by Lea Darragh
It wasn’t always books that lured me into the delicious world of romance, or writing for that matter. Stories of lovers are sometimes enticed from watching people. Listening to and absorbing the inner workings of the mind, the language of the heart that isn’t always decipherable to those who don’t pay attention.
And sometimes it’s music. A song playing over the speaker system as you drive to and from a life you begrudge because you’d rather be spilling your every romantic thought onto a page. A line written in beautiful scripture that even though it was barely five words long, still transported you to a story that completely overtook you.
For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams…And all I loved, I loved alone…All my soul within me burning…But we loved with a love that was more than love – I and my Annabel Lee…
Poe is gorgeously bewildering, and incredibly inspiring to say the least. As simple a kiss, I was addicted.
That’s not to say that I never felt so compelled to tell a story based solely on a book I couldn’t put down, or a hero I was easily intrigued by. That absolutely happened. Many times. Most notable was, or is, my obsession with one book in particular. The Bronze Horseman – Paullina Simons.
I’m convinced I sound like a broken record when I say this, but that’s how this book left me; completely wrung out, emotionally and mentally. Broken. And I loved every second of Tatiana and Alexander’s story, but more than that, I was in awe of the way words strategically arranged on a page can draw out every single emotion a person can feel. How wonderfully creative.
I wanted to do that, to provoke thoughts we may not have otherwise entertained, or challenge views and morals we think are unbreakable, so ingrained in us that we’ll never be swayed. I wanted to push boundaries that The Bronze Horseman so easily pushed with me. It’s the number one book I would recommend for its deep and intense romantic themes, as well as being written in a way that has the reader believing, because, though it’s fictionalised, it’s based on true moments in history. It could be real. And that’s what we want when we read, isn’t it? To believe any one of us could have played these roles.
From a writer’s perspective, a gateway into romance, or any other genre, won’t always come from a book, or even from any of the reasons I’ve shared. It’s a subjective compulsion. A deep-seated need to get out what is trapped within us. Maybe it’s a cathartic experience, which it most often is with me. Whichever way the fiercely defiant monster is awakened, go with it on its journeys. It’ll take you places you never thought were possible. And from a reader’s perspective, if a friend offers a book and tells you your life will never be the same after having read it, believe them. Despite the fact that if I had picked up the book and looked over the cover, turning it in my palm to scan the blurb, finding it as bland as I first did, essentially judging it by its cover, I would never have then segued into the romance world. It changed my life. I hope it changes yours.
Happy reading : ))
Lea Darragh’s latest book explores the healing power of forgiveness and love in unexpected places.