couple of times, to the point where I had to put the book down and go somewhere and collect myself. I even got really pissed off a couple of times, to the point where I had to remind myself that it is just a story. All in all, it is a wonderful story which made me think, and challenged me to reexamine what has shaped my own beliefs all these years...
This book is definitely a must read. It was moving, deeply emotional, and thought-provoking.
All I have to say is...
Go out and get it.
And get it real soon.
Trust me...You won't regret it...