Monday, April 12, 2010

Join Us Friday for Discussion of Novel that Tackles a Complex Romance

Our guest on the Writers in the Sky podcast this Friday will be Martina Vanderley, author of the new release Crossroads at the Wilderness. In this novel, readers are introduced to Leslie Woman, a middle-aged married woman whose life and family appear perfect to those looking in from the outside. In reality, she is existing in a world without passion and partnership. When she meets a handsome stranger during a vacation with her husband, a romance is sparked will span years and affect generations. Through this work, Vanderley tackles issues including adoption and abortion, infidelity, interracial dating, and religion,

Martina Vanderley has published previously, with her documentation of her family's history on sale throughout the United States and Europe. In 2005, she received the honorable mention in the South Florida Writing Competition.

Please visit the Amazon website to purchase Crossroads at the Wilderness.

Book Title: Crossroads at the Wilderness
Author: Martina Vanderley
ISBN: 978-1-4327-4557-8
Genre and Target Market: fiction; romance
Publication Date: 2009
Book Length in Pages: 340

Reviewed by: Sarah Moore

It is not uncommon to find novels filling the shelves of your local bookstore that tell the complicated stories of forbidden love. Sometimes the book cover features a man who just cannot seem to get the buttons of his shirt to work correctly. Other times, you will open the pages to read about two people who should not be together due to their stations in life, whether an issue of class, profession, or religion. For me, however, the story is the most compelling when I am introduced to two characters who simply are unhappy or incomplete in the circumstances of their current life and who, in one another, find energy and a connection that never existed for them before. When should such emotions be embraced for their amazing possibilities and when should they be ignored due to the potential for destruction to the worlds that they know? Such is the question presented in the new novel Crossroads at the Wilderness by Martina Vanderley.

Vanderley introduces us to Leslie Dawson, a middle-aged woman with wonderful grown children and a hard-working, attractive husband—a family worthy of envy to anyone looking in from the outside. But, Leslie’s relationship with her husband John has grown stale and devoid of passion, a sad reality that is made even more obvious when she meets a handsome married man named Tom during a vacation to Aruba. This chance encounter appears to become more a matter of destiny when Leslie and Tom run into each other a year later back in the States. Their decision not to fight the undeniable bond that exists between them results in consequences that continue to develop far into the future and change both of their families forever.

In Crossroads at the Wilderness, readers will find characters that are both flawed and endearing, making them utterly relatable to all of us. Vanderley displays her obvious lifelong passion for writing by creating personalities that make the readers want to invest their emotional energy. She tackles controversial subjects, such as finding love outside of a loveless marriage or the stigma that interracial dating still has in our society, with a compassion for everyone involved. While Tom and Leslie are shown as a sympathetic couple for whom we wish happiness, we also come to understand the sense of betrayal and disappointment felt by the spouses, parents, and children whose lives also are touched by the romantic choices of this man and woman.

In addition to strong character development, Crossroads at the Wilderness also effectively uses language to draw readers into each scene. I love when an author can make a moment come alive through word choice and careful phrasing, and Vanderley accomplishes this goal almost every time. From quiet instances of a new romance or a mother-daughter reconciliation to the jarring plot twists that change the lives of characters in one split second, both the descriptive and the conversational language proved effective in capturing the intended mood.

On one hand, Crossroads at the Wilderness is a love story between two people who seem fated to be together and readers will find moments they are swept away in the romance. On the other, the novel is a much more complicated look at family dynamics and how we all must balance our own needs and desires with our responsibilities to the best interest of loved ones. The answers to the emotional questions that Martina Vanderley offers in Crossroads at the Wilderness are not easily found, but I believe readers will enjoy the journey of exploring their own reactions through its pages.

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