My work

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Yar, me soul-matey! Revisiting my dislike of this romantic paradigm.

Yesterday was Canada Day, and I had a prearranged date with a bottle of wine and two women of fiction. The first was Kendra, a stranger to me, so you get to meet her, too.
Before I get to my review, I’d best address my post title. I have – with a degree of amused snark – used this line before. Never as any dig at an author employing the You are my density destiny [Ah, damn! Snarky. Again.] trope, but I have a real aversion for it.

Kendra by Edward M. Wolfe at Amazon
So when reading Kendra by Edward M. Wolfe – which embraces the concept – I began examining why I was so, not bitter about it, but definitely antagonistic. I’m a romance novelist, after all. All romantic tropes and paradigms should be natural and reasonable to me, to be used as appropriate.

Maybe it’s that I never met my soul mate, that I’m still single [roughly speaking], and my distaste is a form of envy that I never met – or worse, met and missed – my soul mate along the way.
Nah. Never met anyone like that . . .

And then I thought about him. That guy. That guy who, when he first spoke, riveted me to the spot. That guy who so enthralled me that when we went on our first date, I was so busy staring at him in lustful admiration that I ran smack into a tree. [Who plants trees on sidewalks? In a city? Really. It’s the place for wide avenues of beautiful, sweet concrete. Where smitten girls don’t make idiots of themselves.]
We bonded in a way that I hadn’t experienced before, and haven’t since. We were accurately finishing each other’s sentences within hours of meeting. There was a connect. A snap of awareness for each other that we discussed at length, our conversations peppered with words like destiny and yes, soul mates.

Did the relationship work out? Ah, no. Obviously. For a variety of reasons. We were too young and stupid and overly sensitive about . . . almost everything. Maybe I never forgave him for the fact that, had he been a true gentleman, he would have been walking on the outside of the sidewalk and I never would have embarrassed myself with that damn’ tree. Maybe he was secretly annoyed that my voice – that he admired in private moments – could suddenly drip with condescension when I felt threatened by, well, a lot of things in those days, not so long ago.
But for all it didn’t work out, for all that I’m done grieving the loss of that time, I still have a soft spot for him, and wonder what would have happened had we met just a handful of years later. Or yesterday.

Because yesterday I read Kendra, and for once, didn’t have any snark about the soul-mate paradigm.

Review – 5 stars for Kendra

I’ve read a smattering of Mr. Wolfe’s work. Even when not over the moon with it, I like it. He has an Everyman, natural style that is enormously accessible, in which I imagine I can hear his voice. And it is pleasant to the ear.

And now, Mr. Wolfe has produced this phenomenal work. Kendra is a bang-up romance, beautifully crafted and surprisingly unsentimental in its celebration of the soul-mate paradigm.

I’m uncertain what else to say about it, as just about everything constitutes a spoiler. But I’ll try.
Keith and Kendra meet by accident and instantly bond. Keith, whose voice in those early pages smacks of asshat-edness, sheds his veneer of cynicism when overwhelmed by the notion that he and Kendra are meant to be together. Happily, she feels the same way, and their relationship rockets along.

Tragedy strikes. The upshot is that Kendra winds up in a coma and on life support.
Now, the subtitle of this work is An Astral Lovestory, so I think it’s safe to reveal that Keith and Kendra’s temporal connexion transforms into a paranormal one. A meeting of souls – or spirits, or energy – who experience a resplendent communion on an astral plane, even though he is very much alive, and she, not so much.

Plot-wise, I can’t reveal more. I can reveal that I got misty reading this novel. I’m blaming the wine I was consuming along with it.

The narrative questions the ironic: that some who believe in God, spirits, and an afterlife can’t believe something outside their experience – the irony being that, for most of us on this side of death, there is no demonstrable experience with God, spirits, or an afterlife . . . so believers should be more open, more willing to examine the tenets of those beliefs. There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio . . .

The novel also explores the meaning of life, issues of life-support and pulling plugs. The fine line between imagination and reality, and the even finer one between perceived sanity and insanity.

And love. The meaning of love. Kendra and Keith’s love is not gushy. Not corny or schmaltzy. It is as flawless as flawed humans can make it. Undefined, it reads as naturally and truly as breathing. It simply is. Meant to be.


  1. Kendra's on my list of books to read now, after reading your review!
    Your 'introduction' reminded me of my first love. Always unforgettable... whatever happens next...

    1. Yes, exactly, Luccia! Can't quite shake it, even when it doesn't matter anymore.