Jane Austen Meets the Sixth Sense
Forget Me Not by Michelle M. Pillow is a paranormal historical romance
By: Forget Me Not by Michelle M. Pillow
If this headline means nothing to you, then I've missed the point of this article. Forget Me Not by Michelle M. Pillow is a paranormal historical romance re-release for a New York Times and USA Today Bestseller who has penned over a hundred titles in the Romance genre and sub-genres. It was her first book to be published back in 2004 (formerly titled The Mists of Midnight).
It was on a fine but fresh autumn morn that I came across the author.
It was just yesterday, to be honest, but the experience was so whimsical that twenty-four hours later I already look back on it with a certain degree of nostalgia.
The chance meeting with Michelle happened in a roadside diner in the Midwest I stopped at while heading east on my way to New York.
For me, American diners are the stuff of legends, especially for a writer from down under who studied them on film.
Fells Point Diner made famous by Mickey Rourke and Kevin Bacon in Diner. Aretha Franklin's Soul Food Cafe from The Blues Brothers. And of course Jack Rabbit Slim's from Pulp Fiction.
The place I stopped at early morning Thursday, December 1st didn't have any famous actors inside.
In the back corner of the small room with a black-and-white checkered floor that fitted six tables sat a blonde woman typing away on her MacBook. Next to it was her cellphone that didn't stop buzzing.
Behind the counter stood a middle-aged woman ready to serve me. Careful not to disturb the calmness I pointed at items on the laminated menu.
In no time, I had coffee and my waffles were being made.
Being such a small space, it didn't matter where I sat – I was in arm's length of the woman in the corner.
Being the man I am, I called out, "They have wifi?" My New Zealand accent cut through whatever else came before.
"No," was all I got for my troubles.
"Are you a writer?" was my next question. It was more about flattery than anything else. I'd never met a person who was offended by the assumption. All things taken into account, Ms. Pillow handled my boisterous personality very well. There was no book to sign, but she did favor me with an autograph on my Kindle cover.
A day later, as I put down my Kindle after reading Forget Me Not, I can truly say the entire experience was surreal.
In the book, the Drakes are a typical struggling middle-class English family with three daughters in 1800s England.
It was a time when Landed Gentry, a social class made up of landowners, controlled the destiny of families like the Drakes, who more or less treated their daughters like chattel.
Marrying them off to a wealthy land owner was the ultimate high society move for the Viscount and his wife. Parallels with the Bennets and their daughters in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice can be drawn.
Enter Dougal Weston, perceived by our heroine Isabel Drake, the eldest daughter, to be her tutor. Hired by her parents to make her more marriageable for the Colonel, nephew of the Marquis of Rothfield, the owner of the estate they live on, Weston has his own agenda which determines the outcome of the story.
Like all good ghost stories, there's a tragedy behind it. An injustice that needs to be righted. The unsettled spirits have something to do with Weston's past, which includes a vicar who can communicate with the dead.
But ultimately it is love that unlocks the doors of the mansion and allows Isabel to see through the mist so that she may find her everlasting and unconditional love.
For a Regency gothic romance, Forget Me Not has clever plot devices installed by the author to keep you guessing right until the bittersweet end, hence my assertion of The Sixth Sense.
If I were in the business of optioning books for film or TV, this would be the one. And the log-line would be the headline of this article "Jane Austen Meets The Sixth Sense."
But for now, I recommend you read Forget Me Not by Michelle M. Pillow, so you too can feel the experience.
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