Aug 21, 2012

Author Top Ten: Gale Martin - Grace Unexpected

Gale Martin - Grace Unexpected

• Pub Date: July 13, 2012
• Publisher: Booktrope Editions
• Format: ebook, 276 pages
• Age Range: Adult

Thirty-something Grace Savage has slogged through crummy jobs and dead-end relationships with men who would rather go bald than say “I do”. In search of respite from her current job, she visits Shaker Village in New Hampshire. Instead of renewal, she’s unnerved to learn that Shaker men and women lived and worked side by side in complete celibacy.

When her longtime boyfriend dumps her instead of proposing, Grace avows the sexless Shaker ways. Resolved to stick to her new plan – dubbed the Shaker Plan – despite ovaries ticking like time bombs, she returns to her life in Pennsylvania. Almost immediately, she's juggling two eligible bachelors: Addison, a young beat reporter; and True, a venerable anthropology professor. Both men have ample charms and soul mate potential to test her newfound Shaker-style self-control, and Grace appears to be on the fast track to a marriage proposal… until secrets revealed deliver a death rattle to the Shaker Plan.

My Top Ten Favorite Sensual Women in Fiction
by Gale Martin

1. Grace Savage (Grace Unexpected by Gale Martin) — A smart, sweet, and occasionally sassy thirty-something, Grace Savage keeps meeting up with the wrong kind of guy, ones who would rather go bald than say “I do.” For all of her adult life, she’s made it make it too easy for guys to dive right into her drawers. (And we’re not talking about her armoire.) In this reflection, Grace compares all the men popping into her love life to zucchini in season: There’s no way any single person can handle all that zucchini. Not even if you’re smart and resourceful and have accumulated dozens of good recipes.

2. Emma Bovary (Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert) — To escape the emptiness of provincial married life, the young and beautiful Emma has numerous adulterous affairs while living beyond her means, cavorting behind her husband’s back with the objects of her infatuation. Here’s an excerpt about what really motivated Emma Bovary. [She] tried hard to discover what, precisely, it was in life that was denoted by the words 'joy, passion, intoxication', which had always looked so fine to her in books.

3. Becky Sharp (Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray)—The smart, cynical Becky is the famous anti-heroine of this classic novel. She’s a pretty social climber who uses her feminine wiles to intrigue and seduce men with money and social standing. As the scheming Becky famously said, "I think I could be a good woman if I had five thousand a year. "

4. Judith Singer (Compromising Positions by Susan Isaacs) — Long Island housewife Judith Singer is smart funny, and very bored with her comfy white bread suburban life. She is drawn deeper into the case-of a local dentist found murdered and even closer to the sexy police detective in charge. “This guy was the Don Juan of dentists,” Judith says (and she should know.)

5. Meredith Johnson (Disclosure by Michael Crichton)—Another anti-heroine, Meredith takes full advantage of her new subordinate a former boyfriend, now married. For Meredith seduction is a means to disarm and then dismember (figuratively speaking.) She knows how to play a room (or an ex-boyfriend). She invites this former boyfriend into the office and does the following: She leaned on one arm and crossed her legs. She saw that he noticed, she said, “In the summer, I’d rather not wear stockings. I like the bare feeling. So much cooler on a hot day.”

6. Mary Crawford (Mansfield Park by Jane Austen)—Mary is thoroughly charming and first seeks to win the hand of the elder son Thomas Bertram, heir of a baronet but eventually succumbs to her true feelings for Edmund, the younger untitled brother. As Mary once said, “But what I am keen to know is which gentleman among you am I to have the pleasure of making love to?" (Now THAT’s putting it right out there!)

7. Lily Davis (Big City Eyes by Delia Ephron) – Lily’s a fun flirty single mom who isn’t afraid to sneak around and steal away in hidden corners and neck with a handsome married cop as she chases a story or a lead.

8. Catherine Land (A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrich) – Catherine is a marvelous central character who is not at all what she appears to be at first when contracted to be a rich man’s bride. What a surprising tale made more revelatory because of her carnal passions. As the narrator says about Catherine: Catherine Land liked the beginnings of things. The pure white possibility of the empty room, the first kiss, the first swipe at larceny.

9. Claire Marvel (Claire Marvel by John Burnham Schwartz) – Claire shares her umbrella in a rainstorm with an impressionable Harvard grad student. She is lovely, mercurial, somewhat earthy, and her one quickly realizes her cheese has been sliding off her cracker long before she meets the narrator of this love story. Here’s a quote that provides a reflection of Claire’s power over men, observed by the narrator: There was before her and now there is after her, and that is the difference in my life.

10. Lydia Bennet (Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen) —by age 15, she was an outrageous flirt especially with the officers of the British militia. Her main activity in life is socializing; however, she truly didn’t realize (because she was a bit dim) that men might want something more than eyelash flutters from her once they got her alone. This quote speaks to the measure of Miss Lydia Bennet: "Have you seen any pleasant men? Have you had any flirting? I was in great hopes that one of you would have got a husband before you came back. Jane will be quite an old maid soon, I declare. She is almost three-and-twenty! Lord, how ashamed I should be of not being married before three- and-twenty!"

Gale Martin is an award-winning writer of contemporary fiction who plied her childhood penchant for lying into a legitimate literary pursuit during midlife. She began writing her first novel at age eleven, finally finishing one three decades later.

Her first novel, DON JUAN IN HANKEY, PA, is a humorous homage to 'Don Giovanni,' Mozart’s famous tragicomic opera about the last two days of Don Juan’s life. It was named a Finalist in the 2012 National Indie Excellence Awards for New Fiction.

Her second novel GRACE UNEXPECTED is wryly witty women's fiction that features a protagonist who can hear her ovaries ticking, who has a heart of pure gold, wrapped in lead. But a string of crummy boyfriends would do that to any lovable woman while waiting for Mr. Right.

She has a master of arts in creative writing from Wilkes University. She lives in Eastern Pennsylvania because she has to.

Find Gale:

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