‘Love, Laughter, Tears’ is an anthology of seventeen womag stories (previously published by ‘Women’s Weekly’), by
Hilary Halliwell, who has had about 150 womag stories published. What I didn’t include in my reviews were these pointers for wannabe womag writers (like me):
- All Hilary’s main characters were either elderly middle-aged, at about retirement age or beyond.
- All Hilary’s main characters were female.
- Shifts in points of view were frequent. (Gosh, I’d like to try that on any writing site you’d like to mention!)
- Many of the stories were about trivial things, like garden shows and Christmas puddings, but the ones I enjoyed most were more substantial. The more substantial stories include three about adoption: one about a middle-aged woman finding her birth mother; another about an adult woman traced by the son she had given up her son for adoption twenty five years ago; the third about foster parents adopting their foster child. Others concerned a much-loved father with Alzheimer’s, death of parents and spouses, and illnesses with same, including the big C. Topics Hilary didn’t cover, however, were divorce or any sort of strife between spouses, teenage rebellion or any sort of conflict between parents and children; all husbands, wives, sons and daughters were loving and supporting.
- Storylines were gentle, some to the point of hardly being there at all, more like a friend telling you about
something that had happened. ‘You know, we had this foster child, bit of a disaster to start with, but we adopted her. Nothing really got in the way. Her brother and sister were fine about it and social services didn’t make any problems either.’ Absolutely no twists. Did I mind, Dear Reader? No, actually. Stories like these are like soft velvet on the troubled and stressed soul.
- Hilary hit the emotional button every time, but never the fear button, never the tension, anger or pain buttons. Even the flower show story drew attention to mc’s loneliness and the Christmas pudding story to a mother’s need to be in control of Christmas.
- Mcs rarely had well-defined character, but other characters did. You can see why. It’s what I call ‘mc syndrome’, as showing mc’s character when the reader is seeing everything through his/her eyes is very difficult.
- All Hilary’s stories seemed quite long ‘for womag’ – although I wasn’t in a position to count on my Kindle.
- Occasional spelling and grammar errors – ouch!
An awful lot to learn!
On another tack, my review of ‘The Amber Keeper by Freda Lightfoot has been accepted by Copperfield Review and will be published tomorrow. Hurray! Also, Meredith Allard, editor of Copperfield Review, has asked me to become a regular reviewer, which I’m very happy to do. As Copperfield is a journal of historical fiction, it will give me the appropriate kick to get reading more and more historical stuff.
Onwards and upwards!