I’ve been a big romance reader since I was in my teens – originally because my mother banned them from the house. What better way to pique a teenage girl’s interest? But I’d never cottoned to Harlequins (okay, I confess, I read all of Nora’s Silhouettes, but no one else’s.) But lately I’ve started reading them as part of my writing growth. You may remember a while back I blogged about discovering Molly O’Keefe’s Baby Makes Three, and A Man Worth Keeping. These stories had plot. They had flawed characters. They had normal people – not billionaires but working class people I could relate to. There was a line in A Man Worth Keeping that just hit me between the eyes and I wrote Molly a note of thanks and appreciation for the book.

I had the opportunity to do that again the other day, only this time the note was sent to CJ Carmichael – another Canadian author – for her Star-Crossed Parents.

Who says history can’t repeat itself?

Few people can say they’re starring in a real-life version of Romeo and Juliet. And single mom Leigh Hartwell certainly doesn’t want to play the role of disapproving mother. But when her daughter runs off to New Hampshire for a boy she’s met over the Internet, it’s a discomfiting reminder of Leigh’s own past…

Now admittedly, I got the book a while ago, and it’s sat on my TBR pile. I think because somewhat unconsciously I didn’t want to read it. Why? Because I think it hit a little too close to home and was ‘a discomfiting reminder.’. You see, a little over two years ago, my just-turned 18 year old niece ran off to the States to meet up with someone she’d met over the internet.

There’s a huge backstory behind my niece’s departure which although the manner was similar, the reasons differ from SCP – most of which I found out months later – and I won’t get into it here. But like Molly’s A Man Worth Keeping, certain parts of Ms. Carmichael’s story made me want to take the book and hand it to my single-mom sister and say “Read this!” Some of Leigh’s reactions mirror my sister’s reactions/actions – essentially the “just because you’re 18, you haven’t a clue about life. I’m your mother, you will do what I say” stance. I’m also pretty sure that my niece was reacting in the same way Taylor, Leigh’s daughter, reacted – causing her to dig herself in deeper when she hadn’t intended to.

In Star-Crossed Parents, luckily for both Leigh and Taylor, they grow. They learn about each other, and themselves. My sister and her daughter? Not seeing a lot of growth there from either of them. My sister wouldn’t read SCP if I handed it to her anyway – and if she did, she wouldn’t see herself or the message in it, she’s too entrenched in her own position. Maybe in time, she’ll exhibit the character growth we, as authors, are expected to give our characters.

But I’m not holding my breath.

Star Crossed Parents by CJ Carmichael
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4 thoughts on “Star Crossed Parents by CJ Carmichael

  • June 19, 2008 at 5:37 am

    I’m a perfect example of that teen who needed to get away from a ‘domineering’ mother. My avenue – get involved with a much older man who was going to ‘take me away’ from it all.

    He did, and it was six years before I was able to shake him.

    What a little freedom and level headed parenting would have done for me.

  • June 19, 2008 at 5:41 am

    It’s the ‘level-headed parenting’ that’s the key phrase here, Marley. My sister is anything but level-headed when it comes to her daughter, unfortunately. And her daughter reflects that right back at her.

  • June 19, 2008 at 7:35 am

    Hi Leah,
    Thanks for telling me about your blog. I’m a fan of Molly’s books, too. She’s a really talented storyteller and a fun, energetic person as well. As for learning when to let go…I don’t think it’s easy for any parent. I’m in that exact situation now as my youngest daughter just turned 18. Now I have to take my own advice!

    Thanks for discussing my book, and these important topics on your blog.

    All the best,

  • June 19, 2008 at 5:05 pm

    I’ll have to see if I can get that online somewhere.

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