Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A Box of Chocolates

by Lorraine Henderson from the February 14, 2011 issue

Tagline: This year, Lauren got something she hadn't been expecting for Valentine's Day: a lesson in true love!

In A Nutshell: Lauren tells her husband she thinks they're in a Valentine's Day rut. Although she hurt his feelings, he comes through and sends her roses instead of the familiar box of chocolates. By the end of the day, though, she realizes that there's romance in long held traditions and gives him a box of chocolates herself.

Observations: It's always refreshing to see a rekindled marriage/relationship story, but they're hard to write. You can't paint marriage trouble with too heavy a hand or the editor may balk. And yet, you may want to try your hand at one because the fact that there are so many first meet stories might make the editors hungry for a change of pace.

This story hits the nail on the head on several levels. Henderson identifies the problem: the same boring box of candy. She shows the wife being honest with her husband and it's a tricky scene. Husband has to be hurt, but not too much.

Lauren saw a look cross Charlie's face, and she regretted her words. "Pretend you didn't hear me, honey--please?" She gave him a kiss on the cheek. "Now go dig out your car."

"I'm going," he said. "but I heard what you said. I'm going to surprise you."

See? You've got to admire Charlie's ability to bounce back.

Next, the author brings us back in time and shows Lauren remembering past Valentine's Days she's shared with Charlie. The romance is described in detail and we readers go "awww." After that we're introduced to the kids. Many Woman's World readers are married with children, so they're familiar with the difficulty of balancing romance with the 24/7 responsibility of being parents. This down-to-earth reality is a big part of the tone Woman's World likes.

Finally, this story has a fantastic black moment.

After dinner, at the time when Charlie would have presented Lauren with her gift, it got noticeably quieter around the table.

After that Lauren gets the candy she got for Charlie and everyone is happy. We get the feeling that a minor marital speed bump has been successfully gotten past. And lo, the objective of a marriage/relationship rekindled story is accomplished.

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