Thursday, May 1, 2008

Linda Howard: Cry No More

Cry No More: A+
Milla Edge & James Diaz

You might not know this about me, but I am, in fact, a huge ass crybaby. I’m like a leaking faucet; it takes very little to get me started. As expected, I’m very emotional, and I love authors who can evoke emotions in me.

However, I find that this particular expectation is lost in a many romance novels. For one thing, it’s a given that romance novels must must must have a happily-ever-after. Therefore, when the hero or heroine falls sick near the end of the novel …who cares? I know that within a flip of a few pages, that the hero/heroine will become un-sick and everything will be peachy. Perhaps that’s why it’s so easy to become jaded with romance novels – it can get very mundane – and very formulaic.

If you can sympathetize with this, worry not! Cry No More is an intensely emotional and passionate read about a mother’s love. In fact, I find that the mother-child love is more explained than the normal hero-heroine love relationship.

Milla Edge is twenty-three, married of one year to a genius doctor, and is in Mexico with their newborn child. Then the unthinkable happens and her baby, Justin, is snatched from her arms. However, Milla refuses to give up and makes it her personal goal to find her child.

I was exasperated for the first half of this book, but I fear it is out of ignorance and naivety, more than anything. I’m not a mother and I’ve never had a child. I don’t know the love a mother has for a child – I just know that it is something intense and wholly consuming.

So, reading through Milla’s pain, her gritty determinance to find Justin, was something I understood but didn’t. The pain that she must have felt – I don’t know for sure, but I shallowly empathize. It must be a heartwrenching, soul-scarring pain and hurt. However, one question always stayed with me – when is it appropriate to move on? And is moving on synonymous with giving up?

Because Milla could have given up – and nobody would have faulted her for it. She looked for ten long years – gave up ten long years, grueled, grieved, and continuously thought of the could-haves and what-ifs. When is it enough to simply… stop?

Maybe never.

In understanding Milla’s pain, I know why she chose to keep fighting, yet a part of me wanted to rattle her – to shake her and tell her, life’s not fair. Move on with your life – rebuild it!

But really, who am I to say? And how can I so callously tell someone to move on regarding a situation that has to do with another person? Her child??

That was dilemma number one, and the most thought-provoking reaction/ question/ confusion…

The second question is a little harder to ask without giving the story away, but to say very vaguely (if you’re a spoiler-HATIST like me, skip the next paragraph please):

Is it ever all right to kill someone, even if it is done in the name of justice, of retribution? After all, there’s karma, right? But is it ever justified in taking someone’s life for even the most heinous crime (deaths of millions of people, child rape…)?

As for the relationship between Diaz and Milla – I can’t help but to wonder if there are males out there who are so cold and so… cold. Diaz is supposed to be an assassin, I understand, but from what I’ve heard, the personality/ heart of a sniper or an assassin is a huge dichotomy, in that the most kind-hearted person can have the succinct ability to kill with precision and without emotion.

Nevertheless, Diaz is practically an amphibian with cold blood running through him, who basically has no huge communication needs and with eyes that are so cold, it would, apparently, freeze your toes.

But the things he does for Milla when she is grieving… the love and affection he shows for her, and the clear love that he has for her (though unable to really verbalize until later) is so heartwarming and utterly charming. It’s like, he understood Milla – knew her better than she knew herself – and catered to her when she needed him most.

I’m totally up for that kind of love – the kind of love where the other person knows you inside-and-out, and can comfort you in your troubles, tickle your toes when you want to laugh, and one who will simply take care of you because… that’s what love does.

Boy, was I in for the shock of my life when after two hundred pages, Cry No More became an intensely intense read. And then, I wasn’t too shocked when I started to bawl my eyes out… and then continued to cry continuously the last thirty-something pages of the book. (Oh jeepers, I’m a dork.)

The ending is absolutely wonderful and so great, I think I might have actually sighed in content (while nastily blowing my nose and wiping tears away)

If you’re not afraid of thinking while reading – and feeling something other than “aw, that’s cuddly,” please give this a try.

A+ for emotion, writing skill, and characterization. Bravo, Ms. Howards!

Oh gosh, that was a long ass review. Sorry, I had a lot to say. But basically it all boils down to: read the damn book!


Holly said...

Oh Alice, what a wonderful review. You really captured what made this book such an amazingly emotional read.

You bring up some excellent points that I'd forgotten (it's been ages since I re-read this book in it's entirety), especially that of wanting Milla to move on!

I was so torn while reading this, because I am a mother, and I can't imagine giving up, even after ten years, if there was even a glimmer of a possibility that my child could be found. And I found myself getting SO angry at the people in Milla's life who told her to move on, to get over it. Because that isn't something you can get over, or move on from. You just can't.

But on the other hand, I wanted to shake her, to tell her to live, because that's what you do. You move on. You live.

In my (not so) humble opinion, this is the most emotional book LH ever wrote.

One last thing, then I swear I'll close out this novel length comment:

On the issue of Diaz being so cold, I think we were led to believe that was the case, but in the end I think we were shown that though he couldn't express his feelings, he certainly had them. He didn't know how to show it, but he cared.

That was my take, anyway. :)

Anyway, fabulous review!

Kristie (J) said...

It's been quite some time since I read this one, but your review makes me want to dig it out and read it again. Some people have said that they loved it but could only read it once. I understand that - but I think I will do a reread!

Brie said...

I do love a story that can take me on an emotional roller coaster. I have found that the books that do this to me are more literary works than romance.

While romance can be sweet and tender, not very often is it all consuming and intense. Judging by your review, this one is. Now I must go find it.

Great review, Alice!