Saturday, November 8, 2008

"The Four Seasons"

Laurel Corona is the author of more than a dozen middle school books and is a professor of English and Humanities at San Diego City College.

She applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, The Four Seasons, and reported the following:
Page 69. I am squinting without my reading glasses, going back and forth until I have it. Wouldn’t it be great if page 69 had “THIS’LL KNOCK YOUR SOCKS OFF!” written all over it? If it proved beyond a doubt that The Four Seasons was the must-read book of the season, or the year, or (dare I breathe?) forever and ever, amen?

But of course page 69 is nothing like that. It depicts a quiet moment in the dormitory ward of the Ospedale della Pieta, where my two main characters, Maddalena, roughly thirteen, and her sister Chiaretta, three years younger, have lived since being abandoned in infancy. Chiaretta is envious of Maddalena’s drawings of flowers and winged angels in her sketchbook, and she has just managed to save enough money to get her own identical leather-bound book. Maddalena uses her little-practiced handwriting to point out to Chiaretta that they could use the books to write to each other during the interminable hours of enforced silence in the Venetian cloister.

What do I think opening the book to page 69 would tell a prospective reader? That The Four Seasons is about the deep bonds of love and loyalty between two sisters. That despite the many constraints that are placed on introspective Maddalena and exuberant Chiaretta throughout the story, they both manage to live fully and individually. That as an author, I love using tiny details to bring clarity and life to people and situations:

“With the tip of her tongue showing between her teeth, Chiaretta wrote back. ‘You are the most’—she crossed out a word and tried to spell it again—‘maganifacint sister. Now I wont explod before I can tell you my sicrets.’”

Read on! Vivaldi is about to show up and change their lives forever.
Read an excerpt from The Four Seasons, and learn more about the book and author at Laurel Corona's website.

Visit the complete list of books in the Page 69 Test Series.

--Marshal Zeringue