I adore watching people who overcome great challenges to produce something of amazing beauty. Both these dancers qualify.
Okay, I can’t believe I’m doing this, but I’m going to blog about the Casey Anthony trial. Believe it or not, it really does relate to the book I just released (The Lady of Bolton Hill). Writers tend to snatch little pieces of inspiration from real life to weave into their stories, and since I live only a couple of miles from where the Casey Anthony tragedy happened, I have been inundated with news about this notorious case from the day it broke. I used to see teams of searchers combing the woods near where I live in an attempt to find the missing baby.
For those who don’t read tabloid news, Casey Anthony is a young woman whose two-year old child, Caylee, disappeared without a trace three years ago. Inexplicably, Casey told no one about her daughter’s disappearance for a solid month while she indulged in a wild round of partying, shopping, and summer fun. Caylee’s body was found about six months later. Prosecutors believe that Casey, tired of being a single mother, deliberately killed the child in order to cut loose and live the good life.
All this happened around the time I was writing the first draft of the manuscript that would become The Lady of Bolton Hill. Fairly late in the manuscript I needed a quick illustration of how low and depraved drugs can drive an otherwise decent person to behave. During that summer, the Casey Anthony investigation topped every news broadcast, and voila, I had my example. The heroine recounts a quick, one-paragraph story about a young widow who loses all interest in her daughter in order to feed her craving for narcotics. In my mind’s eye, that young widow was Casey Anthony.
Casey Anthony finally went on trial last week, which was ironically the precise week The Lady of Bolton Hill finally hit the shelves. It is hard for me to believe that I have been shepherding this story towards publication for a solid three years, but the resurrection of the “Daily Caylee” news cycle caused me to remember the summer three years ago when I was sweating bullets as I madly pounded away at my keyboard with a story that was pouring out of me.
As wonderful as the publication process has been for me, I wonder about what life has been like for Casey Anthony. In the past three years that young woman has been sitting in a jail cell, probably counting her regrets every hour of every day. I hope she can turn her ship around. Even in jail I believe she can find a way to do something meaningful with her life. If we believe in the concept of redemption, we must believe the possibility for it extends to Casey Anthony. She will certainly be found guilty of something, but I hope she can find some sort of peace and reconciliation with herself.
This is an unconventional choice for a romantic movie, but I adore Kenneth Branagh’s Dead Again. It is a slick, stylish romantic thriller that follows two fantastic love stories. One takes place in the 1950’s between Roman Straus, a brilliant composer, and a beautiful pianist named Margaret. They have a whirlwind courtship, fall in love, marry, but then things sour quickly. Roman is ultimately accused of murdering Margaret, and he is executed for the deed. This is the first scene of the movie, so I’m not giving anything away.
The second storyline is set in contemporary times, and features the same actors (Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson.) Emma Thompson’s character is haunted by troubling dreams and she becomes convinced that she is the reincarnation of Margaret Strauss. A series of flashbacks recount the doomed love affair between Margaret and Roman, while the contemporary lovers follow an ominously similar path. Is history repeating itself?
This movie has style. A mix of old Hollywood glamor with undertones of Hitchcock, it is a fast-moving story that pulses with wonderful evocative scenes. I adore a good turbulent love story, and this one has two! The writing is fresh, the soundtrack is gorgeous, and the chemistry between the two main actors leaps off the screen.
Now, you know I am a dyed-in-the-wool romantic, so I would not recommend this movie if the ending wasn’t utterly wonderful and completely satisfying. This is the perfect movie for a rainy afternoon.
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