Those who read my blog might have deduced that the story of my reading life has a chapter in it where I devoured cheesy romance novels. Although I had my start with the usual fairytales and children’s books, getting eventually to the rows of Nancy Drew books (most of which I couldn’t stand and didn’t finish reading, but I had to pretend that I had a reading life so I made up Nancy Drew stories for the adults based on the book covers), I can distinctly remember spending all of one summer holiday buried in my aunt’s Mills and Boon paperbacks. (A lot of us called any book a “pocket book,” even ones that wouldn’t fit in our pockets. No one corrected us.) I was in love with reading about love, where every Prince Charming was equally in love with his Princess Charming.
It was during that phase when I was swept off my feet by Chase the Moon. I fell in love with Corrie Modena and Guy de Chardonnet, the protagonists. Another bargain-rack find, Chase the Moon made me believe that London, Paris, Biarritz, music, opera, chocolates, oysters, Paradise, the rich life were within my reach. Imagination and reality were really just one side of each other and eventually, these two sides will merge into one. Perhaps an illusory, adolescent idea, but it moved my teenage world. I never quite forgot this book.
For some reason, I lost my copy of the book. I had also forgotten that it existed. Then one day, while I was thinking of things that made an impact to me, I remembered the story. I recalled, in addition to the romance, these parts:
(I liked the first one so much that I kept saying, “My foot hurts” although my foot didn’t hurt, just for the image of that delicate white foot.)
I couldn’t remember the title of the book or the characters’ names, but I remembered the above, along with the general plot. It took some time (and a lot of search words/phrases later) but thanks to romance novel forums, I was soon reunited with Corrie and Guy, having bought a new copy of the book online. By that time, I had fallen in love with the French language and the idea of Paris so that I wasn’t merely falling in love with romance, I was also romancing what little of the language and the city there are in the book.
The last chapter, I realise after many re-readings, is the weakest part. Quite unnatural and out of character for the protagonists. I may concede a few things, however, one of which is that we really usually go out of character when we are in love, and those happy hormones jump all over the place upon discovering that the one we’re in love with loves us back. That is the magic of a happy ending, which may not be very impressive as literature goes, but oh, what a rush it is!