Wednesday, November 17, 2010


In order to gear up for the release of PLAYING HURT (my first YA romance), I’m officially kicking off my celebration of all things romance here on the blog…and I’m starting out with Elin Hilderbrand’s THE BLUE BISTRO…

When I was a little girl grocery shopping with my mom, I insisted on grabbing a new Little Golden Book before she steered the cart toward the check-out. And I still find myself buying books this way—picking up new paperbacks from Walmart or Walgreens or my local Price Cutter when I run in for a gallon of milk or (as has been the case these past few months) house paint…While the selection might not be so widespread as the selections in bookstores, somehow, I still really like to come to books this way—to buy my books in non-book locals. THE BLUE BISTRO was a recent Walmart purchase. (And a book I devoured on the elliptical.)

What I really love about this book is Hilderbrand’s ability to write about a physical location in such a way that the location itself becomes a main character…as I made my way through the chapters, I became so invested in the restaurant—I swear, I could reach out and touch the ambiance—that I found myself, in-between bouts of reading, wondering about the fate of the bistro in the same way I usually wonder about characters I become invested in.

I don’t know that I’ve ever actually had that experience as a reader—being so wrapped up in a book’s setting. I honestly felt that the true romance of the novel—the sparkle, the tingle—existed in that restaurant, just as much as I felt it existed between Thatcher and Adrienne. And when the restaurant was dismantled, I felt that was the real death in the book—as a reader, I mourned for the restaurant just as much as I mourned for its owner, Fiona.

Hildebrand reminds us that location is more than just a two-dimensional backdrop for our characters. Location, when handled right, becomes a breathing entity—a driving force for the plots of our novels.

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