My parents came out of World War I, lived much of their formative years during the Great Depression, and married just before World War II. These times shaped them and, ultimately, shaped me as well. Is it any wonder I love writing “vintage” books?
Where Is Papa’s Shining Star? actually began as a thinly-veiled re-telling of a tragic family story which I found out about totally by accident. I never told my mother I
knew about it, but I made several surreptitious trips to her hometown to do some research. I found nothing. The event had happened, but records had either been sanitized or not kept at all.
So the book went through many, many re-writes before it finally found its way to The Wild Rose Press and ultimately to editor Nan Swanson’s desk. The story was supposed to end with the final page, but almost as soon as edits began, I found myself creating a second volume—the rest of the story so to speak—with Finding Papa’s Shining Star.
When I look back at them now, I understand how limited their audience truly is. In a way, I’m an anachronism in today’s writing world. The dialogue, the muted passion, the all-important behavioral etiquette which is anything but important today. So while one might say, “It’s a good story,”, it’s definitely not a best-seller.
One reviewer proclaimed indignantly, “There are no sex scenes!” Where did she miss the desire, the passion, the teeming emotions so difficult to keep in control, the necessity to survive in spite of everything? Human nature was then what it is today and will, I suspect, always be.
Still, The Shining Star Books resonate with me and others of my “ilk”. In many ways they portray a kinder, gentler time soon to be forgotten—or perhaps it already is. It’s true there’s nothing new under the sun, and the books’ characters find themselves embroiled in situations still happening today. Perhaps it’s their creator’s approach to these situations which doesn’t ring true in contemporary literature.
Nevertheless, it’s possible to fall in love with Alan and Lenore and later with Annie and David; to grieve their losses and applaud their triumphs; to believe in spite of everything they’ll find their HEA.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
A wealthy businessman, blinded in World War I, falls in love with the woman he hires as his personal assistant during the Depression—and finds her secrets may destroy their chance at happiness.
She didn’t appear for breakfast, but she was waiting by the door at the appointed time for leaving. “You’ve had no breakfast,” he said.
“I wasn’t hungry.”
“I see.” He opened the door and let her precede him to the car under the porte cochere.
They’d driven several blocks in silence when she said, “Mr. Ashley, I really should make other living arrangements.”
He knew why, but he asked anyway, adding, “I thought we’d settled all that. I find it convenient for you to live in and don’t wish to make a change.”
“Mr. Ashley, it’s not…”
“We’re both adults, Miss Seldon. I am a man, and you are a woman. We shared a brief kiss in the spirit of the moment.”
“It shouldn’t have happened.”
“Was it so repulsive to you?”
“No, but it shouldn’t have happened.”
“Actually, it was quite nice,” he interrupted. “It might even happen again.”
“I’m not Elise Mayhew.”
“No, thank God. Can’t we put that behind us? She’s gone off again to who knows where, according to Sam. I won’t mention where he said he hoped she’d gone to.”
“I mean you can’t play with me as you might have played with her.”
“Played with her? If you mean were we intimate, no, we weren’t, though I’m sure she considered it more than once. I might have considered it, too.”
“Mr. Ashley, please.”
“I keep forgetting you don’t think in those terms.”
“The arrangement was questionable from the beginning.”
Judy Nickles also writing as Gwyneth Greer
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