NOTE: These are first drafts. There are many typos and editing issues. I am currently in the process of revising and editing.
EXUBERANCE IS BEAUTY -- Oregon, 1940s: Eve Miller, a young war widow, rebels against the ordinariness of womanhood in the post-war era. Eve is enlightened as she succumbs to the sensual temptation of an adulterous affair. In its aftermath, Eve Miller’s life unravels and leads to unexpected violence and moral isolation. Exuberance Is Beauty, is a contemporary interpretation of Adam and Eve’s biblical allegory and Eve’s fall into desolation. The story examines the consequence of erotic obsession and the repentance the female protagonist must pay for her sins of the flesh.
Early Amazon Reviews:
"This story is intense! The time period is 1940s and the setting is Oregon. The main character, Eve, is whisked away to the middle of nowhere to have her illegitimate baby by a married man who seduced her. When he finds out about the child, he starts terrorizing her. He is a classic sociopath, sucking her in and manipulating her. His character infuriated me, and the author did a great job of provoking strong emotions from this reader. At one point, Eve even ends up in a mental hospital. That section of the book was of great interest to me. The ending of this story was perfect, in my opinion. It was realistic and matched the story itself. I love the way the author pulled it all together, and gave us a terrifying glimpse into the mistreatment of women in the 40's and the utterly disgusting way mental health systems were run. The author's writing was beautiful, despite the dark and intense nature of the story. The characters were well-drawn and the story immensely powerful. Looking forward to reading more from this author. Definitely a 5 star read."
"This story is a very intense psychological thriller and a hauntingly beautiful story at the same time. It starts out with Eve being driven to a farm by her best friend and her husband so that she can have her baby away from her small town where people will gossip. It was 1945 and a woman had to pay for her sins, usually alone and as an outcast. Jeff, a college professor and a married man is the father. He finds out that Eve had their baby and begins to stalk Eve and terrorize her. From there it gets intense and scary. The author has the great writing skill of allowing the reader to really get into the story and ride the roller coaster of emotions as Jeff stalks Eve. Right when we believe that he truly loves and adores her, bam, he again manipulates her and everything is turned around. I was comfortably into the story, thinking that it was a routine love/hate story when I was surprised again. I won't give you a spoiler here but it was intense, heartbreaking and mesmerizing. The author shows us a little bit about mental illness and mental hospitals and how it was used against women back in the day. This part of the story will haunt you. Let's just say that I am so happy that I live in this day and age! The story doesn't end with a perky happy note, but with hope and with seemingly realistic emotions. I really, really hope there will be a sequel to this story."
ATROPA BELLADONNA (sequel to Exuberance Is Beauty) -- 1950 -- Eve has recovered from the devastating aftermath of an obsessive affair. She appears to have established a new life with a loving, surrogate family where she can raise her lover Jeff’s illegitimate son and secure her reputation. As she embarks on an independent life, Jeff writes to tell her he’s been recently widowed and asks Eve to marry him. After tragedy strikes again, Eve is drawn back into his orbit. She moves to Chicago and begins a life with Jeff. Atropa Belladonna poetically illustrates the complexities of love, marriage and abuse in the context of the 1950s family.