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Friday, March 7, 2014

Dear Jeannie: Romance Without the Main Ingredient?

Dear Jeannie,

A while ago I wrote in about Skylar and his lack of ability to trust. Your comments have really helped my understanding of him as a character, but I'm having trouble thinking of what might make him trust again. Since his normal response to anyone trying to talk to him is to close himself off, it's difficult even to get him to listen to anyone. Since he's going to have to learn to trust someone if he wants his wings healed, I want him to learn to open up. Are there any events that might make him more comfortable trusting again that don't involve visiting a therapist of some sort, or would he need outside intervention to make any progress?

Still Broken in Baltimore

Dear Still Broken,

Trust is earned. That takes time and patience on behalf of the person trying to earn his trust, assuming there is such a person. There will be a push-pull kind of dance that the other person must be willing to engage in. Skylar will pull away, and that person will have to be willing to give him his space, but push when needed, to insert themselves in a way that doesn't turn Skylar off. In general, you're going to need someone who fits the Golden Retriever characteristics, who'll be willing to hang in there when the going gets tough. Yes, Skylar can learn to trust someone without therapeutic intervention...but you'll want to pay attention to the passage of time in your book to make this realistic. Hope that helps!

Dear Jeannie,
Cass grew up in in a privileged, sheltered, eccentric Medieval family. Cass's parents offered her hand in marriage as a prize in a tournament, and her older brother's friend and trainer, Will, won. He's stubborn, practical, consistent, quiet and considerate. Well, that was then, and this is now. Will hasn't said two words to her since the very sudden wedding, having taken off to fight in any battle the king saw fit. Cass has been left home to a) build their castle, b) handle all estate affairs, and c) finish growing up (she was YOUNG at the time). She's also gone through a disturbing growth spurt that nearly crippled her for a year and has changed her appearance so much that her own family almost doesn't recognize her. Will's on his way back for the first time, and Cass is surprisingly angry. I can guess at some of why, but she's inarticulate with rage, and I can't talk to her. Help!

Furious in Fresno 

Dear Furious,

Well, let's see. Most young girls grow up with visions of knights and white horses (figuratively, but perhaps literally for her). And this knight of sorts wins her hand, which is oh-so-romantic. Then he leaves her high and dry to serve his country. Noble, yes...not so romantic. And then she's thrust into this solitary role of construction and estate affairs, while still a child. Her growth spurt cripples her for a year, and she had no husband upon which to draw strength or solace. She's got all the trappings of the life she wanted without the main ingredient: an active, involved husband. So when he comes riding up, I don't have much trouble imagining her anger at her predicament. If he's been away for years, as I presume, she's been able to sit and stew on her situation for a loooooong time. Doesn't bode well for Mr. Will. I imagine she lets him have it with both guns blaring (uh, swords swinging?), or she gives him the total silent treatment, continuing to run things as she sees fit until it clashes with his way of wanting to do things....then there will be a showdown to end all showdowns.

Is this what you had in mind with your write-in? Didn't give me I just free-associated, if you will. :)


Maybe I've got answers! Leave your question below anonymously, using monikers like Sleepless in Seattle. I'll post my response in future Dear Jeannie columns on Fridays.