Have you ever felt the sting of a wounded heart years after love’s counterfeit has passed from your life? Most of us — unless we married our first love, and early in life, can relate to this.
In her book The Night’s Dark Shade, Elena Maria Vidal explores this subject through an unexpected perspective: the Cathars of 13th century France. Check out my review of the book posted today at Catholic Exchange. Vidal, whose novels Madame Royale and Trianon have already gained her a loyal following, especially among Catholic history lovers, will appreciate this glimpse into another era of Church history that bears uncanny similarities to our own.
If you’d like to order the book, you may do so through Amazon.com or autographed copies through the author’s website.
When I picked up this book at the library the other day, it was in the “junior” section. I saw it was an adventure story about to kids who are adopted by an older couple, and who set out on an adventure — the girl canoeing with the old man, the boy hiking with the old woman. And since I’ve been looking for good books to help engage my nine-year-old with the wonders of reading, I picked it up.
“Ruby Holler is the beautiful, mysterious place …” And indeed the author, Newbery Medal winner Sharon Creech has painted an unforgettable portrait of two unloved children (“trouble twins” Dallas and Florida) who are given a chance for a real family. My twitchy nine-year-old sat still, with rapt attention, as the story unfolded.
As the past heartache and abuse that the two children had endured is described in painful (yet faithfully from a child’s POV) detail. But as I read, I was the one who was squirming … What would it do to my kids to hear about these children who, just like them and their siblings, had endured such a painful past?
I stopped reading. Christopher protested. “Keep going, Mom! I want to know what happens to those kids!”
It’s what every mom hopes for … to get her child engrossed in a story like this. But as every parent knows, the fact that a child wants to see, or hear, or experience something doesn’t mean he or she is old enough to handle it. And so I closed the book and suggested a game of Monopoly (Christopher’s favorite).
That night, I finished the book myself. And I wished I’d read it sooner — before we got our kids, for example. In this story, two veteran and elderly parents welcome two “trouble twins” from the local children’s home into their home, and give a fresh start. In these pages, I was reminded how a little kindness and understanding can form a lasting bond of love, and start the healing process for a child wounded by parents who were less than extraordinary.
Thanks, Mrs. Creech, for this timely reminder.