Tuesday, February 16, 2016


I’m a homebody. I’m fond of climate control, no matter the weather. I’d take an hour on the couch, a good book in hand over an hour spent in a crowded place, every single time. It’s more than physical comfort. Home can and should mean peace, quiet, safety. Home, ideally, encompasses association of family members. Home means belonging. Home means love.

Where else would phrases like “Home is where the heart is” and lyrics “Oh Give Me a Home… where seldom is heart a discouraging word…” and “I’ll be home for Christmas… You can count on me…” come from?

Perhaps that’s why many novels (I’ll focus on my genre, Historical Romance) include characters’ desires to belong and feel included. These desires are nearly universal to the human family. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs argues this as important enough to immediately follow basic survival requirements.

Whether “home” is a physical place or a sense of completion with another person (I am a romance writer), I suggest:
Home is a key component of a compelling story.”

Both Josie and Lessie Hadley believe “home” is only with their identical twin sister. With no physical home, they choose a mail order bride situation where their grooms (cousins and business partners) will keep them together. By the end of each book, their understanding of Home and Family has expanded significantly to include husbands dearly loved.

A peek inside the beginning of Josie: Bride of New Mexico:
One of the best parts of having a sister, especially a twin sister— even better an identical twin sister— was everyone understood the two were a matched set, a pair.
Where one went, the other followed.
They belonged together. She’d always had someone. She was never alone.
The train picked up speed, the trees moving past in flashes of green and the first hint of autumn’s colors.
Josie swallowed her homesickness. The useless emotion wasn’t welcome for she had her sister, her strong, indomitable twin who had always been able to figure everything out.
She always put her trust in her sister. This time would be no different.
Lessie’s arms tightened about her. “Don’t worry, Josie. We’ll always have each other. I promise you that.”
“I know.” Her sister had never let her down. “I know.”

A peek inside the ending of The Drifter’s Proposal, when Malloy realizes he’s finally found “home”:
His heart, full to bursting, overflowed. How had he ever thought himself content without this woman by his side?
“Merry Christmas, darlin’.” His voice cracked. Tears threatened. He’d been gored by a bull, thrown from a bronco, busted a leg back in ‘92, and never once had he cried. He hadn’t known himself able.
“I don’t want to live without you, Adaline Whipple, not one more day.” His breath appeared as white clouds of steam in the frigid air. “Marry me. Let me sink my roots right here in Mountain Home with you. Give this homeless cowboy a place to belong.”

A peek inside the middle of WANTED: Midwife Bride, a new release exclusively within Mail Order Bride Collection: A Timeless Romance Anthology (2-9-16):
This tiny three-room cottage was the right place for her.
Here, it was easy to believe no other life existed.
…She marveled at the many ways he’d shown her love, affection, acceptance, appreciation— in every little thing. So much more than the new shingle. He’d made her his full partner in every way. He’d gone so far as to ask her opinion on financial matters. They’d visited the bank, and Joe had instructed the bankers to allow Naomi full access to their joint accounts.
Never had she felt more loved, more valued, more trusted.
She wanted their union to last the duration of their lives.
She wanted forever.

What do you think of my hypothesis?
Is a sense of “home” (structure/place and/or belonging and completion with another person) a key component of a compelling story?
Please reply to this post, and share with anyone who might find it appealing.

Copyright © 2016 Kristin Holt, LC


Judith Ashley said...

Thanks for the excerpts! I've three more books to add to my Kobo. And, yes, I do believe your hypothesis is correct. Dr. William Glasser, founder of Reality Therapy and Choice Theory, has "Love and Belonging" as the most important of his five Basic Needs. And his premise is out problems come from relationships that aren't working.

Kristin Holt said...

Thank you, Judith, for stopping by, reading, sharing your thoughts. I'm not only pleased you agree with my hypothesis (and share a source I want to look into), but your interest in my writing is always cause for a smile.
With thanks--

Sarah Raplee said...

I absolutely agree with you that a sense of belonging - of coming home-is essential to a copelling story. Great post and wonderful excerpts!

Kristin Holt said...

Thank you for your kind words, Sarah. I appreciate you stopping by, reading, and contributing.
With appreciation,
Kristin Holt

Paty Jager said...

Kristin, the more I get to know you the more similarities I see in us. My characters, too, discover by the ends of the books that home may not actually be what they thought it was in the beginning of the book. Are you sure we aren't twin sisters separated at birth? LOL Great post and excerpts!

Kristin Holt said...

Dear Paty--
I'm beginning to think that yes, indeed, you and I are twin sisters separated at birth. I'm completely charmed by the similarities in our personalities, preferences, thought processes, writing styles, and more! Thank you, kindly, for reading my post, taking the time to respond, and for being YOU!