Our books don’t quite pigeonhole easily into one genre, so we try to give them descriptions like the one above. The three books featured today are Send a White Rose, The Baron of Larcondale, and Vienta. In the spirit of romance, we include here some excerpts from these three books on the subject of true love. Most people think love is impossible to define but the Scriptures have many examples of people who exemplify true love and serve as examples to fiction writers. Adam called his wife Eve “bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh.” She was a helper suitable for him.
Isaac’s wife was also picked out and brought to him. He had never seen Rebecca before, yet it was love at first sight when they met. Jacob served, in spite of the deception practiced on him, to get his Rachel, and even learned to respect and seek counsel from Leah and his other wives. Solomon wrote of the ultimate love story with his Shulamite, his snapshots full of scents and sounds and images of intimacy within marriage.
From Send a White Rose comes New Mexico Federal Judge Bartholomew Durant’s musings on what a wife should be.
“You’ve always been so unselfish, only wanting to draw me closer to the Lord and see me become more like Him.”
“Let me finish. I have been so blind all these years that I couldn’t see what I needed most. You know I was thinking of choosing a wife before all this happened. After it came I thought I couldn’t burden anyone with caring for me. Now I can do most things for myself, or, at least, Asa thinks I’ll learn to soon. It’s still a lot to ask of someone to take a cripple like myself, but I can’t help but see that I need a woman to be with me, help me, be my guide and friend and lover.”
“I have sent you this rose in the hope that you will remember another, sent as an urgent summons to save my physical life. This one I send in the hope of completing my life. My spirit, my soul, my whole being are incomplete, and I believe you alone can complete them. I have learned a little about being patient, but I hope I have been patient long enough.”
“I have grown up among a lot of men, and though my mother tried to make a gentleman of me I fear I have forgotten too much of her teaching. I was hoping I could rely on your help to mend my manners, and in general. I think that’s what a wife is for, to be a help where a man most needs help.”
The Baron of Larcondale is set in two neighboring fictional countries, but it still fits the pattern of a historical novel. Tristan of Parangor finds a most unexpected kind of love in the neighboring country of Tarraskida, and is a little reluctant to embrace it, and his future wife.
“Mayra, I would have worked and saved to pay for your freedom, and I would have made you my wife,” Tristan cried, “but now I can’t –”
“You would’ve wed me before you learned what I was,” Mayra said in a flat voice, her dress rustling and her voice retreating upward. “But now you understand that it’s impossible.”
“No, no, you misunderstand! Mayra, What your mistress forced you to do doesn’t matter to me. But I can’t force you to marry me knowing that I will always be helpless and useless and –”
“Oh, my prince, such a thing could never be!” Mayra laughed out loud, startling Tristan and confusing him utterly. ” … She had knelt before him again, and taken his hand in hers, twirling the ring on his finger as she had done that other time.
“I –I did –” Tristan faltered, feeling the softness of her fingers, the warmth of her touch, smelling her fragrance, and seeing in an instant her beautiful face before his mind’s eye, clear and luminous in the overwhelming darkness.
Mayra’s hand touched the hollow of his throat, pushed his hair aside, smoothed her fingers over his shoulder.
“You and I together, we will see, my prince,” Mayra said in a low, earnest voice. “I didn’t dare to speak until I knew you loved me – ”
“I’ve always loved you, Mayra,” Tristan groaned. “That’s why I didn’t want to –”
“Shh,” Mayra whispered. She put her hand on his lips. “Master Thomas,” she called. Tristan heard someone come into the room. “My prince is ready to make me his princess, now. I’ve helped him see, just as I promised. Just as I always will.”
Vienta is set in Texas between the time of the battles at the Alamo and at Monterrey. Hamilton Jessup enters into an empty marriage contract but before long finds himself not only falling in love with his sham wife, but daring to hope she has done the same.
“My boy, there is nothing more important than the right woman,” Ham said fervently. “God made Eve for Adam. Abraham’s Sarah was still turning the heads of kings at ninety. Rebecca just hopped off a camel and Isaac loved her. Solomon’s wives turned his heart from the Lord and brought down the wisest king the world ever had. The right woman can give you something to do your job for. The wrong one can destroy you. Women are so powerful. Women are so wonderful. Sure, they’re dangerous, but only if they’re bad ones. It’s up to you to keep your eyes on the prize – the job to be done and the woman just past the end of it who is your very great reward. I’m not saying your woman is Angelita. I just don’t want you to be so sure you don’t need one.”
“Mrs. Jessup,” Ham said finally, finding that the words stuck in his throat and he felt most unworthy to say them, “I was wondering if we could talk about something. I was telling Zachary I’m keeping my eyes on the prize but the truth is I don’t know if there really is one for me. You being the prize I mean. You’ve said you only have eyes for me but that sounded like a joke. I want you to understand this is the one thing I don’t want to joke about. I love you. I want to marry you, especially now that you’re a believer.”
“I don’t know much about astronomy, but I hear there are supposed to be twin stars that always keep together in the same orbit. Maybe we can be content to be like that, always remembering how we’re not worthy of that other bright star sailing over there through Heaven, but knowing God made us to go on together. Think we can do that?”
Maeve sprang out of her chair and threw herself into Ham’s arms. He embraced her also, breathed her in, kissed her, and then set her carefully back down in the chair.
“There, now,” he said with a sigh. “Zachary was right. Sometimes a woman can keep you from thinking about the job.”
Let God show you a little true love this Christmas with one, two, or even all three, of these non-formula romances.
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