Well, you just never know how something is going to be taken. I was told by a reader recently that she felt judged after finishing This She’ll Defend because she had left her husband for someone else. OK, I never saw that coming! But if I step back and look at my novel from the perspective of someone who has left a marriage–specifically for another person–I can see how it might come across that way.
Let me just say that my novel is fiction, and I had no specific person in mind while writing the character Ethan. If anything Carmen and Ed’s marriage is loosely based on my own, although again the story is fiction. Some of the experiences that the couple shares came from my own relationship. But overall, they are just a man and woman trying their best to love each other and raise happy children.
It was not my intention to make a statement about divorce in this novel. I have many people near and dear to my heart who’ve been through painful divorces–each one is personal and distinctly different. Marriage is a complex and constantly changing entity–something I tried to convey in This She’ll Defend. Let’s face it, if marriage were easy there would be no divorces to worry about. We’d all just live happily ever after like Cinderella and Prince Charming.
In the novel, Carmen is faced with a choice. And she makes the choice that she believes is best for her family. Yes, she talks to her chaplain. And yes, she feels duty and honor bound to protect her children. But without too many spoilers, remember that Carmen’s husband is not abusive, cruel, unloving, or anything else of the sort. Some people leave a bad marriage due to abuse or lack of affection. Every situation is different.
If you are a reader who has been though a divorce, please don’t feel judged! That was certainly not the intent. I’d love to hear from you. To quote the new Pope, “Who am I to judge?”