I write medieval romance. I am not naive, I know that I write romance and I intentionally avoid much of the ugliness that was ever-present then.
Why? Because the world we live in is full of ugliness and I don’t need more in my life. I want the fairy tale. I want good to triumph. So when it does in my novels, and I am criticized for that, I find it painful.
In my life, I try to be kind and compassionate, to show love and to be forgiving. Frequently I fail miserably, but I keep trying because I think it is important. Often people only learn love and forgiveness by seeing it practiced. My belief system is certainly woven into my novels.
Forgiveness is one of the single hardest virtues to practice. When hurt or insulted, it is hard to “turn the other cheek” without seeking revenge. However, true forgiveness calls us to do that. In a loving relationship, setting aside hurt and offering unconditional love, instead of exacting some punishment is the key to happiness. I swear this to you.
Perhaps I am tired today but a new review on Amazon of Highland Solution has me absolutely disillusioned. Katherine is a lovely, kind, young woman who, like many medieval women, has no control over her own life. Zero. Zip. Nada. This is one of the ugly facts of medieval life. What she has control over, what we all have control over, is our response to what happens in our lives. Very early in Highland Solution, Father James, has this to say to Katherine:
“My sweet girl, this world is full of people whose first concern is usually their own needs or desires. You are one of the few who always considers the needs of others before your own. You have learned the surest way to open yourself to hurt is to love and yet you love anyway.”
Katherine chooses to love and forgive. Niall doesn’t. At least not right away. Like Katherine he has had some terrible experiences in his life. At the age of six, his father married a woman who was cruel and self-centered. He was forced to accept and respect her, in spite of her horrid behavior. In the absence of a loving mother, he longed for the affection of a woman. As an adult he gave his heart completely to a woman who betrayed his love. Twice burned, Niall is more than cautious. He doesn’t easily let go of his old pain and negative opinions and has never encountered a woman like Katherine. Clearly lots of people haven’t because as critical as some are of Niall’s mistrust, they are equally critical of Katherine’s loving forgiveness.
Please tell me, how on earth does a man like Niall learn that all women are not self-centered and cruel if the one woman in his life who chooses to love him, needs to punish him before she forgives him?
If you cannot be happy without seeing vengeance done, please don’t read my books.