Reviewer Bani Sodermark. Bani has a Ph.D in mathematical physics and has been a teacher of physics and mathematics at the university level in both India and Sweden. For the last decade, her interests have been spirituality, healthy living and self-development. She has written a number of reviews on Amazon. Bani is a mother to two children.
Author: Ruthie Morgan
Publisher: Lucky Arbuckle Publishing
An Extraordinary Love Story
This novel is an extraordinary love story. It documents with keen sensitivity, the dilemma of a young woman with considerable creative talents when forced to confront the reality of babysitting full time for an indefinite period of time, her twin infants, while her dearly beloved husband is always absconding, either at his work at which he is a genius, or otherwise inebriated with alcohol. Finally, when she is near the end of her tether, Fate takes over in a tragic finale. Many women would recognize their own stories in this work of fiction.
Billy May has just finished her graduation and enjoying the aftermath with a pub crawl. This is how she meets Evan Skylark and gets smitten at once. They go to his apartment together and decide that they want to prolong their union indefinitely. Billie is a budding writer, and Evan an artist-cum-engineer. They move to Paris where Evan has been offered a well paid job, one that challenges his creativity, and get married to each other. Billy restricts her career to writing at home.
Thus far, everything is hunky dory for the young couple. But Evan’s propensity for alcohol gets him into trouble with the wife of one of his senior colleagues. He is fired immediately and blacklisted simultaneously from any equivalent job within Europe.
Thereafter, the young couple take a short vacation in Scotland with Billy’s stepfather, before they move to St. Cloud, an island in the South Pacific where Evan is again offered a good job that also fuels his creative instincts. By now, Billy has got pregnant and gives birth to twins. As Evan is very involved with a prestigious project at work that requires all his attention, Billy has to look after the children single handed. The burden of tending to the children, while her husband attends to his professional and alcoholic pursuits, leads to Billie feeling overwhelmed by the hectic pace of events. She resents not finding time for channeling her own creativity and finds comfort in the company of a neighbour called Jack, a stolid, understanding and caring character. Gradually Billie extends her circle as she makes friends with other neighbours and their acquaintances as well. Within these, Evan plays an increasingly peripheral role. At the end, Evan completes his project, but in a spell of misfortune, he is debarred from following up that which he himself had initiated. This is when tragedy strikes and Billy is forced to gather the remaining threads of her life and carry on.
The book has been written in the first person. The text is extremely evocative, one feels one is a bystander, a part of the ongoing events. There is a palpable sense of overwhelm while reading the first part of the book, that events proceed very fast and one has the sense of being carried on a wave, a wave bigger than oneself, demanding attention. This is followed by a sense of retreat, a returning to normalcy, as the couple recuperate in Scotland. Next comes a period of limbo for Billie, of being immersed in domesticity as she takes sole care of the babies. The last period for Billy is a period of waiting, waiting for that elusive something that would unleash her own creativity, perhaps also with the possibility of Evan being more of a normal paterfamilias. The tragic ending that ensues is totally in line with the rest of the story, and yields a modicum of surprise and credibility to an otherwise extremely well written piece of work.
This book is a great read and a fast one too. The sex scenes are relatively detailed and the language a bit profane at times, but these are in keeping with the requirements of modern speech today, As mentioned earlier, many overworked career women would empathize with this “Gone with the Wind” kind of ending. Kudos to Ruthie Morgan for this debut work of fiction.