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November 20, 2009

Beverly Barton: The Circle of Love

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Kicking off this year's Holiday Blog is Beverly Barton, whose latest novel, SILENT KILLER, was recently spotlighted in our Romantic Suspense feature. Below, she discusses one of her most favorite childhood stories and shares how she came to own two equally beloved copies of the timeless fairy tale.

I’m one of those lucky (or depending on your point of view, unlucky) people born at Christmastime, so over the years, many birthday and Christmas presents have been combined into one gift. The year that I turned six, my paternal grandfather gave me an illustrated copy of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, and I honestly don’t remember if the book was one of my birthday presents or one of my Christmas presents. But I do know that this fairy tale about the power of love to transform a beast into a prince became my all-time favorite story, and it opened the world of romance to my young heart and impressionable mind.

Born into a family of storytellers who had the ability to enhance the most mundane aspects of life and turn them into high drama, I quiet easily adopted the theme of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST as my romantic mantra. Unconditional love for another person having the ability to perform a miracle seemed like the perfect romantic formula. From childhood, I have believed that there is no power greater than the power of love --- all types of love, from parental love to wedded bliss, from loving friendships to love of God and country. And when I began writing romance novels, this fairy tale from my childhood formed the basis for many of my bad boy/good girl stories that ended with that essential happily ever after.

Although slightly tattered from much use and the pages yellow with age, that treasured copy of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST given to me so many years ago is still in my possession. It resides in a place of honor on a corner bookcase in my home office, alongside another copy of the book, printed and released the same year as the copy my grandfather gave me. And the interesting tale of how I came to own a second copy is a story of a son’s and daughter’s love for their mother and a son’s determined search for “the perfect gift.” Everyone close to me knows about my favorite fairy tale, knows how much I treasure that book, and knows about the very special relationship I shared with my grandfather. My children have delighted me, surprised me, and brought me to happy tears with numerous thoughtful gifts over the years, but none as absolutely perfect as the second copy of my beloved fairy tale. Two identical Christmas gifts, given decades apart, the first given to a granddaughter, the second given to a mother.

Both copies of this book are important to me, each a gift of love. One from a grandfather I adored and the other from the son and daughter I love unconditionally. The love my grandfather gave me --- which included a book about the power of love --- I gave to my children and they returned that love to me and passed it to their own children, continuing the never-ending circle of love within our family.

-- Beverly Barton

Check back tomorrow as Joshua Gaylord reminisces about how an adolescent crush taught him the importance of having blind trust in unreadable masterpieces.