From Kate’s Writing Crate…
As a reader, I always love finding books that appeal to me. As a writer, I am twice as pleased when the authors also provide masterclasses within their books.
Masterclasses take place when performance artists and musicians work one-on-one with students. Writers don’t generally have this option, but I have found some books to be masterclasses for characters, backstories, plots, settings, voice and/or creativity.
I love novels filled with insightful asides. If they also appeal to you, try one or all of these novels by Christina Bartolomeo:
The Side of the Angels: A novel about the good guys, the bad guys, and how a woman learns to tell the difference is the story of Nicky Malone whose past and future come together during the cold of winter and the warmth of the holidays.
…Sometimes it seems to me that, for every happy couple fate brings together just in the nick of time, there are five other pairs who miss each other by inches or miles. Do human beings just not want to be happy, deep down, or is it that we snatch at the easiest, most comfortable happiness, not the hard-won kind? (page 29)
…With a stack of books by your bed, you can survive any heartbreak. In the watches of the night, reading soothed me as hot toddies or Valium never could have. (page 65)
...I wished I had the sort of memory eraser that aliens use when they are returning abducted humans in science fiction films. But that’s life, I guess. There’s never an alien handy when you need one. (page 91)
…Maybe I was just suffering that strange malaise that affects people who have seen love end badly. It was powerful and enchanting, this wish to rewrite history, this wish to make it all come out the way you thought it would when you first found him, when you were all in all to each other. (page 214)
…You see couples like this. You see them at a coffee shop or walking slowly along a paved path at the river’s edge, or helping each other up the steps of a medical office building, talking and talking. I wanted to be half of one of those couples…I wanted code words again and secret language, midnight fights and long car rides filled with mishaps. I wanted that joyous ease. (page 270)
Snowed In is the poignant novel about love lost and found in the life of Sophie Quinn.
…In some bedrock, unspoken way, my parents loved me. As long as they lived, I wouldn’t be in want or entirely alone. That can make the difference between courage and despair, in those moments of decision that every life holds. I felt that such moments were coming for me. (page 209)
…Well friendship was much less complicated than marriage. You could always call a friend and say, “I need this,” and there’d be no questions asked. You couldn’t always tell a husband what you needed, or count on him to listen if you did. (page 220)
…A woman who doubts her husband is not a woman who should be meeting a man she cannot trust. (page 241)
…We laughed a little and I sensed it again, that current between us, that sense of being two people who spied on the world from our own secluded vantage point. (page 315)
Cupid & Diana: A novel about finding the right man, the right career, and the right outfit is about Diana Campanella, her vintage clothing shop The Second Time Around, and her complicated family.
…For real value, give me a guy whose face has character and who had to wear glasses at an early age; that’s the sort of thing that instills sweetness and empathy. (page 20)
…I like hearing lurid accounts of other people’s breakups. It makes me feel less of an underachiever. (page 52)
…All the delicate negotiations and trials of love were ahead of us, if we were among the lucky ones who lasted more than a month. (page 218)
I think we are lucky Christina Bartolomeo wrote these lines (and many more) as they are timelessly true.