Review by Sara Palacios
Woodrose Mountain by RaeAnne Thayne is a heartwarming story about redemption, forgiveness, and second chances. Once a thriving physical therapist in California, Evie Blanchard leaves her former life behind after an emotional year and finds herself in Hope’s Crossing, hoping to start a new, peaceful life. That seems unlikely once she finds out about the tragic accident that devastated the small town a few months prior to her move. Brodie (a single father) hears of her expertise and hopes that she can help rehabilitate his daughter Taryn, who was severely injured in the accident. At first, Taryn’s outlook for full recovery looks doubtful, but with help from Evie – and a few other surprising sources – things change. With a little encouragement, friendship, and love, Taryn may actually get the help that she needs to fully heal … but she isn’t the only one who needs a second chance.
I absolutely adored Woodrose Mountain. I loved the interactions between the characters and I think RaeAnne did an excellent job at making them feel authentic as they were going through their many trials and tribulations. This book is the perfect example of the strength of the human heart and the power of redemption. I loved seeing Taryn overcome so many obstacles to triumph at the end, as well as to see Evie finally give into her heart.
More from RaeAnne Thayne: Punch up the Emotion – Guest Blog
Punch up the Emotion!
By RaeAnne Thayne
Writing a book about an emotional topic without your prose becoming maudlin or overblown can definitely be a challenge – but if you’re able to pull it off, your readers will definitely connect to your characters and your story.
I just finished my 40th book and in the course of my career, I have written about many emotional issues – infertility, the loss of a child, the loss of a spouse. My current release, WOODROSE MOUNTAIN, focuses on a girl who was severely injured in a car accident a few months before the book opens. It’s about healing and hope, about leaning on others and also about some of the difficulties faced by both the victims of TBIs (traumatic brain injuries) and those who love them.
In this book – and all my others – I try to depict my characters facing their adversities with humor and grace, never losing sight of the emotional connection I want my readers to find with my characters. Here’s a quick checklist that might help improve the emotional punch in your writing:
WOW CHARACTERS: Are my characters compelling, vivid, larger-than-life people that my readers can easily relate to? Even if they’re aliens or shapeshifters or demons, do they possess emotional depth that resonates with my readers?
TRUE CONFLICT: Have I created a conflict between my H/H that cannot be resolved without flaying them open, digging deeply into their psyche and exploring their innermost fears and insecurities?
PROPER PACING: Have I paid careful attention to proper pacing, interspersing moments of raw emotion with levity or sweetness or quiet reflection?
DIALOGUE: Have I used dialogue appropriately to best convey my characters’ moods and emotions? Not just what they say but how they say it: Terse, hard words during moments of anger; softer, rounder sentences in times of reflection or quiet sharing?
POINT OF VIEW: Is the point-of-view character I’ve chosen in a given scene the appropriate one to best intensify the emotional arc?
SETTING: Have I truly utilized setting as effectively as possible to enhance the emotions my characters are experiencing? Weather, time of day, physical location: All can be used to reflect the emotional mood.
THE WRITING! Have I “layered in lusciousness” as the fabulous Barbara Samuel so eloquently puts it, by using all sensory tools at my disposal to accentuate my characters’ emotions through texture and scent and color?
LIVE THE EMOTION: Finally, have I been willing to dig as deeply as I can – in my characters’ psyches and in my own – to explore the wide range of feelings inside us all? If I tend to shy away from intense emotions in my life, am I willing to overcome that instinctive self-protective mechanism in order to allow my characters to experience reactions that might personally frighten me?
If you look at your own favorite books, I’m sure you’ll find the selections on your keeper shelf are those books where the emotional intensity of the characters really resonated with you, no matter what the genre.
What tips do you have for heightening the emotional connection your readers can make with your characters?