Politics in Romance Novels and a Review of "Shameless" by New York Times BestSelling Author Jennifer Blake
When I was in college, I took a course in play-writing. Though I'd be writing in some form or another all my life, it was some of the most formal education I'd ever received on the subject and one of the things I found most interesting about the class was that the teacher would have us "act out" our plays aloud, with our peers, the writers choosing who would recite the play's various roles. Clearly, this practice enabled the writer to see how her play might sound if it was being acted out by real actors. But what I actually learned from this experience was not to be shy with regard to what I wrote down on paper. As I was often given roles to recite, and the content of the plays written by my peers was typically controversial and promiscuous, I let go of my embarrassment and learned not to hold back, for the sake of a story. In turn, I developed somewhat of a political theme myself in my recent release, An Amorous Dance, as a war wages between theater-owner Hannah Rabourn and stage director Evan Masters, both of whom believe themselves to be the justified party in their battle for control of Rabourn Theater. Jennifer Blake does something similar in Shameless as hero Reid Sayers and heroine Cammie Greenley fight each other for control of a mill, and the development of the land they both love. I will admit that while Ms. Blake has created a story in which the politics of her characters closely correlates with the American politics we're all familiar with, I crafted a unique set of rules more specific to my story and characters, perhaps, intentionally choosing not to go there, or for my characters to go there either.
Jennifer Blake introduces a political angle in this title, which I found very interesting, even reading the story 13 years after it was originally published. Many of this author's titles are historical, whereas this one is a contemporary, set in Ms. Blake's favorite setting of Louisiana. Not a lot has changed since this story was written from where I am standing, but I enjoyed taking a little trip back in time with this book which is filled with beautiful prose and detailed descriptions - Jennifer Blake does these better than any author I know!
Though the premise is a bit corny, and the drama overly-intense at times, I greatly enjoyed this story, which centers around something of a triangle as Cammie battles her abusive ex-husband for control of her life while falling in love all over again with the man she grew up beside who never got away from her. It takes a bit of doing to get there, but the end is very satisfying!