Monday, March 05, 2012

The Rose of Winslow Street

My New Year's Resolution for 2012 was to start doing things instead of wanting to do things. A week ago, my family went to a hockey game, and last Friday, we went to see comedian Gabriel Iglesias. It's part of my desire to stop letting life pass me by.

I really started thinking about it at the hockey game. A young girl was sitting near us, and I noticed during the game that she was unengaged. My daughter, Mia, was excitedly following the puck across the ice, jumping up and down, and screaming for our team. But this girl sat quietly. She was watching the game, but she wasn't a part of it, and I saw something of myself in her. I realized that for much of my life, I have been an observer rather than an experiencer. As an only child, I have all of the tendencies they tend to, plus, I'm very introverted. Even at 38, I'm more comfortable with my own company than anyone else's. I've learned to put myself out there when I need to; my job requires me to speak in public and lead meetings, and I've become good at it. But it's an effort, not natural, like my husband. Jesse is very extroverted and comfortable in large groups of people. He, by nature, experiences life, and doesn't always understand my tendency to observe instead.

Watching this little girl made me sad for her (and me!). Around her, the crowd was on its feet, shrieking for joy, and she sat quietly, watching the game, watching the crowd, but uninvolved in the excitement. It made me jump and scream all the harder that night, and I've thought about it often in the days since. (Isn't it ironic that I observed her observing and then internalized that?) I don't want to miss any more opportunities for real living. Unfortunately, because of my illness, there are days I do miss out, and I will continue to do so, probably as long as I live. On the days I am capable, however, I plan to do and to be.

The Rose of Winslow Street by Elizabeth Camden is a historical romance with drama and humor. Libby Sawyer's life is steady, not wonderful, but routine, and she's learned to be happy within her small town of Colden, Massachusetts. She lives alone with her father and uses her artistic talent to help him plan and detail his many inventions, despite her secret that has kept her from finding a husband. When she and her father go on summer vacation on the coast, their home is taken over by Michael Dobrescu of Romania, who lays claim to their home and is desperate to keep it as a home for his family. Michael is quickly at odds with the people of Colden who wage war on the intruder, but Libby sees the family's isolation and at first reaches out out of charity, but soon finds herself fitting into this family better than she has ever fit into her own. Both Michael and Libby have secrets that make for convenient misunderstandings, but they have quick chemistry. As a reader, I never took to Michael. Camden spends far too much time describing his bulging muscles, and I have to admit, I was a bit disappointed in Libby for allowing his physical beauty to blind her to his other flaws. The story is a bit over the top, but despite the occasional dark turns, Camden keeps it light with a touch of humor which kept me turning the pages to see what would happen next.

Thank you to Bethany House for providing me with a copy of this book for review!