Today is the book birthday for Cathy Lamb’s latest novel MY VERY BEST FRIEND. It’s Cathy’s ninth book, and had me turning the pages late into the night. And if you know me, that’s no small feat. I’m an early-to-bed kinda gal.
Sometimes I have an idea what a book is about before I start reading, sometimes not. Even when I do, my expectations of story seem to vanish on page one as I allow the author to do his or her (oh, who are we kidding, usually HER) job.
That’s definitely the case with MY VERY BEST FRIEND.
I was whisked away to the Oregon and the life of Charlotte Mackintosh, a romance writer who has no romance in her life. She’s an odd duck, to say the least, which made her completely endearing. Charlotte is also generous and kind and while she hadn’t traveled in years, she sets off to Scotland to sell her parents’ old cottage, where she lived until she was about twelve. The story takes us then to Scotland–and that’s where the whirlwind begins!
Cathy is a master at pacing. I sometimes felt like I couldn’t keep up with how fast I wanted to read. I’m not sure that makes sense but so much is happening I wanted to take it all in. There’s friendship, heartache, mystery, romance, and some real growth by Charlotte, and all the other characters, by the end of the book.
I read a review somewhere (I am sorry not to attribute its author, but I am not searching for one line in one review!) that said something like the reader learned something new on every page.
SHE LEARNED SOMETHING NEW ON EVERY PAGE.
And there you have it, folks. Always share something new with your reader. What the characters are doing, saying, wanting, needing. Who they’re being, where they’re going, how they’re failing or succeeding.
I’ve read stacks of writing books and interpreted them in a way that benefits my own writing and in ways I believe I’ve helped others. I’ve taken scores of workshops, gotten pages of feedback, and analyzed my own work and others. But this is one of the most helpful thing I’ve ever read. Take it straight to your writer’s heart and leave it there. And read MY VERY BEST FRIEND to see how it’s done.
I think MY VERY BEST FRIEND is, indeed, a prime example of keeping a reader on the edge of her seat in a book that’s not a thriller. It’s women’s fiction with a generous dollop of romance. It’s happy, it’s sad (oh so very), it’s funny, it’s complex (but easy to follow), and it’s also whimsical. I picked up this book when I had time to read and when I should have been doing other things.
What can I say, my friends? Cathy Lamb has done it again.
Lots of ways to buy MY VERY BEST FRIEND right—> here.