Flora’s Wish, book 1 of The Secret Lives of Will Tucker series, has climbed to the #1 spot of my “favorite historicals” list. Kathleen Y’Barbo is a master-writer, showing those of us who care to learn how to develop character and character interactions with finesse, charm, and subtlety. This book is downright fun, and I can’t wait to finish it.
That’s right. I’m not done yet. You’ll be hearing far more about this later, but for now, I have to tell you about the show-stopper: that “lone tear” trailing down Flora’s cheek.
You know me, I’m the one who’s “drowning in salt water,” tired of heroines who cry all the time and even more tired of heroes who cry. And the “lone tear” has become so cliché that I cringe every time I see it—and I see it a lot. So when it trailed down Flora’s cheek, I was disappointed.
Until I saw what Kathleen did with it.
Tear by lone, salty tear, Kathleen illustrated the hero’s undoing. He’s a strong man, stubborn, confident, sure of his mission and how to accomplish it, but the scene in which the tear dropped illustrated his soft spot—and provided us with a surprise twist to that drip, drip, drip . . .
Drip #1 (all from his POV):
A lone tear slid down her cheek, and with it any chance of his getting away from her without some measure of penance.
Another tear slid down the same path, and so did Lucas’s resolve to keep this woman at arm’s length.
Another tear, and Lucas felt his knees getting weak.
Each tear was convincing to me as the reader. Flora seemed truly fearful of Lucas’s actions, and sincerely wanted him to take another path. And then Kathleen shifted to Flora’s POV and delivered the twist:
What he did not know was that while she’d earned championship honors in chess at Dillingham Ladies Preparatory, she’d also been named Thespian of the Year.
That tickled me so much, I had to read the entire scene again. I didn’t see it coming.
Which means that I have to amend my stance on the endless drip: If you can do something clever with those tears, then by all means, let them flow!