Thursday, June 14, 2012

"Jasmine Nights"

Julia Gregson is the author of Band of Angels and East of the Sun, a major bestseller that won the Romantic Novel of the Year Prize and the Le Prince Maurice Prize.

She applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, Jasmine Nights,  and reported the following:
On Page 69 of Jasmine Nights, my hero, Dom Benson, is experiencing a moment of acute anxiety about tracking down a girl he has met only twice and become obsessed by.

Dom is a young fighter pilot, the girl, Saba, a singer. They met at the burns hospital where Dom was being patched together again after being shot down in his plane, and where Saba came to the ward one night to sing for the patients.

During the course of the impromptu concert she leaned down and kissed him. At this moment of crisis for Dom, that kiss brings hope, restoring him to his youth, his sense of a future, and confusion : it could mean nothing - she was a professional entertainer after all, part of the job was to get men to fall in love with her.

Before his accident, Dom, who is half French, was an ‘it’ boy at Cambridge University and had no such doubts. He was clever, funny and reckless. A steady stream of girls visited his room and he was a cynic about love, and relationships, breaking many hearts. The war, the temporary loss of his own good looks, has taken this old self confidence away from him.

On this day (on page 69), he has decided to track down Saba.

Since his discharge from hospital, they’ve had one date in London. He gate crashed her successful audition for ENSA, the organisation that entertains the troops, and heard her sing again. He knows that she may already have been posted to any one of a dozen countries overseas, but is desperate to find out more about her. Hence this visit, to Tiger Bay in Cardiff where her family live, on the flimsy pretext that she’d left her coat in the bar where they’d had a drink together. He is full of self doubt about his motives and his mission:
Because what did he know about the girl ? Only that she sang and that he admired her courage and that for that one moment when he’d told her where his skin graft had come from’ (it was his buttocks) they had both roared with laughter again, like young people.
As he walks down the poor streets where she grew up, his mood of self doubt deepens. It is so foreign here, and he has only met her twice and he has a growing sense that she will be a dangerous person to know.
Learn more about the book and author at Julia Gregson's website.

The Page 69 Test: East of the Sun.

--Marshal Zeringue