Wednesday, 22 August 2012

#OBSummer #Books - Ford 99 - Scent of the Roses

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Genre - Paranormal Romantic Suspense 
Rating - R 
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“Scout Patterson had been running away from home for twenty years.” That’s the opening line of Scent of the Roses. It’s the sentence that popped into my head one sunny Sunday afternoon and started me down the road that led to writing the entire Oberon series.  It’s a good line, a very telling line, the perfect place for the story to start since, as it turns out, the action in the book (as well as most of the series, for that matter) moves back and forth—right along with the characters’ thoughts and memories—between what happened to them twenty years ago and what’s happening to them now.

I’ve always thought books were too individual, too distinct for a test like this to make much sense—unless they’re written to some kind of formula. Plus, this is an exceptionally long book, so my initial thought was, “Page 99? What’s that going to tell anyone? Why,  I’ve barely begun to scratch the surface at that point!” Then I opened the book to that page (the ebook. The print book is formatted differently.) and realized that…yeah, that particular page actually sums things up quite nicely.

 But let me try and explain what I mean by that…

Much of the story in this book hinges on what happened to Scout all those years ago, the tragedies that surrounded her, the events that made her run. What starts out as an innocent-seeming, slumber-party prank ends in murder and everyone agrees that Scout’s to blame.

In the intervening years, and for the entire first ninety-eight pages of the book, a lot of what really happened back then remains a mystery.  Even to Scout, herself. Just before page ninety-nine, however, reality slaps Scout in the face, so to speak, and she gets her first, undistorted view of what really happened to her.  And we get our first glimpse of who she really is, not the cool, cynical, unfeeling person she’s become, but a woman who loves fiercely, lives passionately and feels deeply.

Something I didn’t fully appreciate when I started writing this book is that Scent of the Roses is a love story wrapped in paranormal suspense. It’s a romance that also got its start twenty years earlier when Scout first met Nick. Up until this point in the book, this relationship is hinted at, dreamed about, made reference to, but it’s all hearsay…up until now.

On page ninety-nine we  get our first tiny glimpse of teenage Scout in love. This is the first time we’re really privy to what she was thinking and feeling, and we learn first-hand the lengths she was willing to go to—not for revenge, as her friends believe, but to protect and preserve this fragile first love.

Page ninety-nine also marks a turning point in the action—both in the past and the present.  In the past, we see Scout on the eve of disaster. All the pieces have been put into place now.  Although she’s still unaware of it, life as she knows it is about to change radically and for the worse.  In the present, things are changing now too. And, once again, she has no clue as to what’s about to befall her.

Up until this point, Scout’s friends have been wary of trusting her again. Now, some of them will have a change of heart and begin to recall the love, loyalty and friendship they’d spent twenty years denying. And, once again, the pieces are falling into place. The love of her life is about to return.

I doubt anyone reading the book for the first time will be aware of all these details. In fact, they might not  notice any of them!  Viewed in retrospect, however, it’s really quite amazing. Page 99. Who knew?

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