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.
I know it’s hard, but try to ignore that negative review, in my mind those people are only jealous and just like to upset people. For that one review you’ll have many, many more positive ones, and I for one, as you know, absolutely love your books and I know I’m not alone. We want to read fairy tale love stories, after all that’s why we buy romance books, to escape from the humdrum of everyday life and be whisked away by our imagination from what you write and dream.
Hear, hear to what you say, if you don’t like the genre, don’t buy it.
Love you Ceci x
You are so sweet Ann. I guess what bothers me most is not the review, it actually isn’t that bad. What bothers me is that so many people fail to see the value in simply offering forgiveness and would be so critical of those who choose to.
Love you back XOX
Don’t let the turkeys get you down! Just write the books you love, and we’ll read them. Books are my escape from all the ugliness in this world.
Thanks Monica. It is the same for me too, so I create characters who I admire. It is beyond me how people can see unconditional love and then be critical of it. I will keep writing about the beautiful intangibles that I love.
Hello my lovely Ceci! Hugs to you on this cold day from Toronto. It’s dreadful here, we’re expecting 15 to 20 cms of snow! Good lord, and we just had a taste of spring just yesterday!
I would like to apologise on behalf of that rude & disrespectful amazon reviewer. Some people just do not know how to accept a story without bloodshed. I’m sure during those times, not every minute or second there was a blood feud or blood vengeance going on. I’m positively sure somewhere during those times, there were lots of simplicity & love.
I don’t understand why readers in general read a debut authors work & then become nasty with their review. The readers onviously know what kind of genre they are into & not every author will become bloodthirsty just because they are writing a Medieval Romance story!
I highly recommend that amazon reviewer to research authors & categories before jumping into someone’s hard work & then has the nerve to criticize just because the story wasn’t to their expectations. Again, not everyone is into those disturbing & emotionally depressing, dark kind of Medieval stories. I really don’t get why people have to be so mean, from the starting of any books read by readers they already know by the first paragraph of that very first chapter if they will enjoy the story or not. Why waste your time continue reading the entire story & then leave a cometely repulsive review. From the starting in their mind, the reader has already decided to be negative & not like the story. Another point is, while reading the entire plot from the starting of the very first chapter should give you a general idea of what the entire story unfolds to. If you haven’t come across a part where Katherine’s uncle gets killed by her husband for revenge on behalf of his wife then by all means the reader should know & expect to not find a dark, bloodthirsty Medieval Story in Highland Solution. I mean honestly even with Niall’s trust issues, he did not turn his back on innocent people so again my point being if he was so bloodthirsty as our dear amazon reviewer was craving for Niall would not hesitate to kill his wife Katherine’s uncle or Fingal with his biological father either. Anyhow, those are just a few examples.
I’m very happy Ceci wrote a fairy tale that I personally enjoyed & highly recommend. Also, I cannot begin to brag of Highland Courage.
Ceci, I hope my words brightens your day & cheer you up. Please continue to write they way you do & do not change for anyone. As I’ve mention in the past, I absolutely love your stories & cannot wait to meet you in person one day!
Love you Ceci!
Thanks Annie–you are simply lovely. I am sorry about your terrible weather. I hope the snow melts fast, and spring comes for good!
In the grand scheme of things, this wasn’t the worst review out there. In fact, the same reviewer loved Highland Courage. I just don’t understand the attitude that when a man makes a huge mistake, and sincerely apologizes (which Niall ALWAYS does, even if he is slow on the uptake) that the woman who loves him must “make him grovel” (to quote the review). That just isn’t who Katherine is and it isn’t who I am either. The reviewer refers to her derogatorily as “saintly.” I just hope someday, someone can insult me the same way. 😉 I admire kind “saintly” people. And you are right, Katherine’s personality and attitude are evident right from the start. If she isn’t the kind of heroine you like, don’t read the book.
It is SOOOOO easy to love Tadhg but so much harder to love Niall. Personally, I think Katherine’s persistence and willingness to forgive is admirable. Ah well, I will keep writing them this way. BTW Fingal has his hands full at the moment 😉
I must figure out a way to come to Toronto someday in the not too distant future!
Had to rewrite. Lost first somewhere in cyberspace. I am the eldest of seven. I have four sisters. We spent our childhood’s victims of parental sexual, emotional and mental abuse. Needless to say we left home as soon as we were able. As adults some of us abandoned our demons successfully, some not so much. I refused to allow my childhood to rule my life! The eldest, I was a natural born caregiver. Since the age of 5, I wanted to be a nurse ( with the occasional ballerina, artist, English lit. teacher, thrown in ). Nursing was a constant. I achieved that goal. I LOVE people ! I love unconditionally and forgiveness goes without saying. I have been called naive, innocent, Pollyanna and viewing the world thru rose colored glasses. So what? I have been hurt and betrayed but not for long . Again, I refuse to linger in a negative world. Am I wary? A little but not enough to change my philosophies. Indulge in fantasy ? You betcha.! Romance, pie in the sky authors are my saving grace. You folks take me away for much needed respite .I thank you and Ceci ( May I call you that ?) you are among the best!
So take a shaker full of love ( unconditional is best ) an add some forgiveness and life will serve you a platter of the best experiences a person can have. It worked for me.
Of course you may call me Ceci, and thank you for your wonderful response. I suspect you knew this but I too am a nurse by education (although I have worked as a medical writer for years now). I am truly touched by the story you shared. After pouting and putting my heart on my sleeve, I really am reminded of why I write what I write. It is to create a world where the wonderful things I love exist and win out in the end.
BTW…I was a recent winner in your book contest. Since I had read the first book, I was awarded a copy of your new book. I loved it. Again, thank you !
Keep up the good work. I so love a happy ending !
Oh Ceci! Let me know of any up coming book signing, I’d love to get Highland Courage signed : ). I agree with the review not being so nasty & I may have been a bit harsh with my reply. I just don’t see the point why people have to go back & forth & hurt eachother when at the end forgiveness is the ulterior motive. If Katherine was a bitch I’m sure se would of rebelled in the first place especially to her uncle but like you said Ceci, she’s forgiving from the start & even though Niall is a bith harsh in his ways, she found him as her saviour! I mean in today’s society, most relationships do not last because of the ever lasting conflicts between the couple. If forgiveness is practiced, we won’t see such a high rate of divorce these days.
As for Tadhg he’s definitely my dream man! If I could find someone like him in the 21st century you bet I’ll never let him go! Plus, from Highland Solution I already knew what a sweetheart Tadhg would be. I really can’t wait to read Fingal’s story!
P.s – Terry, I’m sorry to hear about your rough childhood! You’re not alone! Glad you came out stronger than most people ever do.
Ohh btw, I wish Fingal had his hands tied with me lol love ya Ceci!
Annie–You make me laugh. Can I just say that I love how you went all alpha on my behalf!! I think there are men like Tadhg out there but I’ll be honest, I took traits of the very best men I know and poured them all into him. Mairead needed perfect and that is what I gave her. 😉
All I can say is that it hurts my heart to know there are people out there that is hurtful and unkind. There is no need to be intentional cruel, in any thing. People that review with the intent, of being cruel, sadly, live that life with that intent. There are so very cruel people in the world. To me, thankfully there are books that I can read, that bring me great joy and I choose to pick up that book and read it.
Thanks Debbie. Of all the negative reviews that I have read this isn’t actually the worst. It really is more that the person didn’t like the fact that Katherine forgave Niall easily. She does forgive him. I think that is a beautiful thing. I just have a hard time understanding why people like this reviewer (and others) think Katherine has “no backbone” because she is forgiving. I worry about a world where love and compassion are considered weakness.
“I love you, but if you piss me off, you must suffer until I have been appeased.”
That just doesn’t work for me.
Ignore the haters Ceci unfortunately they are out there. I swear some just like to trash any book and I agree with Ann Leeson 110 percent! I think every time you see a negative go read 5 positive reviews including mine (hee) I started reading romance because I was tired of people dying from cancer or something horrible in the end. I was a big Nicolas Sparks reader back then. I feel too many people in my life were getting hit with this type of scenarios in my real life so I didn’t need to read about fictional characters with unhappy endings. It’s what I love about romance the happy ending part even though the couple has had some turmoil and overcome many obstacles with bad things in their past. I love that they overcome all the odds and have a happy ending. Hugs Ceci! I love ya! 🙂
Thanks Barb! Love you back!