These two novellas are unique. To appreciate them fully and to appreciate the ingenuity of the author, it is best to read one immediately after the other. The story is one seen with different points of view.
I asked Barbara Monajem how difficult it was to write a story with two different points of view in separate novellas. It was fascinating as a reader to come across the same dialog yet read a different aspect of the same story. I also asked her if she had read something like this before or had the idea come to her and she wanted to try it. Here is her answer.
“After reading the stories, a friend said they reminded her a bit of Rashomon, a fabulous play where the same event is seen from four different points of view. I saw it performed years ago by the Atlanta Shakespeare Company, but I’m pretty sure that wasn’t what inspired me. Still, I can’t for the life of me remember what did. If I remember, I’ll say so in the comments.
Anyway, I thought it would be a fun experiment. I started with Lucasta, the heroine of the second story, wrote a few scenes, and then went back and wrote her cousin Peony’s story first. The trick is to use the same dialog only in scenes which move the story forward from the points of view of both characters (that is, the character who will have the point of view in the first story, as well as the character who will have the point of view in the second) because it’s important not to put any scene in a story which isn’t essential to the development of characters and plot. Also, I didn’t want to do it too often for fear that readers would think, “Hey, I already read that!” That’s less likely to be a problem if the new point of view sheds a quite different light on the same scene. (Does that make sense?)
It worked out quite naturally with these two stories, but when I tried the same thing with my next novella duet, it didn’t work at all. This was partly because the stories worked better if they took place one after the other rather than simultaneously, and partly because what was significant to the characters in the first plot mattered far less to the characters in the second. I found this out via a lot of wasted time trying to make it work!”
Titles: The Magic of His Touch; Bewitched by His Kiss (The May Day Mischief duet)
Author: Barbara Monajem
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Harlequin Historical Undone (April 1, 2013; May 1, 2013)
Pages: 46; 46
ASIN: B00B355EK2; B00BAT1S0Q
The Magic of His Touch, Book 1 Official Blurb
Tired of being paraded before every eligible bachelor, Peony Whistleby decides it’s time to find her true love—through the ancient custom of rolling naked in the dew on May Day morning. But the magic goes awry when she is caught in the act—and by an entirely unsuitable man. And yet, the way his eyes linger upon her flesh ignites a sensual craving that can only be satisfied by his touch…
Bewitched By His Kiss, Book 2 Official Blurb
Lucasta Barnes knows the folly believing in magic can lead to—and she won’t accept that her illicit tryst with a notorious rake was the result of anything more than pure lust. Or that it has bonded them together forever. Yet, she can’t deny that she yearns for just one more night in his arms…
David, Earl of Elderwood, is used to women being enchanted by him, but ever since a passionate encounter with Lucasta three years ago, he desires only her. How can he convince his thoroughly practical paramour that love is the greatest magic of all?
My Review: These two novellas were very quick reads. You could almost finish one on a lunch hour break at work. I didn’t realize what the author meant about the two novellas. She told me that the two take place at the same time and place — while one story is in the foreground, the other is in the background, and vice versa. In hindsight I know exactly what she meant.
Really, it was lots of fun reading. Magic, the belief thereof, was a big topic. Some of the characters believed strongly in magic others didn’t. But Barbara Monajem made me a believer! (At least during the reading of the books)
Normally a short read like this leaves me wanting. However, Barbara packs a lot of story into just a few words. Both novellas were well written romance reads and unique in their plot and story particularly the way they were combined. You shouldn’t miss the read.
I learned from reading these two books side by side that unless you know what is happening behind dialog in a story the plot remains unknown. It was a very good lesson to show point of view, something want-to-be authors struggle to perfect.