Wednesday, December 7, 2016

A New Beginning by Sherelle Green

Tagline: Madison was about to give up on love until an unexpected surprise changed everything...

Woman's World Tropes: Pregnancy reveal, marriage in trouble

Observations: I didn't love this story.

Here's the timeline as I understood it. Madison gets pregnant. She tells Logan. They decide to celebrate. (I'm assuming this was pretty early, definitely first trimester, because why wait weeks before you celebrate?) She makes a dress for the occasion. But before they can celebrate, she miscarries.

In my opinion, their devastation seems overblown. I mean, don't people know not to get too excited when they get a positive pregnancy test because most miscarriages happen within the first three months? Is that not common knowledge anymore? This is why, when I miscarried, I was disappointed not crushed. If Madison had been further along, if they'd known the baby's sex and so forth or if she'd had miscarriage after miscarriage and each time their marriage got a little bit weaker, I could see them getting hit hard, but such was not the case. Other people may feel differently based on their own fertility history, so take this with a grain of salt.

Putting the miscarriage aside, I also thought it was a bit odd that she designed a dress for "the night we were supposed to celebrate the expansion of our family." It might just be me, but my husband and I didn't choose a night to celebrate. Maybe you celebrate on the day you find out you're pregnant or the day you share the news with your husband, but to designate a certain night seemed strange.

There was a chunk in the middle where they recount the earliest days of their relationship and it felt a little "As you know, Bob...," stilted and unnatural.

Finally, back to the timeline. Four months ago they were intimate. So, she's probably known she was pregnant for a month or two. She doesn't tell him? She was willing to just go ahead and get the divorce without telling him she's pregnant? Sorry, that's not cool. I realize the pregnancy was supposed to be this nice surprise in the story, but I can't respect a heroine who would do that.

12 comments:

Tamara said...

I think when people are trying to get pregnant for a long time they do feel devastated when it doesn't happen, but I had the same questions about everything else you mentioned. Also, who has a get-together with friends to announce a divorce?

Mary Jo said...

The WW Romances are very short and certainly not Shakespeare, but I think the one thing we want from them is that they ring true. As I recall this one, the young couple's major problem was communication. Maybe that is why the situation presented to us seemed contrived. It left me feeling a little sad for the characters and their future.

Anonymous said...

I thought the story was pretty awkward overall.


“In my peripheral vision, I felt him observing me…” This is odd, considering that you see, rather than feel, from your peripheral. It kind of stuck out for me.


There seemed to be too much mention/concern about the friends, which I found distracting:


“I’m changing clothes before our friends get here,” “What if they don’t understand,” “Do you think our friends will be surprised,” “I wanted you meet my two friends” etc.

I know later in the story we learn that they all met early on during the couple’s dating and became close knit, but I guess for a story this short, I just didn’t care about the friends. Maybe I’m just being cynical on this.


I’ve not been too big on these Harlequin stories. They feel off the mark compared to the regular ones, at least the last few I’ve read.

Anonymous said...

I kind of agree with everyone's comments here. These Harlequin authors just don't seem get the WW positive story idea that we readers want. Haven't enjoyed one yet.

Mary Jo said...

I had forgotten that this was a Harlequin version of a WW Romance. I guess that explains it. It would be interesting to know if the book publisher is seeing any positive response to their writers' efforts here. If not, they may decide that their full page ads are more effective. It does seem that this has not been a good mix. Ads with intriguing examples of the Harlequin "voice" could draw more readers to the brand.

Bonny Dahlsrud said...

It seems the Harlequin authors don't need to follow guidelines the rest of us do.

Chris said...

Like Mary Jo, I had forgotten that this was a Harlequin story. I have to agree with the general consensus here, it just didn't ring true. I could certainly empathise with the couple's devastation over the loss of the baby - it doesn't matter how far along you are, it is dreadful to miscarry. But that was the only element that I could buy into. They were divorcing over this... why? And she hadn't told him she was pregnant again yet... why? And they are having a dinner party to inform their friends of their divorce? Oh, come on. It just got more and more unrealistic and hard to handle.

Pat said...

Chris, read to me like a Harlequin novel rather than a short story.

Mary Jo said...

Pat, that is probably the main problem with these Harlequin stories. Short story writers and novelists are most often two separate breeds.

Chris said...

Maybe that's why I didn't get it, Pat. But then, I rarely read romance novels. The last one was Me Before You, by JoJo Moyes, which I loved... I was in tears by the end of that. I'm a crime fiction fan really.

Sandy Smith said...

I haven't read this one. I haven't been as eager to read the stories by the Harlequin authors. I hope this is an experiment that will end soon. I would rather read a story by the regular WW authors. I have to say that many women would be devastated by a miscarriage, no matter how early. But the rest of the comments about the story sound a bit unreal.

Shyra said...

Not my idea of a happy ending