Wednesday, November 28, 2012

"The Locket"

by Kitty Russell from the December 3, 2012 issue

Tagline: When Emily looked into Jasper's eyes, she was ready to believe that, yes, there was magic in the necklace she wore.

In A Nutshell: Emily notices a man staring at the locket she's wearing. He asks if it might be the one his grandmother lost before she died. It contained a picture of his grandfather. It is.

Observations: I absolutely loved this story. Russell had me at this paragraph, about a third of the way in:

"It's just that it looks exactly like a locket that belonged to my grandmother," he said. "It was one of our family treasures, because it contained the last picture taken of my grandfather before he went off to war." He shrugged. "It was lost somehow, and now I...I'm wondering if it's the same one."

Of course, we savvy Woman's World readers know that of course it's the same one. If we could bet our life's savings on that assumption, we would. Right then, Russell promises us a story filled with sentiment and romance, and she sure delivers.

In the middle, she gives us a second, cute, romance story, the one about Jasper's grandparents, and then ties it it in oh so neatly at the end by having Emily repeat what his grandma said...

Emily looked at the locket in his hand, then into his eyes and said, "Don't you think you'd better ask me out on a proper date first?"

That is an AWESOME last line because it not only brings back that cute line from the story-within-a-story, it shows Emily being a modern, assertive woman.

The only complaint I had was the drawer would not have shut if the locket had fallen behind it which probably would have prompted Emily to pull the drawer out right away. However, the excellence of the story made that little glitch inconsequential.

Photo by: Jim is Nice (cc)

Friday, November 23, 2012

Recipe for Love

by Lynn Cahoon from the November 26, 2012 issue

Tagline: Later, Mark and Cassie would tell their friends that they'd never have met had it not been for turkey leftovers--and one very persistent matchmaker!

In a Nutshell: Mark's sister signed him up for a meal prep class focusing on turkey leftovers. "Coincidentally," her friend Cassie is in the same class. While both declare they're not looking for a relationship, during they class they connect enough to warrant a dinner date afterward.

Observations: I wish I had thought of this idea for a holiday story--something revolving around the Thanksgiving leftovers! What a clever idea.

I liked Mark's honesty when he tells Cassie he's not looking for a relationship, and it shows some character growth when he gradually comes to change his mind.

I thought this part was cute:

Cassie had been right when she called the process idiot-proof, so Mark found himself making up reasons to ask her for help.

I thought the ending was cute, too.

Photo by Jeff Kubina (cc)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Love Is in the Air

by Mariah Nichols from the November 19, 2012 issue

Tagline: Handsome, smiling, green-eed Henry walked downt he aisle and took the seat next to Mandy. To Mandy it felt like destiny...

In an Nutshell: Mandy is flying back home for her sister's wedding even though she's afraid to fly. The man sitting next to her is going to a conference. They connect on the two hour flight and part. Then, at the taxi stand, she sees him and he asks her to dinner.

Observations: I usually think I'm a pretty smart gal, but sometimes I read a story like this, expect one thing (a matchmaker or blind date story) and get another (not a matchmaker or blind date story!) I thought for sure the man on the plane was going to be the blind date her sister had planned for her, but he wasn't.

There was a very nice black moment in this story when they're saying goodbye on the plane. It was much longer than the quick black moment we usually see.

"You did it." Henry unbuckled his seat belt and smiled.

"I did. Thank you for keeping my mind off the flight." I sat while he got his overhead bag. I grew breathless and wanted to say more.

"It was really nice to meet you, Mandy. Enjoy the wedding." Henry paused, as if he might say more, but then his phone vibrated and he fumbled in his pocket. Henry gave a wave, and then he was gone.

We really feel that they were both on the verge and wish one of them had taken the initiative. And even though we know that they will end up together, we still worry. Isn't that weird? Anyway, I found myself reading faster here to find out how they would meet up again, and was, of course, gratified to see him hold up that really cute sign.

Cute story.

Photo by Andrew Malone (cc)

Friday, November 9, 2012

Tempting Fate!

by Marie Savage from the November 12, 2012 issue

Tagline: Laura's grandmother had always thought that Laura and John belonged together. Years later, it seemed Grandma had been right all along!

In A Nutshell: After her grandma's death, Laura is cleaning out grandma's attic and finds the business card of her high school boyfriend, now a real estate agent, clipped to their prom picture. She dithers about calling him, but her mom nudges her, claiming they are interested in listing the house for sale. After reconnecting, they make a date to go out to dinner.

Observations: This story was structurally different and had a different feel. It's first person, which is nothing new, but the tone is girlfriend to girlfriend, like Laura is telling you her story directly. Laura is chummy with you.

The ending was different than the norm as well. It ends, not with an active scene, but with Laura summarizing where things stand now. We don't witness him asking her to dinner, but get it from Laura who sort of skips over the asking part.

Other than that, it was a classic meeting of old flames, but with a "twist" of granny perhaps arranging the match, or at least smiling down on the couple.

My Favorite Part: "Are you kidding? What would I say? 'Hi, John. This is Laura. Do you remember me? We haven't seen each other in years, but I wanted to know if you're married."

Photo by Aoife city womanchile (cc)

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Rules Are Rules

by Rosemarie Naramore from the November 5, 2012 issue

Tagline: Officer Holly Tanner knew that if she started making exceptions, the owner of the trucking company might start taking advantage...

In a Nutshell: Holly pulls over an 18-wheeler. When the driver, new to the job, doesn't have the vehicle's registration, she insists on the driver calling his boss. Holly insists he bring the registration to her, or the truck isn't going anywhere. The boss, Dave, unhappy at having to make the trip, produces the paperwork, and calls her nitpicky. When the driver is appalled, Dave offers to take her to dinner to make up for it, then takes her into his arms. What??? Turns out Dave the Boss and Officer Holly are married!

Observations: OMG. Talk about a Sixth Sense twist!!! I was totally pulled in by this story and didn't begin to suspect the twist until way later than I would have expected. I absolutely loved how different this was from the usual, and flabbergasted and delighted that they chose to publish it. If I had thought of this idea, I might not have submitted it, thinking there was little chance they'd buy it. I would have been very wrong!

For those of you who doubted the wording of the guidelines where they talk about "relationships" not romance, here's proof. This is clearly a story about their relationship and how a husband accepts that the wife is merely doing her job and needs some tender loving care because she's been doing entirely too much of it lately. When I read this story, I got a warm fuzzy feeling about marriage and what a good one looks like.

If you haven't read the story twice, I highly suggest you do. You'll see exactly what I'm talking about, everything appears totally different when you read with the knowledge that they're married.

He passed her the paperwork and their hands made brief contact. Holly felt a jolt pass between them. She knew he felt it too when their eyes connected over the document.

Here you see the physical attraction, just like a normal Woman's World story. That's where you take the bait. Then, Naramore reels you in a little, here:

Dave walked over to the driver. She watched him walk away. Tall and well-built, he looked great in his jeans. She shook her head, rejecting the thought. She was working, for Pete's sake.

Seems like a regular first meet, but knowing they're married, that last sentence makes sense from a different perspective.

Also way back in the beginning, this paragraph:

She realized [the driver] was nervous about his mistake, but she couldn't let this particular trucking company off the hook. Even if they had the biggest fleet of trucks in town, they had to follow the rules, same as everyone. Besides, the driver's boss, of all people, knew better than to let a driver leave without that registration.

See what I mean? "This particular trucking company" and "the driver's boss, of all people," are phrases that don't raise any flags when you read the first time, but take on a new meaning the second time around.

By the end of the story when Dave is crossing the line verbally and physically invading Officer Tanner's personal space, you're realizing and smiling and nodding.

I thought this story was masterfully written. Brava!

Photo by Timitrius (cc)