Table of Contents
“Suzannah's happy ending is a well-earned one that readers of inspirational fiction will appreciate.
“Twists and dances like a bouncing bronco, but beneath the humor beats a strong foundation of heart.”
New York Times
The Midnight Twins
follows the up-and-down and all-around adventures of a brave woman who's willing to ask questions we've all asked ourselves. The writing is vivid and will hold you through to the endâbringing home fresh answers to old questions about strength and weakness.”
Clyde Edgerton, author of
The Bible Salesman
“A more winning heroine than Suzannahâ¦would be hard to imagine. From page one, we are in love with this wry, insightful, funny survivor of the Sandwich Generation, squeezed between her mother's Alzheimer's and her husband's detachment. In reflections both luminous and humorous, she charts her way to love and independence.”
Sarah Bird, author of
How Perfect Is That
“Women and men are suddenly revealed in
, an illuminating arc-of-life writing that unfolds in a rich detail of simple and complex feelings.”
Craig Johnson, author of
The Cold Dish
Death Without Company
“Like a cliff diver, Tina Welling's fiction flies, tucks, and slices into the dark depths of her characters. She writes with insight, humor, and complete control. If they ever make compassion an Olympic sport, Tina will have a room full of gold.”â
Tim Sandlin, author ofJimi Hendrix Turns Eighty
Written by today's freshest new talents and selected by New American Library, NAL Accent novels touch on subjects close to a woman's heart, from friendship to family to finding our place in the world. The Conversation Guides included in each book are intended to enrich the individual reading experience, as well as encourage us to explore these topics togetherâbecause books, and life, are meant for sharing.
Also by Tina Welling
Published by New American Library, a division of
Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street,
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Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices:
80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
First published by NAL Accent, an imprint of New American Library,
a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
First Printing, March 2009
Copyright Â© Tina Welling, 2009
Conversation Guide copyright Â© Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 2009
All rights reserved
REGISTERED TRADEMARKâMARCA REGISTRADA
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS CATALOGING-IN-PUBLICATION DATA:
Fairy tale blues/Tina Welling.
eISBN : 978-1-101-01960-3
Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
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For John Buhler,
who gave me the best line in this book.
And now I give it back to him.
It adds a special pleasure to the creative process for a writer to have readers in mind as they work. I had very special readers in mind when I wrote this novel: my sister and brother and their mates. Both in-laws and outlaws take openhearted pleasure in my work. It's only fair that they take something, because I take so much from them: their stories, funny lines, and unique perspectives and experiences. Thank you, Gayle Caston, Tom Welling, Debbie Welling and Bob Caston.
My sons and daughters-in-law contributed to this project, and I am grateful to them: Trevor Buhler, Amy Buhler, Toby Buhler, Amber Buhler.
I feel profoundly privileged to have John Travis as my teacher. Going on meditation retreats in Jackson Hole and in India with him has enhanced my life with meaning and joy. The fictional retreat leader in the novel is a mere shadow of him.
Ellen Edwards is a perceptive editor with a strong sense of ethics, a clear vision of story and mastery over language. I feel immensely fortunate to work with her. Thank you, Ellen.
My husband, John Buhler, offers support in every way from his heartfelt happiness over my pleasure in the writing life to creating delicious ragouts and pasta sauces for our dinners together. And always he is my first reader.
My gratitude goes to Susan Marsh and Patti Sherlock, two exceptional writers, who offered steady support as readers of my manuscriptâa considerable gift. Gratitude also to my agent, Charlotte Sheedy, for her expertise over the years. Through the professional assistance of Rebecca Vinter and Meredith Kaffel, my writing life is smoothed and eased. Susan Wasson, Judy Johnson, Eric Boss and Judy Boss, thank you once again for your generous spirits.
For financial support my thanks goes to Pursue Balance, a non-profit organization in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, that offers Growth Grants to individuals who are pursuing personal or environmental balance through adventure, study, the arts. I also offer thanks to the Wyoming Arts Council for personal support and statewide support of writers.
An enormous part of my pleasure in this work is the weaving of chance remarks, stories or shared events that find their way into my creative process. In this project I thank Coulter Buhler, Libby Vallee, MacKenzie Caston and Elaine Mansfield. Inspiration and support for my subject came from two books in particular:
by Tanya Wilkinson (PageMill Press, 1998) and
The Light Inside the Dark
by John Tarrant (HarperCollins, 1998).
t seemed longer than just twelve hours ago that I walked out on my husband during our anniversary dinner. This morning after a shower, I smoothed lotion supplied by the hotel over my body, nose to toes. Not that my skin needed it in the humid warmth of Florida like it did back home in the dry cold of Wyoming, but this old habit grounded me. And besides the clothes I had been wearing, old habits were all I'd brought along.
We were celebrating at the Granary, a restaurant high atop Gros Ventre Butte, the lights of Jackson Hole glittering below. Surely Jess had caught on by now that I wasn't returning, yet I still pictured him sitting where I'd left him, watching champagne bubbles spiral up his glass.
Before Jess left for work yesterday morning, I had sneaked a gift bag filled with his favorite chocolate-covered raisins into his backpack with a mushy card and the time and place of our dinner reservation. Last night, once we had ordered our champagne at the Granary, Jess slid a package across the table to me. I recognized the gift wrapping from the goldsmith's on the town square. I read his note written on the back of our store's business card.I love you for a hundred raisins.
I dissolved into a teary laugh at his silly note, and a surge of love for Jess flooded my heart. My fingers tugged on the ribbon to loosen the bow. I paused and looked into his eyes, aware of the difficulty I'd been experiencing with him lately. Yet aware, too, that we had shared a deep and resilient love during our twenty-six years together. Though Jess' note exposed the fact that he had likely shopped for his gift after being prompted by my gift to him that morning, I instantly forgave him.