In his work The Prophet, poet Kahlil Gibran says, “The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain”. While I know his writing delves deeply into spiritual awareness, that passage is also the recipe for a romance novel. I was reminded of this quote recently when I was asked to speak to a book club that had selected Love’s Destiny to read. One member said, “There are so many tears in this book and so much sorrow. But so much joy! Much more joy!”
When I began writing Love’s Destiny, I had a difficult time allowing myself to explore Emily’s sorrow over her father’s death. Having lost my own father, her sorrow tapped into mine and I felt the depth of her loss and grief. However, it is in the loss of her father that Jonathon Brentwood enters her life, eventually bringing her the greatest joy she’s ever known.
Early in the book, during a violent storm on the voyage from England to colonial Virginia, Jonathon nearly dies in his attempt to save Emily’s brother from drowning. As Emily nurses Jonathon back to health, she realizes her agony at the thought of his death. It is in this cocoon of sorrow that Emily begins to acknowledge her love for Jonathon. Only through her sorrow could she accept her true feelings and realize the joy of sharing her life with him.
Upon arriving in Virginia, the upheaval and rebellious mood of the colonies confuses Emily who has lived in London her whole life, and thus is a loyal subject of King George III. The division between patriot and Tory is not only painful as families are divided along allegiances, but is becoming increasingly violent. Emily finds herself married to Jonathon, a devoted member of the Sons of Liberty, while she clings to her fidelity to the King. Sorrow divides them even to the point of Emily’s insistence on being returned to England. It is on that journey that her sorrow reaches its utmost depths.
But as in any good romance, the depths of sorrow lead to the heights of joy. And the carving out creates characters that remain with us and leave us asking for more. I wrote Love’s Destiny as a stand-alone, believing it to be a story complete in itself. My readers saw it otherwise begging for more of Emily and Jonathon’s journey, and thus, Love’s Spirit was born. Again, sorrow in the guise of betrayal, danger and loss carve out the characters bringing them joy beyond their imagining.
What stories of sorrow turned to joy have captured you?