Thursday, July 24, 2008

Tear Jerkers

I'd wager that 99.9% of regular readers have at least one tear jerker hidden in their past. I'd be very surprised if I was wrong. By tear jerker I mean the book or story that moves us so deeply or profoundly that we are literally moved to tears. Yes, I'm including men in on this only I don't expect they actually turned on the waterworks, more like got a bit tight chested and had to clear their throat a bit. I know a fellow who after reading a portion of a story about a the death of a man's children had to put the book down and go stand and watch his own children for a bit, before he could come back to the book. That story for him was a tear jerker.

I've run across four books that have literally moved me to tears. As in eyes leaking and can't make them stop, the feeling sticking with me for a while after I've walked away from the book. There are spoilers in these descriptions, but I'm pretty sure most folks who are going to have read these books.

The Outsiders by SE Hinton moved me to tears when I was 13. No, it wasn't the death of sweet, timid little Johnny Cade that had me sniffling and whiping away tears, it was the death of Dallas Winston, the bad boy. Dally's death was senseless and heart breaking because it was in a great way self inflicted. He knew his gun wasn't loaded but he pointed it at the police officers anyway. It seemed to me as if the boy who cared about nothing completely lost his hope when Johnny died. It was that painful emptiness that it seemed over took him that had me weeping.

Message in a Bottle by Nicholas Sparks really ticked me off. I'd gone over twenty years without being broadsided by a story the way this one hit me. Again, the death of his hero seemed completely and utterly pointless. To take a man, wound him terribly, allow him to heal and begin to see hope for the future and then kill him off. What was the point? I was ready to lead a campaign to take Sparks' typwriter away and smash it. I've never picked up another of his books or seen a movie based on one and I can't forsee a time when I will.

Magic's Price by Mercedes Lackey had an ending that we all knew was coming. Her protagonist Vanyel Ashkevron was certain of his eventual fate from the first book in the trilogy that was sadly called the Last Herald Mage. And guess who the last Herald Mage was? Vanyel's story led me to tears for a reason different than those above. Vanyel's fate had been foreshadowed and prophesized most especially to him and therefore the reader. The part of the story that moved me to tears was the fact that after being robbed of the only person who had ever seemeed to truly love and accept him midway through the first book, he finally finds someone to warm his heart. He finds Stephan who fights for him, for who he really is. Yet Stephan is a very young man and ends up spending decades alone after Vanyel's death until he finally returns to the sacred forest where Vanyel's spirit waits for him.

The fourth story that moved me to tears was one I picked up last evening and literally could not stop reading until this afternoon.

Silverhills by Sandra Cox
Silverhills is the story of Alexandria O’Malley, a hot tempered and spirited young woman who is hiding from her past. And her chosen hiding place is as a young cowhand on a cattle drive led by Silverhills owner Brandon Wade. Wade is impressed by the roping, shooting and riding skills of the boy he’s hired as well as his fearless courage facing down not only the dangers of the trail, but the more seasoned cowboys as well. But when Wade discovers that his young cowpuncher is really a lovely young woman, he finds himself falling fast and falling hard. The story has more than enough action and suspense to keep the reader riveted from beginning to end. Kidnappings, vicious Comancheros who see in the beautiful woman revenge against Wade, not to mention the source of a hefty price on the slave block, and a host of villains determined to destroy any chance of happiness for the two even faster than their own tempers.

Silverhills is a Western. No duh right? I’m not a fan of the genre but this one won me over completely and Sandra Cox did it by creating a host of characters that slid into my brain and into my heart quickly. As much as I liked Alexandria and the incredible supporting cast of women, it was the men who stole the show here for this reviewer.

The wicked Comanchero leader Lavarah who is an evil piece of work but turns out to have a tiny piece of redemption inside of him was intriguing. Like Alexandria I found myself respecting him for being absolutely honest about his villainy. Jeff Wade, the hero’s younger brother was charming and delightful. You couldn’t help but adore him. And that brings me to Brandon Wade our hero. Cox has created a man who is not only yummy, as all good romance heroes should be, but who has a depth that reaches out to the reader. He’s one of those heroes who will stay in your mind and thoughts long after you’ve finished the story.

The only thing I would caution readers about is that you need to pause and round up the tissues when you reach the epilogue. Don’t get me wrong, this is not a tragedy. It definitely serves up the prerequisite happy ever after. But just trust me on this and have those tissues handy.

Check out the blogs on the left and don't forget the impromptu contest that's running between now and midnight Friday for a free copy of Mating Stone by Elyssa Edwards. The second book in the series, Lovers' Stone, is also currently available from Ellora's Cave

Blurb for Mating Stone:
Sarah has found the perfect man and best of all, he loves her deeply. Before introducing her to his family he proposes and presents her with an amethyst pendant, a stone she doesn’t realize is more than symbolic. When his brother Luke reveals Mark’s secret, Sarah must decide if she loves him enough to accept him even if he’s not exactly human. And Mark must decide how far he’ll go, how much he’ll give up, to claim Sarah as his mate. Is he willing to abandon his birthright? Is he willing to kill his own brother to keep it and Sarah?


Anny Cook said...

Oh, yeah. Magic's Price was definitely a tear jerker. She had a couple others, too. But that one was one of the earliest ones I read.

Excellent blog!

Amarinda Jones said...

I loved Silver Hills - it is one of the best books I have read. I can't think of a book that made me cry...takes a lot to do that

Sandra Cox said...

Boy, am I glad I pitstopped by your blog before heading out to work. What a lovely surprise. Thank you, Jae.

Molly Daniels said...

I loved Message in a Bottle. But when I saw The Notebook movie, I just couldn't stop blubbering all the way through it!

Am looking forward to Silverhills and your books!

Kelly Kirch said...

I hate Nicholas Sparks. I started to read Message and am glad I couldn't get past the tiresome, meladrama of the beginning. I won't read more by him.

Sandra is fantastic! I loved that book too and find her style captivating and beautiful. Sandra, did you write the brother's story? I'd like to know so I can pick it up.

Midnight Moon Cafe said...

My favorite tearjerker is Ordinary People by Judith Guest. If you've never read it and you like tearjerkers, then you really should give it a try.


Sandra Cox said...

Amarinda, Molly and Kelly, thanks, buds:)
Kelly, I've thought about it, but to date haven't.

Bronwyn's Blog said...

The first book that ever made me cry was Bridge to Terabitha in the fifth grade. Read it and cried like a lunatic, turned around and read it again. Most recently, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas did it.

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