Tag: Love Triangles

Review: Summer of Two Wishes by Julia London (with spoilers)

Posted August 18, 2009 by Casee in Reviews | 11 Comments

Casee‘s review of Summer of Two Wishes by Julia London.

Whose wife was she?

Macy Lockhart’s life shattered in a moment with the news that her husband, Finn — serving in the military overseas — has been killed in the line of duty. Their ardent and devoted marriage is over, leaving Macy alone, empty, directionless. But while she tries to sustain herself with memories of Finn, the quiet, strong man who made her and their small Texas ranch the center of his life, it is wealthy Wyatt Clark who slowly brings joy back into her life. Her love for Wyatt may be less romantic than the breathless passion she’d once shared with Finn, but she vows to cherish him, and their marriage is happy and as solid as a rock. Until the day that Finn, miraculously spared from death, returns home to claim his bride….

Okay, I keep saying that I’m not fond of love triangles. Yet here I am again, with another one. Honestly the love triangles that are the most emotional to read are when both of the men are good heroes. Srsly. It makes it verrah sad b/c you know that one of these two men (who are both in love with the heroine) is going to get his heart broken.

Spoiler alert: There will be lots of spoilers ahead, including who Macy ends up with.

When Macy’s husband is killed in Iraq, it takes her a long time to pick up the pieces. Wyatt Clark was a big part of that. When she married him, they both knew that she didn’t love him the same way she loved Finn Lockhart, but they were both okay with that. Wyatt was in love with Macy and he was content that Macy loved him in return. The fact that she didn’t love him the same way didn’t much bother him. Until her husband returns from the dead.

Finn was a prisoner of the Taliban for three years before he escaped. All he is looking forward to is going home, getting his wife, and starting his life right where he left off. That’s a problem when he discovers that Macy has remarried. Not only that, but she isn’t sure that she should leave Wyatt at all.

I think that Julia London did a spectacular job of writing the inner turmoil that Macy went through. Finn was the one and three years hasn’t changed that. But she also loves Wyatt and can’t easily set that aside. It’s apparent from early on who she is going to choose. Still, getting to the point where she can actually say it out loud is another story.

The book really was sad. Macy didn’t want to hurt Wyatt, but she doesn’t want to dissolve her marriage to Finn. There’s a point when Wyatt realizes Macy has chosen that he turns into a real dick. He ends up making up for it, but it was still very sad. At the end of the book, JL said she was writing another Cedar Creek book. I only hope that Wyatt gets his happily ever after.

3.75 out of 5.

This book is available from Pocket Star. You can buy it here.

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Toni McGee Causey: Love Triangles

Posted August 4, 2009 by Casee in Promotions | 9 Comments

Toni McGee Causey is here today to celebrate the release of her new book, When a Man Loves a Weapon. It is book three in the Bobbie Faye series. There is a sort of love triangle in this series, so Toni is going to talk about love triangles in general, something most readers love to hate.

When Casee first asked me to blog, we were emailing specifically about love triangles—the pros and cons. I think Casee had just finished CHARMED AND DANGEROUS and saw that there was a potential triangle starting at the end of that first book in the series, and she was concerned.

And frankly, I don’t blame her. I agreed, in fact, that there was a good reason for concern.

Sounds like a crazy thing for a writer who developed a triangle to say? A triangle can be the singular worst idea for a story, in fact. But I have one. How’s that for contradictory?

Okay, to explain, now that I’ve probably thoroughly confused everyone.

Let’s look at a few reasons why triangles are often introduced:

1. need to increase tension in the main couple – introduce risk of them not getting together
2. need to introduce a “villain” so that the hero can look like a good choice
3. desire to show the heroine as attractive
4. desire for the heroine to perceive herself as attractive (one guy could be a fluke! Two must “mean something” surely?)
5. back story

Now, in and of themselves, every one of the above can be a legitimate reason for a triangle, but without depth and breadth, they can come across as superficial. As a reason to show that the characters involved are Hot! Hot! with extra Hot! on top. The problem is that without delving more into the choice of why include a triangle, a writer runs the risk of being predictable: yeah yeah, we get it, they’re hot, she’s going to pick the one who’s best for her, get it over with already. The other problem? All of these reasons are easy. They are skimming along the surface of the lake, barely dipping the oars in. (There is just no way that’s not going to sound dirty, is there?) These reasons are pasted on from the outside—they’re about what the writer wants to accomplish.

What they’re not about (at least, not yet), is the character. Who she is and why is she in this place, right now, where she has two choices? That gets sticky—and tougher to write.

Because really, how does a character juggle two people without being a self-centered ass? That’s a hard balance to strike, if the character is the kind of person we’d want to be around for any length of time. Can someone really and truly love two people at once? If so, how? Why? What is it about them that is making it difficult for them to make this choice? Is that their fault? The fault of the men involved? Some combination?

This is where triangles start getting interesting.

They are about the road not taken. It’s a theme we all know, from every walk of life, whether we’ve had to make a choice between two people or two careers or two different places to live. Who will I be if I make this choice? Or that one? Who will I become? Who do I want to be? Why? How do I make this choice? Why isn’t it simple?

Story = character in conflict.

Conflict = choice and ramifications.

It’s the ramification part that a lot of love triangles leave out, which, honestly, feels superficial to me. Without ramifications, there are no stakes, and without stakes, there is no real tension. There’s a temporary feel of stress, maybe, of waiting for the character to go ahead and make the choice so that all ends well, but it’s not real tension, there’s no real jeopardy in the reader’s mind if there aren’t real ramifications to the character making the choice.

Without real stakes, the story isn’t memorable. The characters aren’t memorable.

Love triangles should only be there because there’s no way to write the story without them. These characters in this particular moment with this high-pressure fulcrum of choice bearing down on them—and who they are and what they’ll become at risk. Triangles illuminate all sorts of character flaws, successes, failures—and forces the characters into a situation where some choice has to be made.

When I started writing Bobbie Faye, I knew she was a magnet for crazy, chaotic events, and I knew she had her own absurd sense of humor, but I also knew she had been reacting quite a bit from the circumstances in her life. She hasn’t been in control of the crazy—and I wanted to put her under extreme pressure: two people love her. She loves them—albeit differently. How does she handle that? What are the ramifications of her choice? Not only that, but what are the ramifications of how she understands herself once she’s made the choice?

Why was the road not taken… the one not taken? How does that change us, when we start to understand that?

Who we were vs. what we will become.

This is why I wrote about that potential triangle.

With, I hope, a lot of laughs and heart along the way.

The third book of the trilogy – WHEN A MAN LOVES A WEAPON – is out (today! Tuesday!) – and there are choices made. And ramifications. (And some crazy stuff with a chicken foot.) (Don’t say you weren’t warned.) I hope you’ll check them out, and let me know if you agree with the choices—or the ramifications—in Bobbie Faye’s crazy (very crazy) world.

Stay tuned for a fabulous contest! We have lots of copies to giveaway.

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